The sandwich is a many splendored thing, and one that is too rarely given the respect that it deserves. Its origin is shrouded in the myth of a gambling aristocrat; its family tree branches every which way from melts and burgers, submarines and crustless white-bread things, to tea sandwiches and open-faced concoctions and the Atkins-fueled excuse for a true sandwich, the low-carb wrap.
A long time ago, in a summer which is dogeared in my brain as one of culinary bliss, I ate sandwiches every day. It was a sandwich on a crusty roll or piece of baguette, made with a hard, peppery, all-beef salami (my partner at the time still aspired to keep kosher), with romaine lettuce and mayonnaise. (It evolved from a favorite snack of mine when I was in middle school, a sandwich of low-quality hard salami on Pepperidge Farm white bread.) This may be my favorite sandwich – it is certainly the sandwich that is most dear to my heart.
Other sandwiches reign supreme in different times of day or year. Although I eschew the traditional butter for more flavorful mayonnaise, cucumber sandwiches on white bread make me a happy girl with tea and gingerbread and friends-of-the-female-persuasion on a Sunday afternoon. In the summer when it is bright and hot, a tomato grown by somebody I love, sliced thin on a flavorful bread, again with mayo (or else the tomato will make the bread soggy). After a night of debauchery, at about 1:00 in the afternoon having woken not before 11:00 am, a burger with mayo (always, always with the mayo) ketchup, pickles, tomato and lettuce, extra-crispy french-fries and coffee are just the thing for me. I love veggie subs and cheese steaks and interesting combinations of cheeses and cold cuts and vegetables. I love grilled cheese with tomato soup. Or with out it, really. The BLT is a masterpiece, and the addition of avocado simply dreamy.
But the sandwich that fills my thoughts today, that blocks me from other lunch choices and that, through being just-a-bit-too-pricey, has completely undone my grocery shopping plans, forcing me to curtail those ventures till I wind up eating nothing for dinner but handfuls of almonds and grapes (delicious! nutritious! remarkably filling!) That sandwich is one sold at the Seven Stars Bakery here in Providence, and it is divine. It is made with fresh mozzarella from a local creamery, arugula, roasted red pepper and olive tapenade on a section of baguette. With a mug of sweet iced-coffee with coffee ice cubes, it is a little bit of heaven, to be slowly enjoyed over an Agatha Christie mystery in the middle of my day – every day.
I can’t afford it, but I can’t stop myself.
Sandwiches will do that to a girl.