Remembering my best sandwich ever

Published 10:18 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Just slap some stuff in between two pieces of bread.

That’s what I’ve heard from so many of my “friends” (and sometimes I question why they’re that when they say things like this) say whenever I start expounding on what makes a good sandwich.

I prefer to see a sandwich as a great novel that one can eat. After all, it’s got two covers like a novel. It can be thin or thick like a novel. And, most importantly, just like a novel, it’s what and how everything is placed inside that truly makes it good.

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Furthermore, sandwiches have genres like novels. There are the untoasted, the toasted, flatbreads, subs, hoagies, grinders, wraps and so much more. They are all stories unto themselves and worthy of a thorough understanding before sinking one’s teeth into them.

With that said, I feel I must further explain the beauty of sandwich-making by telling the tale of the greatest sandwich ever made. It was glorious. And like most glorious sandwiches, it started simply. It was just supposed to be a simple BLT, something to satisfy the appetite for a salty, crunchy lunchtime treat.

But somehow, inspiration struck and what was to be a simple sandwich became an experience.

Thick-cut hardwood smoked bacon fried to a perfect crisp. Cold, firm Romaine lettuce and a robust and hearty beefsteak tomato. Fresh whole wheat bread toasted on just one side, providing a crunch on the outside and a warm, soft encasement for the perfect ingredients inside.

You’d think these items alone, in all their perfection, would make the ideal sandwich. Wrong. Texas Pete hot sauce-infused cream cheese spread, a thin layer of strawberry jam and a little bit of mayo mixed with a hint of black pepper.

Once all the perfect ingredients were joined, the chapters had to be constructed just right. And in this construction lies the difference between sandwich-making and novel-writing. Because, you see, a good story may need to be constructed from beginning to end, but a good sandwich must be constructed simultaneously from the covers — i.e., from the bread inward.

One untoasted side is covered with a hearty layer of the spicy cream cheese spread, the other with the peppery mayonnaise. A tiny slather of the strawberry jam goes over the cream cheese while placing a single slice of the beefsteak tomato, and a leaf of lettuce on the mayo side.

And right in the middle of all these waiting admirers is the star of the show — a multitude of bacon. It should be just as much bacon as could be handled by the sandwich maker, but, to quantify the amount to advance the story, six to eight slices of bacon should achieve the desired effect.

Without giving too much away, as this is one sandwich you should experience for yourself, the first bite is like the absolute best bites you’ve ever had from your favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner all rolled into one wonderful experience.

In this sandwich, which I proclaim the greatest sandwich to ever be made, you will experience tears of joy (and possibly from the heat in the cream cheese) and a catharsis through which you will emerge with an understanding that a sandwich should not just be some stuff shoved between two pieces of bread. It is a good story told through select ingredients, delighting the senses and the stomach.