On the Construction of Sandwiches

I had a crab sandwich in a pub yesterday (a pub with no beer – although I gather there were extenuating circumstances). Each slice of bread was about three quarters of an inch thick.  It was good fresh granary bread but there was rather too much of it to allow the delicate flavour of the crab meat to shine through, particularly as it had already been diluted with rather more mayonnaise than I would have used myself. Another of our party had ordered a ham sandwich. When it arrived the bread was even thicker – the two slices, a good inch apiece, barely separated by a couple of thin slivers of ham.

Now, whilst I would not deny that the bread in a sandwich is important, insofar as it should be really fresh (i.e. baked today) and of a suitable type, it is not the star of the show. Its primary purpose is to contain the filling and its secondary function to provide some carbohydrates and fibre to complement the normally protein based delicacies within.

Confronted with the aforementioned travesty, I was prompted to promulgate:

QR’s First Law of Sandwich Construction

The total thickness of the slices of bread should not exceed twice the thickness of the filling.

I initially phrased it slightly differently: “The thickness of each slice of bread should not exceed the thickness of the filling” but then it occurred to me that, whilst that applied to the majority of sandwiches, i.e. those with two slices of bread, the revised version would cover open and club sandwiches as well.

No doubt some of you may already be thinking that’s all very well but some sandwich ingredients have a stronger flavour than others, in which case a lower filling to bread ratio is surely acceptable, desirable even. I take your point – if you are partial to Marmite sandwiches you probably don’t need a half inch layer of the stuff between your slices of bread. [Anyone of a certain age who remembers “The Perishers” is probably thinking of Marlon’s inch-thick ketchup sandwiches and Wellington’s ketchup fallout suit.] However, for most solid ingredients I think the law stands scrutiny.

QR’s Second Law of Sandwich Construction

The filling should extend to every edge of the bread.

No disputing that one, surely. Don’t you just hate it when a sandwich is plump and succulent in the middle and the corners are empty?

 

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