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Thu Nov 3, 2016, 10:55 AM

National Sandwich Day: James Villas, "American Taste"

"There is a time and place, I suppose, for what the British and Scandinavians call a sandwich, but when it comes to the real McCoy, in no country has the art of the sandwich been more developed and appreciated than in the United States. Sandwiches have always been to most Americans what pasta is to Italians or rice to Chinese. ... Ah, but lead me to a delicatessen where the corned beef is sliced by hand and stacked high and evenly on a Kaiser roll, or show me a well-trimmed Club sandwich on which the chicken is tender, the tomatoes, lettuce, and mayonnaise impeccably fresh, and the bacon plentiful and crisp. ... The first thing I seek out when visiting my native North Carolina is a chopped pit-cooked pork barbecue sandwich or plate of small country-ham biscuits moistened with red-eye gravy. ... If two pieces of sourdough bread filled with Dungeness crab and avocado represents for me a high point on any trip to San Francisco, just the thought of sinking my teeth into a turkey with Russian dressing on white, a hot pastrami or sardine on rye, a Reuben, or a lox and cream cheese on a split bagel at one of many New York delis is mouth-watering.

"Over the decades there has developed in this country a veritable repertory of sandwiches that can now only be termed classic American. Who can say in all honesty, for instance, that childhood would have had its same wonderment without those addictive peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crisp grilled cheese, creamy egg or tuna or chicken salad, hot dogs, and thick homemade hamburgers -- sandwiches which, for better or worse, few of us ever outgrow completely? From the various regions there emerged sandwiches that today have overall national appeal: pimiento cheese, oyster loaves, fried fish, and pork barbecue from the South; fried egg, hot dogs (German wursts), and hamburgers (German Hamburg chopped steak, introduced, as was the hot dog, at the St. Louis World's Fair) from the Midwest; Sloppy Joes, beef barbecue, and tacos from Texas and the Southwest; Cheesesteaks from Philadelphia; Silver Dollars, Denvers, Heroes, crab, and Monte Cristos from the West; lobster rolls, brisket, and baked beans and bacon from New England; and from New York City and vicinity, hot pastrami and corned beef, chopped chicken liver and onions, Reubens, sardine, lox and cream cheese, and Coney Island dogs.

"Pseudosophisticates who enjoy sneering at the great American sandwich might do well to thumb through the pages of none other than Escoffier, the distinguished French master who didn't think much about preparing dainty tea sandwiches but was fascinated enough by something called a Bookmaker to reproduce its lengthy recipe. Essentially this is an entire loaf of bread sliced in half, buttered and filled with a thick grilled steak seasoned with horseradish and mustard, wrapped in sheets of blotting paper, and squeezed tightly in a press for 1/2 hour. Now that is a sandwich."

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Reply National Sandwich Day: James Villas, "American Taste" (Original post)
betsuni Nov 2016 OP
Warpy Nov 2016 #1
Galileo126 Nov 2016 #2
betsuni Nov 2016 #3
Warpy Nov 2016 #4
betsuni Nov 2016 #5
Warpy Nov 2016 #7
betsuni Nov 2016 #6

Response to betsuni (Original post)

Thu Nov 3, 2016, 02:29 PM

1. Sounds horrible and the soggy bread

would defeat the purpose of a sandwich, keeping your hands relatively free of goo while you eat a meal with them.

Had he baked that steak and seasonings in some puff pastry, he'd have had a more successful dish and one that would still keep his reputation for making food unnecessarily complicated intact.

Funny, I spent a large part of my life in New England and never had a baked bean and bacon sandwich, never even heard of it. It must be a California thing.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 3, 2016, 02:48 PM

2. Me either...

Lived in RI for 20 yrs, then 30 yrs in SoCal.

It's isn't either, I say, Warpy...

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Response to betsuni (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 3, 2016, 07:52 PM

4. I lived there for decades and never saw that

If there were leftover baked beans (a very big "if", they were used as sides or even eaten at breakfast. They would make a very bad sandwich since they'd drop out the sides and end up on you instead of in you.

Sorry, Aimee, try again.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 03:06 AM

5. The Bookmaker: Two Fat Ladies episode "Food in the Wild," Shooter's Sandwich

Begins 6:00, again at 11:36, finished sandwich seen at end.



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Response to betsuni (Reply #5)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 10:49 AM

7. Yes I even remember that episode

and thinking that any sandwich that has to be eaten with a knife and fork has defeated the purpose.

I miss Two Fat Ladies. I'd never have considered making much of their food, but they were wonderful old gals.

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Response to betsuni (Original post)

Fri Nov 4, 2016, 10:24 AM

6. Favorite Japanese sandwich: Tonkatsu (it isn't soggy and exists even if you've never heard of it)


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