I love sandwiches. Although I will eat a nice salad for lunch, or keep you company with Thai noodles or a rice bowl, just as breakfast is cereal for me, all I ever really want for lunch is a sandwich. In Paris, the sandwich is all about the baguette–as it should be, of course; the baguettes are wonderful–spread thinly with butter and layered with meat or cheese (not, I think, both). I watched French school kids tear into their lunches and remembered my husband’s childhood year of the same daily lunch: baguette with butter and salami. But for me, the sandwich on baguette is, as Eli began to complain, a little big in the mouth.
In England, the bread isn’t the star player, but nor is it an afterthought; whether white or whole grain, dense and malty or tangy with buttermilk, it plays its supporting role well. As for the fillings, we won’t talk about the betrayal that is the peanut butter and butter sandwich (I’m not sure Ben will ever recover from that), nor the extravagant use of the shudder-inducing salad crème. No, I glory in egg and cress, ploughman’s, brie-walnut-cranberry jam, cheddar and chutney, carrot and wembley (that’s a cheese), red cheddar and tomato– and those are just the vegetarian options! Every train station, every Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Marks & Spencer has their own array of sandwiches, made fresh at least once a day and sometimes more often than that. I could happily eat a different one every day for a month.