The English invented the sandwich, one of the greatest of all inventions, of all time, seriously. Not only did the English invent the sandwich, but they have come up with some of the most important essential steps in making the things. Maybe the first Earl of Sandwich was one of those characters marching around in the top hats.
In honor of the Olympics, I will discuss some of the best techniques for sandwich building. First, toast the bread. While it is not possible to make a GREAT sandwich with mediocre, store-bought bread, it IS possible to make a good sandwich with the super market brands, but only if you toast them. Whether you toast them in a pan on a grill or in a toaster, the toasting is essential, and immediately after toasting you must butter both slices. This may not seem right. It may not seem necessary, but the truth is what the English have always known: toasting makes everything better. Witness chestnuts. Buttering both pieces of bread will allow them to keep their integrity. (The British really know integrity, notwithstanding there sensational headlines.)
Second, don’t skimp on the ingredients, especially not the meat. Let’s say you’re making the ancient classic, the BLT. Be sure to use at least THREE slices of bacon on each sandwich. Though the treatment of the bread is essential, it’s not really about the bread. It’s about the filling. Also, make sure the lettuce (or arugula or basil or cilantro) is dry before it goes on the bread. It doesn’t have to be BONE DRY, but it should not introduce excessive amounts of liquid to the combination.
Third, when using tomatoes, keep them between the greens and the meat. Be sure the tomatoes are vine-ripened and from a home garden. This may sound fussy, but it’s the way of the universe. No one gets really good tomatoes from super markets.
Fourth, cut the sandwich before serving. I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this. Cutting the sandwich makes it better. It doesn’t matter why it works. Just do it.
Finally, frost the glass for the beverage. It takes just minutes. You can put it in the freezer when you start to prepare the sandwich, and by the time you’re ready to serve, the glass is frosted. Those little details–the frosted glass, cutting in half, toasting the bread–express love. That one free ingredient makes a world of difference.