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Rise up! (against pre-made sandwiches)


Fat Guy
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Okay, so if you have to pack a lunch, fine, you have to make your sandwich ahead of time. But in this day and age -- in any day or age -- we shouldn't be supporting stores that sell pre-made sandwiches. A sandwich should be made to order. Not only do pre-made sandwiches deprive us of choice, but also they ruin the bread -- both through soggy contact with the ingredients and through refrigeration. The Earl of Sandwich, Rabbi Hillel and Jared from Subway all agree: sandwiches should be made to order.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
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But I have to say I don't like pre-sliced meat either

I quite agree. Jared should be ashamed. Subway is mostly useful for tuna sandwiches in the middle of Manitoba.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think I'll take a decent pre-made, like Briazz, over SafeWay or SubWay most of the time.

The quality of bread and other ingredients, not to mention the, hmmm..., how to put this kindly, quality of employee, of those chains often leaves much to be desired.

Everything arrives pre-sliced, packaged, and vacuum sealed, and they still can't keep their stations clean.

Ideally, they'd not just be slicing the turkey and roast beef; but, cooking it as well.

Sure they'd have to, horror of horrors, train their employees to cook; but, I bet the food costs would be lower.

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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Can we add to the revolution?

I can't stand places that do make your sandwich to order but won't let you leave off (note I did not say substitute) an ingredient. Is it really going to throw everything out of whack to leave off the mayo????

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I always figure premade sandwiches are going to cheat me on the ingredients. With crafted-to-order sandwiches the sandwich maker's human nature kicks in and my odds of getting an over-sized sandwich double.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

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Not only do I not like pre-made sandwiches, just this week I decided that I don't really like sandwiches period. I've had good sandwiches, but I have never taken a bite of sandwich and closed my eyes in ecstasy. I've never had a sandwich so good that I've eaten it in reverential silence. There just seems to be a limit to how good a sandwich can be. I think the bread masks the flavor of the filling, and the filling keeps you from really enjoying the texture of the bread. Slightly OT, I know, sorry--but it's been weighing on my mind this week and this seemed like the place to toss it in. Have I just been hanging out with the wrong sandwiches? Have you ever had a sandwich that was truly mind-blowingly good?

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In certain -- albeit rare -- circumstances, pre-made sandwiches are the best option. Airports, for instance, if you don't have time to make your own food or to wait for a custom-made sandwich. Some places do it better than others; leaving the condiments off and giving you little packets of mayonnaise and decent mustard is great, if you can find a place that does it.

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Slightly OT, I know, sorry--but it's been weighing on my mind this week and this seemed like the place to toss it in. Have I just been hanging out with the wrong sandwiches? Have you ever had a sandwich that was truly mind-blowingly good?

Yes. It was super thin slices sourdough, thinly sliced black forest ham or maybe it was roast beast...... and havarti i think. I forget. I grilled it with butter, and it was blissful. The bread was soooooo crispy but not bulky, the cheese perfectly oozy.... I hoarded it behind my computer screen so the SO wouldn't look up and ask for a bite.

It must have been roast beef cause I recall putting a smidge of horseradish on there.

The key was the bread. I'd never had the deli slice it so thin before. I like bread but theres usually too much bread in a sandwich...... this was simple, and it was perfection.

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Have you ever had a sandwich that was truly mind-blowingly good?

Yes....yes, oh yes. Never mind a perfectly made Reuben, or any ilk of Po' Boy for that matter, which are surely works of art, but see the thread on simple sandwiches here "clickity" for the absolute ambrosial offerings of a perfecty made avocado/bacon on sourdough sandwich. And of course, the muffaleta.

Both of them worthy of the term "mind-blowingly good". Last meal worthy.

--Roberta--

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Have you ever had a sandwich that was truly mind-blowingly good?

Hell yeah. Many times. The roast beef and boursin sandwiches made by Formaggio's in Harvard Square in the late 1970s. The humongous pastrami and corned beef sandwiches made by Katz' in New York City. The bahn mi dac biet made by K Sandwiches here in San Diego. My own stinkbomb special--liverwurst, raw onion, and brown mustard on good pumpernickle. A really good cubano or panino made by someone who knows their way around a sandwich press. And many many more. Hey, not every type of food is going to be mindblowing for every individual, but as far as I'm concerned a well-made sandwich is a thing of beauty and a joy for ... well, however long it takes me to inhale it.

However, there are many not-well-made sandwiches that are decidedly NOT things of beauty. Being pre-made does not in itself doom a sandwich to irredeemable nastiness, but it certainly stacks the deck against the poor thing. Still ... in a shopping center in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood there's a Quizno's just across from the local Trader Joe's. Made-to-order and toasted and pepper bar notwithstanding, I still pass up the Quizno's for the pre-made TJ's sandwiches on a regular basis. I dunno, maybe I'm just letting the establishments' respecitve vibes overly influence me ... but I just can't make myself go in the Quizno's. And I even liked their SpongMonkey ads! :laugh:

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There is nothing like a fresh French dip at Philippe's in Los Angeles but I also enjoy a pre-made sandwich at Bouchon Bakery in NYC, for me there was nothing. Back in my days at The CIA in Hyde Park, I quite often enjoyed a pre-made sandwich at the bakery. I think it really just depends, some good bread, good condiments and some love can make a good pre-made sandwich.

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I can't stand places that do make your sandwich to order but won't let you leave off (note I did not say substitute) an ingredient.  Is it really going to throw everything out of whack to leave off the mayo????

But, but, you're messing with the artistic vision that created that sandwich! :rolleyes: I agree, refusing to leave off an ingredient it retarded.

I had some fairly decent premade egg & cress on whole grain in London, but on the whole premade sandwiches are disgusting. Soggy & stale.

Edited by hjshorter (log)

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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But I have to say I don't like pre-sliced meat either

I quite agree. Jared should be ashamed. Subway is mostly useful for tuna sandwiches in the middle of Manitoba.

Word.

In certain -- albeit rare -- circumstances, pre-made sandwiches are the best option. Airports, for instance, if you don't have time to make your own food or to wait for a custom-made sandwich. Some places do it better than others; leaving the condiments off and giving you little packets of mayonnaise and decent mustard is great, if you can find a place that does it.

I agree.

I'll also put this out there. There are certain sandwiches that benefit from being pre-made - like party sandwiches. Really.

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I'll also put this out there.  There are certain sandwiches that benefit from being pre-made - like party sandwiches.  Really.

Like the layered kind made from a loaf sliced horizontally and filled with ham salad and the like? Or cream cheese and chutney? I'm with you.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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I think I'll take a decent pre-made, like Briazz, over SafeWay or SubWay most of the time.

The quality of bread and other ingredients, not to mention the, hmmm..., how to put this kindly, quality of employee, of those chains often leaves much to be desired.

Everything arrives pre-sliced, packaged, and vacuum sealed, and they still can't keep their stations clean.

Ideally, they'd not just be slicing the turkey and roast beef; but, cooking it as well.

Sure they'd have to, horror of horrors, train their employees to cook; but, I bet the food costs would be lower.

I agree with everything. Especially the high end pre-made over Subway. Subway, to be frank, uses garbage ingredients.

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There is nothing like a fresh French dip at Philippe's in Los Angeles but I also enjoy a pre-made sandwich at Bouchon Bakery in NYC, for me there was nothing. Back in my days at The CIA in Hyde Park, I quite often enjoyed a pre-made sandwich at the bakery. I think it really just depends, some good bread, good condiments and some love can make a good pre-made sandwich.

Oh yes, the hand cut lamb sandwich at Phillipe's, the hand cut pastrami sandwich at the legenday Langer's in McArthur Park, the red tomato & escarole sandwiches I make on a crusty hazelnut sage baguette, the long departed Ship-Shape hamburgers on sourdough dread [RIP], and my all time favorite ... Niman Ranch applewood smoked bacon, fresh ripe tomatoes, escarole, homemade mayo on Buona Fortuna bread. Yes, the BLT is my fav!!!

I think sandwiches are divine.

Having said that I don't get to go out for lunch so sometimes I buy from the guy who brings around fresh made salads and sandwiches. My favorite is the "Antipasto Sandwich". Made on ciabiatta bread it is filled with classic antipasto items, salami, coppicola, peperoncini, archichoke hearts, olives, mayo and romaine. Another one I like that he brings around is the "Chicken Caesar Sandwich". The baguette is split in half and grilled until it is compltely toasted and charred a bit, it is filled with moist sliced chicken breast, a brush with an anchovy flavored mayo, parmesan shavings and a couple of whole romaine leaves. Yum!

The key is high quality bread & good fillings not piled too high.

And Subway ranks near the bottom ... sugary bread that is squishy with NO crumb, lowest quality meats and EVERY sandwhich slathered with the most hideous ballpark yellow mustard ... even tuna salad! Bad.

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The premade tuna salad sandwich sold by I-don't-know-who in terminal C of the Fort Lauderdale International Airport is actually very good. The bread is an interesting and sturdy multigrain which holds up well to the very lightly mayonnaised white tuna. The iceberg lettuce is crunchy and tastes green and fresh. My only complaint is that this sandwich is priced at US$7.50. Ouch!

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Here's something that perplexes: Why is it that premade sandwiches in the US are so horrible, and yet most panini and tramezzini in Italy are made ahead of time and are generally very good?

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Sandwiches should always be eaten fresh? What craziness is this? :raz:

Some of the greatest sandwich recipes are ones in which the ingredients are well-chosen to benefit from sitting around. Eating them 'fresh' would be as foolish as eating a stew or a casserole before it's ready.

Take the provencal pan bagnat. Freshly made, it would just be a strange mixture of crunchy vegetables and anchovies. With the benefit of time, it turns into a wonderful mixture. In the words of Elizabeth David,

Join the two halves [of the sandwich] together and put them under a heavy weight. Serve the next day.

Sure, if you see a sandwich as just a convenient delivery vehicle for different types of food, and want to be able to fuss and fret about what type of ham and cheese and dressing goes on it - by all means insist on freshly-prepared. But otherwise, be flexible.

(And like other posters, I'd rather take a good sandwich made a couple of hours ago than a bad or average one made to order. Which in London is usually the choice, since Pret a Manger sandwiches are pretty good and places like Subway (and sad, to say, many independent sandwich shops) aren't.)

Edited by Stigand (log)
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I know a bakery that sells pre-made vegetarian sandwiches that are quite good. They use house-made bread (they stone-grind their own flour, and most of their breads are whole wheat), and use freshly made fillings. Their only fault is that they're usually overstuffed, leading to leakage. Nothing's worse than a leaky sandwich (except maybe a leaky anus).

Forgot to add, that while not in the middle of Manitoba, it is in the southern part (in Winnipeg). :biggrin:

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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I've had good sandwiches, but I have never taken a bite of sandwich and closed my eyes in ecstasy. I've never had a sandwich so good that I've eaten it in reverential silence. There just seems to be a limit to how good a sandwich can be.  Have you ever had a sandwich that was truly mind-blowingly good?

Thousands. Eggplant and veal parm subs at my favorite local pizza place. Lean proscuttio, basil and summer tomatos in the north end. Corned beef or pastrami in New York. Any BLT where the bread is good and the bacon is sliced thick and cooked well done. Tuna salad with just a bit of red onion and celery in a french roll. Cheeze steaks. Hamburgers, from a backyard grill or from anyplace that takes real pride in them. A grilled knockwurst on a kaiser roll with brown deli mustard at a local greek/kosher/deli place.

Edited by Dr. Teeth (log)
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In general, I dont much like sandwiches. They do a job. however...

sublime: yes. There's a little place in Sacramento, which makes a grilled veggie sandwich that is eye-rolling, moan aloud, guard-the-plate good.

There's a deepfried chicken sandwich I favor which is also consistently eaten in rapt silence.

pre-made: the quickstop at work makes a chicken pesto sandwich each am which is perfectly delicious not only at lunch, but the next day (its a bit big for one meal.) I think their secret is the two lettuce leaves which protect the bread, and the sparing hand with whatever it is that binds the chicken salad together. (but not stinting on the basil etc). Its a very good sandwich.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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