Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Fat Sandwich

The origin of the word "sandwich," we are told, comes from the 18th Century, when John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, asked his valet to bring him meat between two slices of bread, so he could eat and play cards without getting in a mess. Sandwiches have been a popular way to eat conveniently ever since.

In Britain, not many eat the cucumber or cress sandwich, cut into dainty triangles and with the crust removed, as many imagine ladies of the aristocracy nibble after a game of croquet. However, The British sandwich is typically a thin, rather limp affair, with one slice of meat between two pieces of buttered, sliced bread. Mustard or some kind of pickle relish might be an option, if you're lucky.

In the United States, sandwiches are usually as big, if not bigger than a regular meal. Slice upon slice of meat, often more than one type of meat, are piled high, and with mustard, mayonnaise, etc., added to the equation, eating it can be a messy affair. There are hot sandwiches and cold sandwiches. In typical American style, choosing a sandwich can be a mind-blowing exercise, since you'll have a choice of breads, spreads, meats, accompaniments and condiments.

That's one reason I rather enjoy the "Fat Sandwiches" offered by "Sunshine Burgers," a friendly place in my neighborhood. There is quite a long list of these sandwiches, with such semi-offensive names as "Fat Mom," "Fat Dad," (my daughter loves me ordering that one!) "Fat B*tch" and "Fat B*stard," but you order the sandwich, and get what's listed on the menu. The sandwiches are cylindrical, being served in baguette-like bread, and are a meal in themselves. I do mean a meal; one sandwich can include things like Philly-style cheesesteak, fries, salad, and everything but the kitchen sink.


Pazcual said...

I'm really trying to understand why a sandwich needs science. For real. I'm always eating one in the noon, as brunch, because I'm always hungry at that time and I just grab the first things I have in the fridge, put it together and just eat it. Trust me, my mom freaks out when she sees me doing the sandwich but I'm like: "it's a sandwich" Gotta eat u know?". Here we have a small shop called Sandwich Cubano, and they sell the best sandwiches on town and when I can't go Mcdonald's i go to that place and I end buying the weirdo one, because those r the best ones.



Darcy said...

sounds like the sandwiches at the Rutgers grease trucks.

Cindy O said...

My favorite sandwich is called "The Original Em's Torpedo." It is a concoction of several different luncheon meats and cheeses, served on a long hoagie roll with whatever toppings you choose! The bread is awesome, slightly crunchy on the outside. My first stop when I get to Johnstown, PA is Em's Sub Shop and my last stop before I leave town is, well, you guessed it!

Carrie B said...

Maybe you could open your own sandwich shop and sell Marmite sandwiches....Ha Ha!

Graham said...

@Pazcual - you got me agreeing with you all the way until you got to mentioning McD's! That stuff is EVIL! :) I love the idea of "weirdo" sandwiches at Sandwich Cubano.

@Darcy - Funny you should mention grease, because somehow, these "Fat Sandwiches" have hardly any grease!

@CindyO - sounds like a great sandwich. My problem comes with the "whatever toppings you choose." You see, I'm very difficult at being selective; I like a lot of different things. So I'd be likely to say I wanted everything, and then I would have this slippery, slidey, mountain of sandwich that I couldn't sink my teeth into!

@Carrie B - Marmite sandwiches? Now, there's a thought! I can't remember whether I've ever shared my fantasy of opening a restaurant called "Take it or leave it!" or "Get what you're given and like it!" - no substitutions, no choices. :)

Anonymous said...

This sounds wonderful. Unfortunately, I can feel my body expanding just thinking about it.

Graham said...

@D Gotlib - the trick is not to think about it too much. Just eat and enjoy!