Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Perfect Sandwich Awards*

*With apologies to the creators of the Perfect Post Awards.

Hating mayonnaise and disliking mustard means that it is virtually impossible for me to order a sandwich in North America without launching into instructions that rival those detailing the proper operation of a space shuttle. Even when said instructions are delivered perfectly, there is still at least a 40% chance that they will be completely ignored, making it exceedingly difficult for me to procure a desirable sandwich.

"I'll have roasted turkey with Muenster cheese and lettuce on whole wheat, please, NO mayo."

"Roasted turkey, mustard, whole wheat, lettuce..."

"No,n--MUENSTER CHEESE, please. No mustard."

"You want mayo instead?"

"No, thank you, just plain."

So, then I wait about 15 minutes while the sandwich is made outside of my view, pay the current exorbitant sandwich rate (usually between $5.99 and $7.99 for two pieces of bread with some subpar meat and cheese in the middle), go off somewhere, sit down, unwrap, and take my first savory bite, only to wind up with a mouth full of mayonnaise.

We live in a world of cola with and without vanilla, black cherry, lemon, and lime, all available with or without sugar. Want an iPod? Choose among half a dozen different colors. Need white socks? There is an assortment of fabrics, heights, sizes, stretch levels, and brands. At your local grocery store, you can buy your milk regular, 2%, 1%, fat-free, chocolate, soy, organic, rice, etc. Why, then, WHY, is it so difficult to get a sandwich made with a condiment other than mayonnaise or mustard???

I have had a few truly memorable sandwiches in my life that were assembled with slightly creative condiments. I say slightly, because all of these condiments are readily-available substances. No rare-prized-black-truffle-and-saffron paste. No whipped caviar. Just made by "sandwich artists" with the ability to focus on more than two substances at one time.

Here, then, are my nominations, in random order, for the Perfect Sandwich Awards:

1. Smoked turkey, herbed Brie, and mesclun greens on sourdough with buttermilk ranch dressing;

2. Italian hero on sesame-seeded semolina with olive oil and red wine vinegar;

3. Turkey and fontina cheese on ciabatta with pesto (incidentally, pesto is never, ever, ever, ever, ever supposed to be made with mayonnaise, which is a piece of information that airport food stands everywhere should take to heart);

4. Smoked turkey, Brie, and sundried tomatoes on a roll (it's so delicious that no dressing is needed!).

EDITED TO ADD: How could I possibly forget about the roast pork sandwich that I ate in Philly, The Land of Great Sandwiches??? Moist, sliced roast pork with shaved provolone and sauteed broccoli rabe on a hero. Mmmmmmm. I thought it was even more delicious than cheesesteak. Mrs. Harridan gets extra points for recommending that sandwich place.

Nominations are open. So is voting. Basically, this is an anarchistic celebration of mayonnaise-and-mustard-free sandwiches.


Anonymous Elizabeth said...

There is a chain of sandwich shops here that make their sandwiches with olive oil, red wine vinegar and a seasoning blend. After eating those for twenty years, mayo tastes too greasy to me.

That one with Brie and sundried tomatoes sounds yummy.

9:59 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

I love both mayo and mustard, but I have a good friend who hates mayo, so I kind of understand where you're coming from.

Pest with mayo? Ewwwwwwww.

I have to vote for the Italian hero (or "hoagie," as I call it) with oil & vinegar, mostly because it's what I've been getting from an Italian deli called Salumeria on Fridays. By the time I get home, the bread's a little soggy, but it really is delicious.

I really like a homemade vinaigrette as a sandwich dressing, too.

The turkey, brie and ranch with greens sounds good, too, although I prefer mine with (ugggghhh) tongue-numbing hot mustard.

10:19 AM  
Anonymous mamatulip said...

Good god. I love mayo and mustard and all of those sandwiches sound absolutely dee-lish. Can you come over and make me a sandwich for lunch? The ones I make are so...boring.

10:58 AM  
Blogger mamalujo1 said...

Cuban Bread, olive tapenade, hard salami, ham, capers, red lettuce or spring mix, garlic-herb goat cheese spread.


12:02 PM  
Blogger Liberty Belle said...

Roasted turkey, tomato, spinach, applewood smoked bacon, razor-thin sliced red onion, & a smathering of chunky bleu cheese dressing on whole wheat

1:18 PM  
Blogger Tink said...

I can't talk girl. I'm a mayo whore. Although I'm open for suggestions. :)

1:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this is my kind of message board! I'd happily eat any of these tasty sandwiches!


5:16 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Baguette, muenster cheese, thick slice of tomato.


Toasted ciabatta with chopped boiled eggs, a slice of avocado and a slice of tomato and salt-n-peppa. Even better if the eggs still have Easter dye seeped in...

Although from your list #2 is making me salivate. Tomorrow I will be buying the ingredients for that, yup yup.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Oh, and I have to post a picture I took this weekend of my husband holding an enormous tub of margarine. The same margarine his mother just used to coat our hamburger buns. UCK!! And then the next morning it was all over my lovely scrambled eggs and wheat toast. UCK UCK!!

I think mayo and margo are now tied for most disgusting condiments ever. At least mayo has recognizable ingredients.

12:44 AM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I am not a big mayo fan either. Mustard kicks mayo's white ass!!

I go to this Vietnamese place and get their "House" sandwich. Toasted baguette (buttered), thinly sliced roasted pork, cucumbers, shaved carrots, cilantro, spices....to die for!

6:43 AM  
Blogger Arabella said...

My mouth is watering over all these sandwiches!!!

Mignon, I totally agree about margarine. ((Shudder)) Some brands even remind me of Silly Putty.

7:50 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

My son hates mayo on his sandwiches. To keep the bread a bit moist, I'll spread a thin layer of butter on it.

My brother likes a bit of butter on his classic tomato sandwiches and I must say, I like it better than mayo.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Meckhead said...

Have to jump in even though I'm a "lurker" -- my fav sandwich of all time I got at an Italian deli in CA: fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh tomato (notice a theme?) and proscuitto, sans condiments, on a crispy-on-the-outside soft-on-the-inside roll.

Sigh. If only it weren't 2,000 miles away from here.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

Congrats on that pregnancy mentioned up yonder (took me two frickin' years to get pregnant myself)! And more importantly, you are fighting the good fight against mayo and mustard. Both are abominations.

3:21 PM  

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