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My Not So Humble Sandwich

I returned home today after a morning of errands and groceries, and I was so hungry I could’ve eaten my arm. To me, a sandwich is one of the most sensible and quick lunches of all, but I have spent about the last 25 years or so resisting them. A history of school day lunches built around warm, slightly sweaty sandwiches.

I suspect that when I first began school I went home for lunch. I vaguely remember kids at the kitchen table slurping chicken noodle soup. At some point though, we moved and I was far enough away from school that I had to take lunch by about grade five. Every day, that plastic wrapped sandwich came with me, except for a couple of stints to the UK where they actually (in those days) fed students a very decent hot lunch. By the time I got to high school, I had a well developed hate for sandwiches. Bologna, mock chicken loaf, mac and cheese loaf, ham, it didn’t matter. By lunch time that sandwich tasted like mystery meat. And really, what kid wants to eat something that starts with the word “mock” in front of it? Yuck.

This summer, however, I had the opportunity to kind of step back and explore the possibility of the sandwich, partly because I was trying not to eat out at lunch so often (too expensive, and fattening), and partly because they are a quick, easy lunch that does not require heating up. In addition to that, they offered the chance to redeem themselves because I had visitors coming, and we were planning to take picnics to the beach.

These days, I avoid meat that is pressed and rolled and squished into some kind of loaf. I can also make a pretty decent ‘wich with leftover roast beef, chicken or tuna. I am not a fan of wraps, because they seem to encourage more filling in the chamber, and I have a hard time getting comfortable with mouthfuls of filling. I also avoid the squishy white bread of my childhood, and prefer the hearty, seed laden types of bread that actually smell yummy as things get underway. I like mustard on one side, and a thin layer of mayo on the other. The meat goes next to the mustard, sometimes there is some kind of flavourful cheese added, and then I cut the sandwich from corner to corner and put it into a reusable plastic container. Thinly sliced tomato, cucumber and a handful of lettuce usually finish it off, although I wrap veggies separately, so that they can be laid on the sandwich just before I eat it, and they aren’t making the bread soggy. It’s not that I like lettuce in the sandwich, because I really am not a fan of lettuce if you read one of my earlier posts about it you’ll understand, but it seems to help bury the sandwich of my past, and helps the sandwich – now a stacked, multi-layered flavourful and textured meal, a half decent lunch of the present.

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