Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Today marked one of my favorite rituals in the course of the school year: the final lunch-packing.

I do not enjoy packing my child's lunch, despite the fact that it really isn't all that difficult. There's just something about it that annoys the grape jelly outta me. Maybe it's the fact that no matter how well-balanced, nutritious and even cute the lunch is, the odds are 50/50 that The Child is going to eat it.

And sure. She's old enough to be packing her own lunch and sometimes she does. But this usually involved just dumpting the sugar canister into her lunch bag.

Today I made her a chicken, mozzarella and pickle sandwich in pita. (This picture amuses me...it looks like the sandwich is sticking out its tongue). Perhaps this sounds like a disgusting combination to you, but she likes it. And today she actually ate it.

It got me thinking, though, about some of my best sandwich memories.

#5 Salmon & butter on white bread.

When I was about 12 we went to visit my mom's sister, who was living in Sekiu, Washington, with her family. Every day my dad, uncle and older cousins went off on a fishing boat, catching salmon in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. It was the proverbial shooting fish in a barrel scenario, with the menfolk catching salmon every time they dipped a rod to water.

Each afternoon they would take their catch in to the cannery and come away with the equivalent amount of salmon in tins.

I can't tell you the exact amount of our share but it was a lot. The gleaming tins lined one entire shelf in Dame Judi's pantry. Of a summer afternoon I'd go into the pantry, grab a tin and open it up. I'd slather 2 slices of bread with softened butter and load it up with the salmon. No adornment, no fussy lettuce to get in the way. Just pure, silky butter and pure oily salmon. Heaven.

#4 BTLs, any time.

This is a sandwich that you cannot screw up. Well, I suppose you can; like anything else, if the ingredients are inferior it can be a disappointment. But a ripe tomato, crisp lettuce, thick bacon cooked nice and crisp, wheat bread lightly toasted and good mayo and you have the perfect lunch. Or breakfast. Or dinner. Or snack.

#3 Egg salad, anytime.

This is another childhood favorite only for whatever reasons, it was treated as a special treat. For me, it is one of things so connected to a specific set of circumstances that, in memory, it is an iconic sandwich, the sandwich. Specifically, it was my "field trip" sandwich, a special treat that was oft accompanied by another special treat that rarely otherwise came into our kitchen, the Twinkie®. And yes, I avoid thinking about the health implications of eating either or both an unrefrigerated egg salad sandwich and a Twinkie®. Suffice to say, what doesn't kill you makes you strong.

Egg salad is another simple recipe (which illustrates, my puppies, that simple is very, very often the best): hard boiled eggs, which are grated and combined with mayo and just a touch of mustard.

This is still one of my sammies of choice, although I haven't the metabolism now to indulge as often as I might.

#2 A ham sandwich.

In this case, a specific ham sandwich. We were in Gare de Nord in Paris, waiting for the train to take us back to London. We'd just spent 5 glorious days in Nantes, at the wedding of a dear friend. And needless to say, we'd eaten very, very well. The wait for the train was long and The Child was only 4. Peckishness called so I took our last francs to a little stall in the station. I try very hard not to be an ugly American. So rather than assume the girl at the counter spoke English, I attempted to order in French. My French, it should be noted, is tres limited. I saw the word jambon and knew that was ham so simply said, "Un sandwich du jambon, si'l vous plais" or some such thing.

The girl handed me a long baguette, wrapped in white paper. Inside was butter and layers of thinly sliced ham. The outside of the baguette was perfectly crusty, shattering into lapsful of crumbs with every bite, but the bread closest to the ham was soft and yielding. As was the ham. The 3 of us shared it in perfect, comfortable bliss.


The number one best sandwich I ever ate was the turkey sandwich they brought me after I birthed The Child.

It had been a good 18 hours since I'd eaten anything, 12 of which I'd spent issuing a human from my body. I was famished. Wheat bread, turkey, some mayo and mustard. There might have been lettuce and tomato, I really don't remember. I just remember how absolutely perfect that sandwich tasted, how it's nourishment flowed straight into my labor-weary cells.

The fact that I was blissed out on hormones and drinking Veuve Cliquot might have enhanced the experience, particularly given that everything else I ate during my hospital stay was unspeakably foul. And that includes the oatmeal.

But every time we pass the hospital I tell The Child, "And there's where you were born. And where Mommy ate the best turkey sandwich of her life".

What's your favorite sandwich?


Nicole said...

blt's; goat cheese, tapenade and fried egg; tuna melt. Oh great, now I'm super hungry for a sandwich.

TWISI said...

Favorite sandwich....

Banana on white bread with mayonnaise! Yes, I am southern!


Sling said...

Favorite sandwich;
Well you just can't beat The ater Thanksgiving turkey sandwich,on potato bread with mayo,salt,and pepper...But!
Cheese Whiz on Rye bread is easy and tasty as well.

Lorraine said...

N: Rats, and you off there living in France surrounded by yummy things to stick between halves of bread. What are you going to do?

K: I kid you not, The Child just made that very sandwich for herself a few days ago. I do not know where she heard of such a thing. But she ate it.

S: I am so with you on the apres T-Day sammie that it was almost on the top 5. I left it off because one of these days (likely sometimes in November) it will no doubt get it's own rhapsodic post. Said sammie is, for me, pretty much the purpose of the feast!

And while never having had Cheez Whiz on rye, I don't judge. I used to also enjoy iceberg lettuce and Miracle Whip sammies. On Wonder bread. Maybe the Whiz not so much but rye bread? Yum.

TWISI said...

I knew I liked the Child!


Seattle Coffee Girl said...

Toasted sourdough with a heavy slather of homemade mayo and layers of freshly-roasted green chiles.

Cold leftover flank steak on sourdough with homemade mayo, beefsteak tomato, a few grinds of pepper and some kosher salt.

Cold, pressed Italian sando: hollowed-out round loaf, layers of salami, provolone, cotto, pepperoncini, roasted red peppers, olives, pesto and mayo wrapped in plastic and pressed for at least 24 hours under a cast iron pan. Sliced into slabs the next evening and eaten while enjoying a concert in the park. With potato chips.

Stacy Lapp said...

manousheh - it's this DELICIOUS pita bread pizza sandwich i had for breakfast everyday in lebanon. it's just cheese, herbs, and delicious flat bread. plus it only costs about 20 cents!!!!!
(ooh love you for mentioning Veuve Cliquot again. now i'm off on a Veuve Cliquot daydream in my mind)

Jon said...

I am sitting her amazed, just amazed at your writing ability when it comes to food! You have truly found your calling.

I'm always disappointed when I finish one of Nigella's books because there is no more of Nigella's appealing writing to read.

It's so good to know that as long as you keep this blog up, I'll never run out of "Nigella" again.

Gush gush gush.

Jon said...

Oh, and my favorite sandwich is a patty-melt with lots of Heinz mustard.

Lorraine said...


SCG: Oh, I LOVE those pressed Italian sammies. I was thinking of throwing one together one of these days...so terrific to just have in the fridge!

J: Yes. You are gushing. I'll take it. But let's be clear. You are most definately gushing.

Lorraine said...

Stacy, I will have to put that sammie on my list of things to try. Maybe I can find one in Chicago?

Are you having Veuve Cliquot at your wedding? Or in reference to the wedding, like say, the wedding night? I do hope so.

evilganome said...

Oh gosh! My first Rueben is right up there. Also, disgusting as it sounds, peanut butter and tomato. It has to be real peanut butter like Teddy or fresh ground, not that abomination Skippy or it's ilk, and really fresh tomatoes. But then tomato and mayo on whole grain anadama is something like a religious experience.

Lorraine said...

E: Oh my gosh. You just reminded me of my first corned beef sammie, in a real honest to god deli. Meat stacked higher than my head...