By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Let’s go back almost three weeks to one of the most important days in our country.
Every year, we know that day is coming on the calendar with some being bigger than others. It seems every four years we treat this day with the reverences it deserves. On Nov. 3, our nation was divided by several issues but what is the best sandwich came to the forefront.
Nov. 3, 2020 was National Sandwich Day. The food item known as a signature piece for lunch for decades has grown into a centerpiece of breakfast and dinner. Sandwiches come in many forms and fashions.
Today I just want to concentrate on what is between the slices of bread, buns and even the pita. I’m going to countdown my top 10 best items inside a sandwich. But first let us look at the history of America’s first food.
The sandwich is believed to be the namesake of John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, following the claim that he was the inventor of the sandwich. It is said that Lord Sandwich was busy gambling and needed his food in a more convenient matter. While at he card table, Lord Sandwich would ask his servants to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread. This practice was a habit that was well known to his gambling friends who soon began to order “the same as Sandwich.” That reportedly gave birth to the sandwich we love today.
From the cheese steak to the Sloppy Joe to the BLT, in the United States we will place almost anything between a couple pieces of bread. Here a just a few of my honorable mentions: peanut butter, jelly, ham, shrimp, fish, mushroom, lobster, salmon and vegetables.
Let’s keep this week simple. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, get ready to take some notes to use that leftover turkey meat. Here is a list of good sandwiches to make from the signature bird of November. Delicious options with the bird are turkey and bacon, a Thanksgiving Cuban, turkey Reuben, classic turkey club, turkey salad sandwich and even a Thanksgiving gyro.
Turkey is a great meat that will take on the flavor of any sauce or condiment applied. It’s good filler with other meats and won’t dominant the your taste buds.
Usually known as a topper or addition to most sandwiches, with a little heat and butter, the cheese can be the centerpiece of any sandwich. According to the foodnetwork.com, there are more than 50 recipes for a grilled cheese sandwich. From a variety of vegetables to different types of cheese, the grilled cheese can be a blank canvas for any sandwich artist. Don’t forget meat, it can be added to any grilled-cheese recipe. But make sure you have more cheese than meat to avoid becoming a patty.
The best egg sandwich is made by my dad Thomas Sellers Sr. He can serve you up a meal of his scrambled eggs on plain white bread. Or if my dad is feeling fancy, he’ll butter-toast the bread before applying his amazing eggs. Add some cheese or jelly, and you’re full until dinner time.
Usually near a biscuit, the egg is a typical part of a breakfast order. Then at lunch time, the egg is good between slices of bread too.
I love a good fried egg sandwich at night. Here are a few more egg sandwich variations: bacon, lettuce, tomato and egg sandwich, caramelized onions and fried egg, avocado and egg toast and scrambled egg and tomato grilled cheese.
Tuna ranks high on this list because of the nutritional values. I love the source of protein and amino acids. Two large tuna salad sandwiches after a good workout is Heaven on earth.
I love two types of tuna sandwiches. Fresh grilled tuna and then tuna salad featuring fresh fruit and veggies. You can impress me with a tuna salad pita with Feta cheese. Tuna is packed with flavor if the right person is making the salad. If you want to win me over, add raisins or grapes and drop in a few chopped nuts.
- Ground beef
OK, the first things coming to your mind is burger. Think outside of the box please for a minute. Ground beef has many different uses between a bun or slices of bread. If the meat is loose, you can place it in a Philly cheese, sloppy Joe or create that delicious patty.
And can I interest you into a ground beef casserole sandwich. Just take those ground beef leftovers and drop them into some bread. From meatloaf to cheesy, potato beef dishes, it all taste better the next day as a sandwich.
- Roast Beef
I love to refer to roast beef as poor man’s steak. But the reason I love roast beef so much is how it compliments whatever joins it underneath the bread.
Some of the roast beef’s best dance partners are caramelized onions, sweet sauces, spicy sauces, provolone cheese, horseradish sauce, American cheese, tomatoes, mayo, mustard, French dip and much more.
Back in the day, a Lenny’s Sub roast beef sandwich was my weekly order at the establishment. I will hunt down tender, fresh cut roast beef in my local grocery store. And most likely I will eat half of the package straight from the container. Roast beef is the best cold cut to place on a submarine sandwich, will steal the show on a bun and is too high-class for regular bread.
In the natural order, beef has to rank above the ground and roast versions. But the reason why the trio are separate is because of flavor, texture and usage. Beef is ideal for Philly cheese steaks. Beef goes great in gyro and panini sandwiches.
I wish Bubba from the 1994 classic movie Forrest Gump was here to name all the ways chicken can be prepared. And once that chicken is cooked, you can pretty much place that meat between some bread. Chicken sandwiches are amazing from salad to fried versions. Here are just a few to enjoy like the chicken burger, Caprese chicken grilled cheese sandwich, chicken Philly, fajita chicken sandwich. Memphis-style BBQ chicken sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, chicken pesto panini and of course the Popeye’s chicken sandwich.
In 2019 a chicken sandwich war was near the top of the news chain. It took a global pandemic to bump the Popeye’s vs. Chick-fil-A battle. And now people are facing their fear of COVID-19 to leave their homes to still buy one of those sandwiches.
Cheap and easily accessible, bologna has transformed from a Southern delicatessen to coast to coast favorite. What makes bologna so good, its a part of a balance breakfast, savory lunch and fulfilling dinner. Great on the grill, even better in the skillet, bologna is delicious with some heat to it. When cold, it makes a great mini-sandwich with crackers.
The bologna and cheese sandwich quenches hunger within seconds. My love for the bologna sandwich goes back to my youth.
My parents will quickly tell you I couldn’t go to bed without eating a “balloon” sandwich. I finally learned how to say the word correctly and that bond between boy and bologna has grown stronger everyday since.
Take bologna, chicken, beef, roast beef, ground beef, tuna, eggs, cheese and turkey. Now add bacon.
OK, let’s pick the mic back up. I could end this column right there. But bacon deserves much more love.
I love bacon and it does make everything better. Add bacon to salmon, veggies, and it’s cousin ham, you are a grand chef.
Bacon alone on a sandwich is amazing. Then add a couple of sidekicks like the healthy lettuce and tomato. And you can get a little child to beg for a BLT. Other delicious bacon sandwiches are the Luther Burger featuring donuts, bacon and burger.
Let’s go to breakfast and toss some bacon on a biscuit with eggs and cheese.
Lunch time, be patient and cook up a few strips of bacon to compliment any type of sandwich.
Bacon and caramelized onions are a dynamite duo like LeBron and AD. And like those Lakers, bacon is the champion of what goes between bread to make the best sandwich.
THOMAS SELLERS JR. is the editor of The Millington Star and both the sports editor and a weekly personal columnist for West 10 Media/Magic Valley Publishing. Contact him by phone at (901) 433-9138, by fax to (901) 529-7687 and by email to email@example.com.