some sandwich traditions are time-honored. they whether the ages, beat the odds, and become immortalized in the proverbial sandwich hall of fame. they become so famous we can no longer imagine a world without them. everybody knows their names by heart. names like blt, reuben, hot ham and cheese, and club sandwich.
but this post isn’t about their stories. this post is about the other guys. the underdogs. this post is about one of the sandwiches which is still fighting the good fight, climbing the ladder to infinite fame and eternal sandwich recognition. this post is about a sandwich which has faced countless obstacles and still kept on keeping on.
this is the sad sad story of the chicken cutlet.
college is a magical time for almost everybody. sure, it has its ups and downs. i think being a freshman is terrible for a lot of people, and i had a rough time my senior year because i just wanted to get out into the world. that being said, during my middle years, i had not a care in the world. my highlights included going to a few classes between partying, ordering enough pizza people got fatter by just entering the room, and making all sorts of stupid hasty decisions about what my future held. ah, i miss it.
the term “club sandwich” is misleading for a lot of people. some people think it is a particular sandwich composed of cold cuts, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayo. some people attach the word club to a frilly toothpick. still others qualify any sandwich that has three pieces of bread as a club sandwich
because it doesn’t seem like this issue will be settled any time soon, i decided that i too should contribute to the quagmire of opinions. if you ask me, a club sandwich, rather than being defined by its contents, seems to be defined by its shape and the sides with which it is served.
some club sandwiches contain roast beef, some contain mustard, some are served with pickles and still others are not. but i challenge you to find a restaurant version of the club sandwich that isn’t cut into triangles and served with a side of some form of potatoes (whether chips or fries or potato salad). although it might seem strange, it makes sense to me that the defining feature of a club sandwich is its sides and the manner in which it is plated (namely, cut twice instead of in half).
my personal club sandwich contains bacon, tomato, and three pieces of toasted bread, but that is where the similarities to your run-of-the-mill restaurant club end. homemade chips, homemade condiments, and crispy home-cured bacon make my club a homey force to be reckoned with.
i have a riddle for you.
what is the best thing about a sandwich, and also the worst thing about a sandwich?
i’ll give you a few minutes to think about.
ok, i know you are impatient, so i’ll just tell you. the best and worst thing about a sandwich is that it exists between two (or more) pieces of bread. if the contents of the sandwich are soft and easily smashed, the sandwich becomes squishy (as is often the case with sandwiches containing avocado). if the contents are rough or crispy, they can rip or pierce the bread, and then you basically just end up eating bits and pieces of your sandwich off the plate with your bare hands.
if only there were a way to circumvent these problems…
and as if god knew that you were having issues with your sliding, squishy sandwich, the skies parted and down from the heavens descended a perfect, pure, white puff of cloud. and on the cloud was a grinder.
yes, the grinder. why not hollow out the bread? why not stuff anything you want into the cavity? i can’t think of any good reason. cheese, meat, veggies, and any kind of sauce you want. that doesn’t sound amazing and innovative and delicious at all, does it? well then, how about we bake it until the contents are melted and piping hot.
cue handel’s hallelujah chorus.
sandwiches are a lot like mustaches.
a real mustache is a magnificent, borderline magical thing. but so frequently those who sport mustaches don’t do them right. they wear 1970s porn-stashes and soul patches and charlie chaplin mustaches. they squander the potential of such a majestic form of facial hair. some people are just too lazy to shave, the and result is what appears to be a growth on their upper lip.
like mustaches, negligence has led to sandwiches developing a bad reputation. in most people’s minds, sandwiches are what you make when you can’t think of anything else, or when the amount of effort you can put into a meal is so lacking that all you can muster the strength to do is put things on two pieces of bread.
so i challenge you. think about a sandwich you want to make. don’t use american cheese. don’t make a blt or club sandwich or egg salad. don’t just pile random meats on. actually take a few minutes and think about what ingredients would go well with others. a well engineered sandwich can leave a really good feeling in its wake (and a super full stomach).
here’s one of mine.