This post has been cross-posted to Gastropost – a project spearheaded by the National Post that sends food lovers on various food-related missions and gets them to share their experiences. Mission #17 asked Gastroposters to share their favourite food.
It is difficult for me to even begin to consider a question that requires me to assign hierarchical value to foods that I love. For my tastes can be fleeting and there are simply too many favourites to have. So my response to this week’s Gastropost is somewhat of a cop out, but it isn’t without logic or fairness.
If I absolutely had to label something as my favourite food, I would choose the highly versatile, ever customizable, wholly ubiquitous sandwich.
I am convinced that there is a sandwich (the term used loosely to refer to ingredients of almost any kind wrapped, stuffed, layered, spread, crumbled, melted, smashed, drizzled, cracked between, inside, on top of some sort of leavened or unleavened, baked or fried dough) for all tastes, moods, cultures, dietary or religious restrictions or wayward inclinations.
Sandwiches can be savoury (a reuben) or sweet (Nutella and banana). You can eat them for breakfast (BLT), lunch (ham and swiss) or dinner (blackened chicken breast, with oven roasted tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella). You can take them to go (burrito) or eat them with a knife and fork (open faced porchetta). Children love them (peanut butter and jelly, no crust), teenagers eat them (turkey and cheddar) and adults love them too (steak and mushroom).
They can be light and healthy (veggie wrap with hummus), rich and decadent (croque madame), cheap and sketchy (spam and cheese whiz), dainty (tea sandwiches) or hearty (sloppy joe).
They can be made with raw ingredients and eaten cold (cold cut combo), cooked ingredients and eaten warm (hamburger on ciabatta), baked (meatball hoagies) or fried (grilled cheese).
You can eat them in Vietnam (bánh mì), Lebanon (shawarma) France (jambon et beurre), Germany (bratwurst and sauerkraut), Canada (peameal bacon and cheddar), the United States (BBQ chicken), Mexico (torta), Southern Africa (Gatsby).
I could go on, but the point is almost every element of the sandwich is infinitely variable making the combinations inexhaustible. The sandwich lets me showcase whatever food is temporarily holding the top spot for favourite, and it doesn’t balk when I need to switch it up. In fact, it likes that.