As you might have already guessed from the title, we are currently right in the middle of British Sandwich Week, and being a big fan of sandwiches in general, this is definitely something I shall be celebrating. But because I tend to over think things, the nature of the event has raised a few questions in my noggin which I am now going to share. Firstly, when they say ‘British’ sandwich, do they mean only classic British sandwiches (I’m thinking along the line of cheese and pickle here) can be celebrated? Also, what are the essential ingredients required to craft the perfect sandwich, British or otherwise?
Well, let’s look at my first question. If we do mean traditional British sandwiches then there’s plenty to celebrate. Not only do we have the aforementioned cheese and pickle combination but there’s also the bacon sandwich, much beloved by those nursing hangovers. And if you want to go properly old school, we’re talking egg and cress, beef and mustard (or horseradish) and just plain old cucumber, without crust and cut in to tiny triangles.
However, in modern Britain our sandwich selection in now much wider – how many of us dismiss the triangular sandwiches in favour of a nice crusty baguette? Or a toasted panini? Or a chicken and chilli wrap? Quite a few I’m guessing. So in my opinion, when we’re talking about British Sandwich Week, we’re not limiting ourselves to traditional sarnies, but are celebrating our all-encompassing love of sandwiches from every corner the world.
So what are the ESSENTIAL ingredients of any sandwich? Well, whatever type of sarnie you’re preparing, you will always require good quality, fresh bread. Many, many years of packed lunches containing slightly stale mass-produced wholemeal bread put me off the healthy stuff for many years, but I can now appreciate that some sandwich fillings work better with a good wholemeal or multigrain loaf – prawn mayonnaise for example. I’m not advocating buying fresh bread every morning, because, really, who has time for that? But even the smallest of small supermarkets now have a freshly baked section and this stuff is often much more tasty than the big branded sliced varieties.
However, if you prefer the sliced white for its staying power, shop around for the best sort suited to your requirements because there is a surprising difference in taste and quality. When it comes to baguettes, I’m a big advocate of the part-baked ones you can pick up in most shops. Great for freezing, they’re the easiest way to ensure your crusty loaf is as fresh as fresh can be.
Of course, quality is the byword for all sandwich ingredients, not just the bread. A good slice of cheese can make or break a sarnie and when it comes to pickle, you certainly get more for your money with the better quality brands. In fact, why not try making your own pickle? It’s a great way to use up any leftover home grown vegetables around harvest time, but even at any other times of the year, you can pick up cheaper vegetables from the supermarket and get pickling.
So whether your favourite is plain old ham and tomato on sliced white, or a lunch time quesadilla, celebrate British Sandwich Week any which way you desire. It just has to include sandwiches at some point, obviously.