A Sandwich by Any Other Name

Customer in French restaurant: Do you have frogs’ legs?
Waiter: Yes Sir.
Customer: Then hop into the kitchen and get me a ham sandwich!

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What satisfies like a sandwich?

.At its most basic, a sandwich is two slices of bread enclosing a filling. Those fillings can be hearty, refined, exotic, or homey. The sandwich is a blank canvas on which to paint the colors and contours of the world around us.

The sandwich canon expands with each new wave of immigration. The format is flexible enough to absorb them all, crystallizing the flavors and essence of each cuisine.

Sandwiches are comfort food. We first ate them as inexpensive, unfussy meals served in our childhood kitchens and packed in our school lunch boxes. The ingredients were always familiar and often indulgent, feeding both hunger and the psyche. Vietnamese banh mi, Mexican torta, and Malaysian roti john have the power to summon the same nostalgic sense of well-being to native eaters as grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and BLT do if you were born in this country.

A little corner of the internet is occupied by sandwich artists who try to outdo each other with extravagantly humorous still lifes constructed out of bread and lunch meat. Insanewiches.com had a breakout hit with its Rubix Cubewich, rendering the classic brainteaser in pastrami, kielbasa, pork fat, salami, and two types of cheddar cheese. Scanwiches is known for its elegant, high-resolution sandwich close-ups created on an office scanner. Toxel.com has assembled a gallery of amazing sandwich art from various sources.

You can find inspiration for your own creation and vote for your favorite reader submissions at The Sandwich Project.The Russian site Million Menu has assembled what seems to be the internet’s largest collection of illustrated sandwich recipes. The nearly 8,000 recipes circle the globe, but with a strong focus on eastern European cuisines. You’ll never again wonder what to do with herring.

Do I need to tell you what you’ll find at Skinny Girls, Big Sandwiches?

The great sandwich debate of rectangles vs. triangles is finally settled. What a relief.

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