Excerpt from Sandwich Vs Sandwiches (part 1)
They say Southerners are kinda slow and make up dumb expressions but that is sillier than a soup sandwich in the month of June.
Greetings fellow drones. Welcome to another Bad Sandwich Chronicles Beyond Thunderdome. If you are one of my golden gilded VIPs, please feel free to delete this email as it’s a mere excerpt from a piece that only really gets good after this here excerpt is over. If you’re just checking this out on the free signup or just stopping in, firstly I was joking up there. This part is great too, and if you like it you should consider throwing a couple of measly bucks in the direction of this here newsletter. This is the literally best news source on the whole of the internet. Click the button if you’d like access to the creamy middles of this fantastic voyage. But regardless, thanks for coming.
Well, for those of you who are regular readers, you know that I still have a list of panics to finish. I started it two entries ago as a multiple part series, and then abandoned part two when I realized that I needed to do an entry about voting, because I’m an old dad and despite my nihilism, I feel like it’s important to try to craft your stupid pointless existence into something you can tolerate, which, good luck with that. But voting, at least this week, is probably pretty endemic in hopefully a tiny seismic shift in the right direction, no? I mean, provided it all goes according to the plans that me and the rest of the deep state have been orchestrating.
The thing is, I am a little reluctant to get into panic again. I feel like right now everyone is so on edge that writing about panic just produces a general bad energy that I don’t want to be responsible for. So I decided that today, I’d go back to something we all have opinions on.
Semi recently, me and a few colleagues were talking newsletters and so forth and my friend Dan said to me “yes, I follow your culinary blog,” and while at the time I was like “yo, this shit is waaaay more than just food round ups,” I couldn’t deny that I got the general idea of his cruel, barbed insult. I have written extensively about food (mostly garbage food) in this space and that’s FINE, DAN! It’s always been fun, at least for me.
So with that in mind, in keeping with the title of this blog, I’m gonna do a little sandwich round up today. I hope you enjoy it as much as you enjoy the ever encroaching dread and malaise that threaten to become the only emotions any of us are gonna be allowed to feel until the state mandated lobotomies kick in.
Let’s start with the basics:
Um, a definite contender for the perfect sandwich. A bad grilled cheese is still better than most things you’re gonna find yourself eating. And if it’s good, getdafuckoutahereshapayouface! It’s almost not fair that this is such a good sandwich considering that it’s so simple in every way.
Some people use butter to prep a grilled cheese and some people use mayo. This is not actually as gross as it may sound to some of you, and truly, there’s no discernible difference in the final product, in my experience.
The main thing with any sandwich is the bread. The fat you slather on the bread is just uh...it doesn’t matter as long as it’s there. For me, regardless of your choice of lard, a grilled cheese is at its best on sourdough, but maybe that’s just the COVID talking.
The fact is, when you are prepping (or ordering!) such a simple item, the ingredients are everything. The bread, as we’ve established, is crucial, and obviously so is the cheese.
The biggest travesty on a grilled cheese (or indeed any hot sandwich [heyo!]) is cheddar. Cheddar is a delightful cheese for cheese and crackers or a cold sandwich. In fact, it’s almost unfair how good this most ubiquitous of cheeses is at being room temperature, but it doesn’t heat well.
Cheddar doesn’t melt, and it kinda turns into sweaty plastic and the taste more or less vanishes. HOWEVER! People still INSIST that cheddar is a great way to go. These people are either deluded and wrong or in the jockstrap of Big Cheddar. Either way, shameful! (an exception to this rule is home baked nachos, where shredded block cheddar, mysteriously, really is the best choice, but this round up isn’t about nachos, now is it?).
When it comes to grilled cheese, you can either go fancyish (smoked gouda, gruyere, havarti) or you go complete garbage (american, velveeta). I know what you’re thinking, but no. It is you who is wrong. American and velveeta are uniquely genetically engineered to melt and both cheese breeds are designed to release flavor when they do. They are the most superior of meltable cheeses and there can be no argument about this (the aforementioned nacho matrix notwithstanding).
You didn’t come to grilled cheese for some kind of elevated experience. You came to the grilled cheese because it was the only thing that your dad could cook on your weird child-of-divorced-parents-sad-every-other-year birthday that approximated something that was real food.
Grilled cheese is what you heated up on the engine block of your car or your dorm radiator when you were in college. You can do fancy grilled cheese (and sometimes it’s even good!) but search your feelings. The best grilled cheese is shitty orange american made factory cheese on good bread. If you don’t believe me, consider this: what the fuck else is keeping the american/Velveeta people in business? It’s their comfort food adjacent lock on the market. That’s just occam’s razor. Make a grilled cheese with velveeta and sourdough if you doubt me then get back to me. If you’re too good for that, you’re nothing more than an out of touch costal liberal elite and you’re the reason Trump won.
On the real though, you can add stuff to grilled cheese too. Some people add ham (stupid!), some add tomato (I get it, but warm tomato is gross to me personally) and some add avocado (pretty good, actually) but truly, the best grilled cheese is just bread and cheese, buttery and crispy and gooey. When you cut the sandwich with the spatula after taking it off the frying pan (which you do in diagonal unless you’re a total barbarian), and you hear that crispity crunch, and then you separate it and see that gooeyness, you KNOW you’ve got a good sandwich on your hands. This is definitive truth. I have spoken.
Some of you are probably thinking that putting these two meats in the same category is some kind of blasphemy, but I’d like to disabuse you of that notion right away. Salami is the most poorly thought out of all the italian cold cuts and mortadella (the finest of any cold cut on earth) is just fancier baloney.
These two are the same, in terms of utility. They go in sandwiches that go in lunch boxes and both are fine. Squishy bread, some mustard, maybe a slice of provolone or muenster, and you’re good to go (to be clear, baloney OR salami, I do not mean both in the same sandwich. That’s for perverts).
Is the baloney-or-salami sandwich transcendent? No. It is not. It’s like fucking your high school ex. You know what you’re getting and it’s fine and familiar even though you’ve moved on and kinda scoff at the idea out loud. But behind closed doors, pretty good ride overall.
Lately I’ve been doing this thing where I fry baloney and put it on white bread with mayo and mustard and a thick sliced heirloom tomato and it’s real, real good (this is a cold sandwich, despite the baloney being fried so it doesn’t break my above rule about tomatoes).
This shit, I hope I don’t need to spell out for anyone, is pretty good. I’d even go so far as to say “recommended.” Unlike the grilled cheese, the baloney sandwich can and should be elevated. Even with fancy tomatoes and thick cut fried baloney, it’s still a lunchbox sandwich, and everyone likes something like that that’s got hidden superpowers.
There are arguments to be made that this is the perfect sandwich, and they’re good arguments. Main argument: this is a fucking good sandwich. It’s got everything. It’s crunchy, it’s refreshing (somehow) and it’s delicious. The white bread and the mayo play off the saltiness of the bacon and the whole thing is then aided by the lettuce and tomato sneaking in like a pair of gaslighting russian bots and making you feel like you’re eating something healthy.
This sandwich is a lot like the grilled cheese in that trying to church it up will only yield diminishing returns. Consider the vagina: pretty good the way it is. When man tries to improve upon it, you get the fleshlight, which is a more labor intensive, inferior version. This, friends, is the perfect metaphor for the BLT.
This is my go to in one of those places where a thousand sandwiches are written on a blackboard in chalk or whatever. The italian sub: a good one is provolone, hot copa, mortadella, soprese, (never prosciutto...too stringy) and some shredded lettuce and tomato topped with some kind of whimsical mustard and mayo (light on both) and served on a very soft hoagie roll. This sandwich is sometimes served with oil and vinegar instead of spreads and I can deal with that. It’s also sometimes served with some sort of black olive tapenade spread, which, I like black olives, but it’s just too much.
This sandwich has a pretty big reputation in places that have rolls of butcher paper and is full of people with strong opinions on sandwiches for good reason. It’s a good sandwich. I will say this though: A fucked up Italian sub (trying to be too fancy is a big issue here) is a crime against humanity and anyone who makes and serves one should be taking shots of poison in the Hague.
Hot open face turkey
Ah, the ‘old ass man shitting his pants over there’ of sandwiches. Every diner serves this and um...jesus fucking christ. What (and I can’t stress this next part enough) THE FUCK? I mean, I get smothering bread in gravy and eating a forkful along with some mashed potatoes. That's fine. Fuck it. Even throw in some of those cooked carrots into the mix. I can get with that. It’s like a deconstructed stew or something. I can get with that. But turkey is a stringy and hard to deal with meat. The whole operation seems like a sloppy fucking disaster to me. I GET that this is some sort of approximation of comfort food but it’s like comfort food that reminds grandparents of the great depression. There’s not a person under 80 who digs the hot open face turkey sandwich that’s not some kind of weird pervert or desperate hipster.
If we go out to a diner (sadly, every diner is gonna be closed by spring, so just pretend we live in an alternate timeline) and you order this sandwich, you will never ever date my daughter. That’s my elevator speech on the open face hot turkey….Up next, the Popeye’s Fried Chicken Sandwich…
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