Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Art of Sandwich-Making...

As Paddy's Day draws near, I am away from the office on leave (but also work from home at the same time). It's been an interesting experiment of deciding what my "working lunch" would be these couple of days. It seems my appetite is miraculously whetted by the idea of a humble sandwich and a cuppa even though I do have other alternatives, and this is despite the fact that I often dream of having a hot lunch and a proper sit-down meal when I do have to work in the office.

So the below is going to be way underwhelming and definitely embarrassing (pour moi) to any readers from Hong Kong who are used to taking pictures of mouth-watering delicious food even for what they consider to be a very mundane work lunch. I guess you have to work here to appreciate how happy I was to discover that I could get freshly-made egg salad in a chilled carton from the local supermarket to take home as a sandwich spread. Gosh, I almost jumped with joy when I saw this (sad though I know how this sounds!)!

You see, ever since I stepped out into the working world, in my first corporate job where we were located out in the sticks, we either get pub lunches or invariably, it would be a sandwich, whether you make it yourself or if you queue and get it from a nearby sandwich shop. We always had pub lunches on a Friday, but during the week it depended if there were other guys around or else my boss and I just got ourselves a sandwich. It was thus that I had experimented my way through different sandwich filling combinations at the local sandwich shop, and thus come to the infallible conclusion based on cast-iron evidence that the best sandwich filling consists of: butter, egg salad (also known as egg mayonnaise, a heavenly blend of crushed boiled egg, mayonnaise, and maybe herbs and tiny tomato chunks), ham and cheese.

I can NEVER understand why people would go for a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) sandwich on sliced white bread (rather than say, using baps). The sliced tomatos are a good idea in theory only, as in less than two minutes the bread would have become soggy from the leaked moisture from both the tomato and the lettuce, and nothing is worse than a soggy sandwich. The bacon strips then invariably become too chewy and hard to manage when covered with soggy bread. The whole thing is a grotesque exercise in unfulfilled expectations. (And if you do use baps, yes, they contain moisture better so the whole thing is at least not falling apart in your hands, but jeez, they just end up like diapers absorbing all the liquid, is that what you want for your lunch?)

Also, here in the shops the sandwich makers will always ask you if you prefer butter or mayonnaise on your sarnies. The beauty of having egg salad (aka egg mayonnaise) is that you could have both without making the whole thing disgusting. You can butter your bread, spread egg mayo on them, and the egg mayo adds a softness to your sandwich that is heavenly when combined with sliced ham and cheese (as the latter on their own are just way too dry), but done so without the risk of sogginess posed by incorporating tomato slices.

Of course, one may say ham and cheese sandwiches are boring (and indeed all sandwiches are BORING in big capital letters). Ha! That is only because they don't know how to do them properly. A classic sandwich done properly is a thing of beauty. And thus I am really glad my lunch today consists of the following:

Ingredients: Egg salad from Superquinn; Sliced Leerdammer cheese from Marks and Spencer; Crumbed cooked ham (100% Irish and traceable from farm to fork); and Flora.

Closer look at the divine egg salad (the quality of a sandwich shop can be determined by the quality of their egg mayonnaise. This tub from Superquinn doesn't disappoint at all).

This was finished off with a kiwi, just to get one of my five-a-day's.

I felt really good about the fact I could recreate my idea of a perfect sandwich in the comfort of my own home, now that I don't have to make egg salad from scratch. I really should make sandwiches more often.

Okay, I should really not faff around anymore taking pictures of my boring lunch and just go straight back to work :P

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At Fri Mar 12, 09:13:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger laichungleung said...

I absolutely love this post and the accompanied pictures.

At Tue Mar 16, 10:37:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Thanks so much LCL :) I was actually afraid that this post would drive my few blog readers away because it's so boring!

Glad you like the photos, too!

At Sun Mar 21, 09:31:00 a.m. GMT, Blogger Keri said...

You're speaking my language. Where's you follow button? Sandwiches like this are what make the world a better place. I'd be honored to have you visit my blog. Awesome, Keri (a.k.a. Sam)

At Sun Mar 21, 11:35:00 p.m. GMT, Blogger Snowdrops said...

Thanks Keri, your blog is quite an eye-opener :) I'm not a bona fide sandwich fanatic but it's good to get inspirations all the same.


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