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Sandwiches from the Inside Out

by Jane Wangersky | September 26th, 2014 | Cooking Basics
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file7301251144095September is sandwich month because it’s supposed to be back-to-school month. In our school district, the teachers have walked out, a few of the students are staging a walk-in, and one student I know is planning to go to school simply to run around the track, which I guess would make it a run-in. But I know, for most of you, it’s school lunch season again. So I’ve decided to pass on some of the sandwich wisdom I’ve picked up over the years.

Sandwiches travel better than most foods, but still not without damage. The main reasons are that fillings bleed into the bread, and/or the whole thing gets squished. Deal with this by putting a barrier between the sloppier fillings (peanut butter on both sides of the jelly, lettuce over the whatever salad) and putting the sandwich in a reusable rigid plastic container. Save the “sandwich bags” for storing leftovers space-efficiently.

Don’t skip the spread part of the filling (mayonnaise, etc) in meat sandwiches, by the way. It’s incredible how dry the bread and meat taste without it. Try using mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise sometime. No, it’s not low fat, but it’s natural with no preservatives. If all you want is more flavor, try using a creamy salad dressing.

Homemade bread can never be sliced quite as thin as commercial bread, but of course it tastes better, so don’t let that stop you. Just get a bigger container.

Speaking of size, don’t overdo it on the amount of filling. A huge sandwich may look tempting, but in reality it’s just hard to get into your mouth (the one I had the other day at a grill sure was). If you do stack your sandwich any higher than a standard burger, stick toothpicks, maybe those fancy decorated ones, into the individual portions.

Cutting a sandwich diagonally gives a longer cut side to bite into, which is usually what people prefer. If you’re not packing the sandwich into a lunch, serve it with at least one of the cut sides out to show off the filling.

Remember sandwiches don’t have to be the kind you can put in a paper bag. There’s the hot roast beef or turkey sandwich (leftover meat with gravy on bread, eaten with a knife and fork), pulled pork sandwiches (best hot, though cold pulled pork has a way of vanishing), Welsh rarebit (essentially rich cheese sauce on bread) and a number of dinner sandwiches made out of entire uncut loaves of bread. Pairing bread with a spread and filling makes for a quick meal anytime.

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