Sandwiches

While the names and styles vary from place to place, there is no disputing the fact that people everywhere love sandwiches.

Just The Facts

  1. The sandwich is the ultimate convenience food, designed for portability and deliciousness.
  2. Over 100,000,000,000 sandwiches are consumed by people around the world every year.
  3. If you need a fork to eat it, it's not a damn sandwich.

A Brief History of the Sandwich

While the concept of the sandwich dates back at far as man's cultivation of grains, the first recorded idea of placing a filling between two slices of "bread" was accomplished by a 1st century B.C. rabbi named Hillel the Elder. He created what would in modern times would come to be known as the "Hillel Sandwich": a combination of bitter herbs and a spreadable mixture of chopped nuts, apples, and spices mashed together with wine, all of which was placed between two pieces of matzoh.

The Hillel Sandwich. Why, yes, it does look like someone throwing up.

The rabbi designed this new food item to be a reminder of Jewish suffering, with the filling being a metaphor for the mortar used by the slaves to build the Egyptian pyramids. While noble in spirit, things that taste like crap don't make for popular recipes, especially among other cultures that don't insist upon torturing themselves at every given opportunity. Soon after, people discovered that by replacing the tasteless matzoh with delicious slices of leavened bread and removing the bitter filling in favor of flavorful slices of dead animals, a magical marriage of gluttony was created. The artfully named "bread-and-meat" was born, and there was much rejoicing.

Five dupondius footlong

And so, for many years, this wonder invention with a lousy moniker flourished, until one day in the year 17-something-or-another. As the legend goes, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was playing cribbage with his posse of royal asskissers when he got the munchies. He ordered a bread-and-meat so he could eat with one hand and not get his playing cards greasy. Being good toadies, the surrounding bootlicks all ordered, "the same as Sandwich!" The delicacy had gained its proper name.

Had Montagu been the Earl of this town instead of Sandwich, the comedic applications would have been endless.

Sandwiches Around The World

BACON BUTTY:

There is a stereotypical opinion around the globe that food from the United Kingdom is terrible. As a retort to this narrow thinking, we offer the Bacon Butty: a raft of artery plaque that consists of a shitload of bacon held in place by large amounts of butter and jammed between two slices of bread. It may seem simple to the uninitiated among you, but rest assured that the English take this sandwich very seriously. Besides, look at that name; it reads like "buddy", as in this mass of pork fat and salt wants to be your best pal. To turn down the delicious friendship offer of Bacon Buddy would be cruel, and only an asshole would deny it.

BANH MI:

The Banh Mi is a Vietnamese creation, and it is very popular in both Vietnam and, naturally, Canada. The sandwich is similar to a traditional submarine sandwich from the United States, but it also includes ingredients more familiar to the Vietnamese culture (cilantro, daikon radish, beating cobra hearts, cha lua, etc.). It is probably even true that in some darker corners of Vietnam you could find a hot dog banh mi, although the interpretation of the main ingredient would be too literal for most Western tastes.

CHEESESTEAK:

Like the Liberty Bell and churlish sports fans that hurl snowballs at Santa Claus, the cheesesteak is closely linked to the U.S. city of Philadelphia. Properly constructed, the cheesesteak consists of a roll from the Amoroso bakery, thinly sliced ribeye or round (rump) steak, and either Provolone, American cheese, or Cheez Whiz. For you readers unfamiliar with Cheez Whiz, it is a substance created by Kraft Foods that is chemically closer to lacquer than to any dairy product familiar to mankind.

Ingredients: salt, seaweed, melted garbage bags, corn syrup, anchovies (Okay, we made one of those up, but the rest of them are actual ingredients).

There are many variations on the cheesesteak, some more accepted than others. The addition of grilled onions, green peppers, and/or mushrooms is very popular and perfectly fine. Trying to substitute cheese, however, can be a dicey proposition. John Kerry tried ordering one with Swiss cheese during a stop in Philly in the midst of his presidential campaign in 2003. This gaffe caused an uproar which swiftly led to his election defeat one year later. This was the only reason why he lost.

CUBAN:

This muy bueno sandwich is very popular in the Caribbean, especially in the Cuban capital city of Miami. It is a combination of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, sour pickles, and mustard, nestled inside a Cuban roll. The sandwich is pressed and heated until flat, crispy, and delicious. This is traditionally accomplished by using a plancha, but other means can be utilized (a panini press, a hot cast iron pan and a griddle, have a fat guy sit on the sandwich for a few minutes, etc.). As a side note, if you want to try making this sandwich at home but are having trouble locating Cuban rolls, Italian or French rolls can be substituted. Unfortunately, your sandwich won't have that extra "yearning for freedom" taste that makes this delicacy truly special.

FRANCESINHA:

Don't let the name of this Portuguese badass mislead you, because this is one of the manliest sandwiches on the planet. If you let this this thing sit around for a day, it would sprout a five o' clock shadow and hit on your girlfriend. It all starts with ham, linguica (cured sausage), chipolata (fresh sausage), and steak piled between two thick slices of bread.

We know what you're thinking at this moment: "Holy shit! That sounds fucking awesome!" Well, friends, we aren't even done with it yet, because the next step is to coat the thing with melted cheese. Finally (because the genius who invented this masterpiece apparently thought that the alcohol content of this sandwich was too low) it is smothered in a sauce made mainly from tomatoes and beer. Serve it with a mass of fries to absorb any rogue beer sauce trying to escape, and you have the food equivalent of walking into a biker bar and telling the entire room to "Fuck Off!" Well done, Portugal.

GRILLED CHEESE:

The grilled cheese sandwich is a classic combination of bread, butter, and cheese that is normally either cooked on a griddle or toasted until it is crispy on the outside and creamy and melted on the inside. This sandwich is inexpensive, easy to prepare, extremely satisfying, and is a favorite of millions of people. Naturally, this means there are idiots everywhere who are trying to "improve" upon the recipe. We're going to make this as simple as possible: if you are adding black truffles or Thousand Island dressing or fucking Marshmallow Peeps, it is no longer a grilled cheese sandwich. If you spent all afternoon baking a delicious chocolate cake for a dinner party, and someone came along and decided to frost it by taking a wet dump on it, would you still serve it to your guests as "Chocolate cake"? Of course not; you would serve it to them as "Chocolate cake with poo icing". Please afford the humble grilled cheese sandwich the same respect.

HAMBURGER:

The ubiquitous hamburger is the best-selling sandwich in the world. The word "burger" has even become synonymous with "sandwich" as people try to replace the classic ground beef patty with things like chicken, buffalo, kangaroo, and whatever-the-fuck-is-in-a-"Veggie"-patty. That's right: burgers are so damn awesome that vegetarians are desperately trying to make one that doesn't involve killing livestock. Well, time for a reality check, hippies.

A BURGER MADE FROM BREAD CRUMBS AND SQUASH WILL NEVER MATCH

A REAL BURGER MADE FROM THE SUCCULENT FLESH OF STUPID ANIMALS

Herbivores, please note: Our dinner is eating your dinner. We're doing you a favor by killing them. You're welcome.

What more can we say about burgers? Well, plenty, but we'll save that for the Hamburgers Topic Page (or the Burgers Topic Page...they're both good). Meanwhile, here's some wacky burger-related links!

Le Burger Brasserie: A restaurant in the Paris Las Vegas that offers a burger that costs $777.

Mallie's Sports Bar (Southgate, MI): Sells a burger that weighs over 185lbs. It's still cheaper than the one mentioned in the previous link.

In-n-Out 100x100: Group of suicidal idiots try to consume an In-n-Out Burger that's 100 patties and 100 slices of cheese tall long.

Four Horsemen Burger: Man vs Food's Adam Richman visits San Antonio and takes on an insanely spicy burger that includes the ludicrously hot ghost chile (Naga Jolokia).

Don Gorske: This guy eats 2 McDonald's Big Macs a day. Every day. For the last 37 years. Yes, he's still alive.

ITALIAN BEEF:

This mouth-watering gutbomb was created by Italian immigrants living in what in the 1930's was considered America's Abattoir: Chicago. This first step of creating this sandwich is to slowly wet-roast a beefy slab of top round or sirloin butt in a flavored broth. The meat is then cooled, then thinly sliced. The broth (or, if you actually give a shit about what the French think, au jus) is heated, and the sliced beef is kept warm in it until ready for chow time. A heapin' helpin' o' beef is piled on a crusty roll, then topped with the house giardiniera, which is a combination of vegetables mixed with oil and vinegar. The sandwich is then dipped into the broth and served up hot and dripping wet. The Italian Beef is a staple product of many Chicago natives. Chicago Cubs fans in particular love this sandwich because, like them, it is overstuffed with meat, dripping with various fluids, and slightly pickled.

LOMITO:

South America enters our food porn discussion here with the lomito, a tasty, wet mess of a beast with German roots that is wildly popular in Chile and Argentina. Like all sandwiches there are many variations, but a traditional combination is a mountain of thinly-shaved pork loin with fresh tomatoes, a giant dollop of mashed avocado, and two giant dollops of mayonnaise piled onto a six-inch round bun. Somehow, Chileans eat tons of these things, yet their country remains so skinny! Ha! Geography Puns! That's why you read Cracked!

MUFFULETTA:

The muffuletta is another sandwich masterpiece created by an Italian immigrant. In this case, it was by Signor Lupe Salvadore, who unleashed this hubcap-sized bread-and-meat upon the world in 1906 from his Central Grocery located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The classic muffuletta combination is layers of capicola (spicy ham), salami, mortadella (similar to bologna, but not awful like bologna), Emmental cheese (Swiss cheese), provolone cheese, and a relish made mostly from olives plus other vegetables like celery and carrot. The genius of the muffuletta, however, lies in the round, flat muffuletta roll used in its construction. Measuring in at somewhere between 9-12 inches in diameter, it is not so much a roll as it is a substitute manhole cover. If you dropped this thing out of a high-flying plane, the C.I.A. would be getting panicked calls about it as it fell to Earth.

Moofuletta Attack!

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY:

Cracked Topics Page Trivia Fact of the Day: The peanut butter and jelly sandwich is made using Peanut Butter and Jelly.

What more do you want? It's a fucking peanut butter and...

Alright. Fine. The people of Massachusetts decided they couldn't leave this timeless combination alone. Apparently devoid of Italian immigrants that could help them make a real sandwich, they instead replaced the jelly with marshmallow fluff, thereby eliminating the troublesome "vitamin" aspect of the sugar component of the PB&J. Compounding the error, they named the thing a Fluffernutter after suggestions to call it "Cocksucker" and "Quivering Labia" were ruled out. At least it gives the people in the porn industry a handy adianoeta to use at lunchtime.

SUBMARINE:

The submarine (or "sub") sandwich is known by many different names: hoagie, grinder, po' boy, hero, Italian, torpedo, zeppelin, and probably a few others but fuck it, that's enough. The exact construction of the sandwich, like its many cognomens, vary from region to region, but it is always a split long roll filled with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and sauces. Usually the meats are cold cuts, but (to borrow from the Creoles) if it walks, crawls, flies, or swims, it has probably ended up on a sub roll somewhere.

I need a large Italian sub on wheat with extra R2-D2, please.