I have written on the subject of sandwiches in the past: More Than Something Between Slices of Bread and Crusty Perfection. In addition, I have posted several recipes for this dietary staple of the Western diet. I have seen these creations at all levels from slapped together “on the go” food to gourmet treats.
One origin story behind this food is that the Earl of Sandwich ordered that he be brought sliced cooked meat between slices of bread so that he wouldn’t have to leave the gaming tables. While it may well be the root of the English name for the stuffed bread snack/meal, I doubt that historically that this was the origin of the food itself.
English sandwiches, in my experience are rather lack-luster, even if they were “invented” here. When I first moved to England, virtually all sandwiches were bread and butter with something else in between. Well, at least they all had butter or margarine on them. Other condiments were possible, but seemingly rare. Subway and the like were yet to make in-roads, and burgers were a confusing buy.
Yes, burgers were generally called beef burgers, after all they contained no ham. A vegetable burger was a beef burger with lettuce on it. Wimpy was around with by American tastes a rather odd flavour, and McDonald’s hadn’t conquered the world as yet.
I find the Dutch terms interesting as well – bread and butter and sandwich are the same word. “Bread and ham” is another linguistic description , as is “invested bread.” In Afrikaans – “closed bread” seems to sum up the dish. I am no expert on the languages, but my rudimentary understanding of them does applaud their accuracy.
Some sandwiches have outstanding bread, others luscious fillings, and yet others lovely sauces. Fellow blogger Fandango has a regular feature where he asks a provocative question. I would like to give you one of my own today. It is a philosopical matter of sandwich theory. Is a good sandwich one in which the internal ingredients are the most important, and the bread merely a delivery system, or is it about the bread, and the filling is only to augment to flavour? Let me know your take on this classic.
I have really started to get in on this whole gardening thing, and the idea of growing stuff to eat is fascinating to me. I have started to grow tomato plants from a single slice of tomato, and celery from the bottoms of the stalks. Another area I have started experimenting with is sprouts. I watched a couple of YouTube videos, and decided to try popcorn sprouts.
I took 1/4 cup of relatively old popcorn kernels and put them into 500 ml of warm water in jar and covered it with a tea towel. After soaking for a day, I drained it, and put fresh water in for another 24 hours. I repeated this for three days, and then placed the kernels (some showing a bit of root) into a sprouting tray, and filled it with water just below the kernels. I covered it with the the “black out” top and changed the water every two days for 10 days and got the sprouts in the photo. Having used older corn I got about 70% germination, and the kernels grew at differing rates.
All in all it produced about 1 cup of sprouts which were a little fibery but as sweet as any corn on the cob I have ever had, and in fact the yellow-green sprouts tasted like corn on the cob. I was a nice addition to my salad.
It was before the Covid lockdowns that I wrote about Burger King’s move into plant based options (see A Tale of Two Veggie Options). At the time their plant based “Rebel Whopper” was avoided by vegans and vegetarians (and even we pescatarians). The veggie patty was cooked on the same equipment (and even alongside) the beef burgers. It was also topped with egg based mayonnaise. Meat eaters who had tried them found them surprisingly meat-like, but they were not for us non-meat eaters. Burger King UK corporate bosses should have learned from the USA’s Impossible Whopper, where the cooking method even led to court cases by vegans.
Well then Covid hit hard, and with reduced menus, Burger King pulled the item. Now with Covid restrictions being lifted, Burger King is trying again. They have recently introduced some new fully vegan options to the UK market. These are the “Vegan Royale” and Rebel Whopper, which has been rebranded the “Plant-Based Whopper.” This time they are trying to fix past mistakes. The sandwiches are being “cooked completely separate from meat, dairy and egg products to avoid cross-contamination, and has been certified by the Vegan Society.” They are also topped with the usual BK salad but with a vegan mayo.
I gave the Royale a try the other day, and the breaded plant based paddy was above average for “fake chicken” and it had a pleasing texture. The mayonnaise and iceberg didn’t add a whole lot, but did balance the sandwich. As a whole I would give it an 8 out of 10.
Now with that said, individual franchises need to think a bit more about their product. On the occasion of my purchase the employee asked in a friendly tone, “Would you like bacon on that?” Well, somethings just take time to change.
The military are masters of nomenclature. You do have to understand their unique world-view, however. Back in the ‘80s, our canned rations were replaced by MREs. In typical straight forward military-speak that was the acronym for “Meal Ready to Eat.” It was an accurate description I guess if what you mean by “ready to eat” is that it still requires the rehydration of various freeze-dried components such as shredded potato breakfast patties, also known as Styrofoam.
We have had rain virtually every day here in East Anglia for the last month. The sky has been grey, and it has been chilly for May. So soup seemed to be on the agenda. I decided to whip-up some mushroom soup as I had the ingredients at hand, and it made a yummy, warming filler on a drizzly day.
Mushrooms 20-25 chestnut
Garlic 5-6 cloves to taste
Potato 170 g/ 6 oz
Water 1.5 litres/ 6 cups (or so)
Vegetable Stock Cube 1
Greek Yogurt 2 Tbs
Salt to taste
Wash and cut the potato into 1/2 inch cubes (peeled or unpeeled to taste – I leave mine unpeeled). Remove the skins from the garlic and dice finely. Cut the mushrooms into 1/4 inch peices. In a pot or soup-maker place the veg and add the water. Pring to a boil and reduce to a high simmer if using a pan, or run one cycle of soup maker (about 30 minutes). Add the stock and cook for 10 -15 minutes longer or a 1/2 cycle of maker. Then blitz for about 30 seconds for chunkier, or 1 minute for smooth soup. Stir in yogurt and salt to taste – that’s it.