We have another two-fer today. You’d think this would be to make up for all the neglect in the last few months (we thought we could finish the Bs by the end of last year and now it is May), however, today we do a strategic two-fer as one of these sandwiches is delicious and one of these sandwiches is terrible. Try to guess which one is which!
We start today with the “British Rail,” which I put in quotes on purpose. A British Rail sandwich is tied to a particular place and a particular era. A British Rail sandwich is a crummy sandwich you could get on the nationalized railroad of Great Britain. It is a national joke. I strongly encourage you to check out the Wikipedia page for the British Rail, as it is hilarious and informative, but I offer you now this brief yet telling snippet: “Historian Keith Lovegrove wrote that it was ‘a sandwich of contradictions; it could be cold and soggy, or stale and hard, and the corners of the isosceles triangle-shaped bread would often curl up like the pages of a well-thumbed paperback'” ISN’T THAT JUST DELIGHTFUL?!
Listen, I know we here are dedicated to the task of eating and rating the world’s most notable sandwiches. And, of course, if allowed to decide between a “grass-fed slow braised beef with coddled onions and massaged greens and artisanal cheese on double-artisanal bread” and a 7-11 “sadness sandwich” as defined by our Vicomtesse, we all know we’re going for the fancier sandwich. But there are so many times in life when the fancy sandwich, or even the “good” sandwich is not available to us. But you know what? Whether by virtue of desperation, boredom, drunkeness, or other circumstance, those “bad” sandwiches become good. You know they do. You know that 6 hours into your 12 hour Amtrak trip (that was supposed to be 8 hours), you love that crummy train sandwich, because that sandwich is the only thing breaking the monotony and melancholy of solo travel. And you relish every bite of that cold, hardened bread, “turkey” lush with sodium, three packets of condiment that you glom on to the wizened lettuce and tasteless, but somehow still substantial, cheese. And in that moment, that sandwich is your everything. That sandwich saves your life.
No? Just me? Well, okay then. So onto the sandwich.
Not being in Great Britain, and not being on a train, we were at a bit of a loss as to how to effectively recreate the sad travel sandwich experience. My partner in this adventure was to handle the Bruschetta that we shall be discussing later, so it was my task to make a shitty sandwich. I LITERALLY DO NOT KNOW HOW TO DO THIS. I went to the non-fancy supermarket, just to look for some standard bread and cheese, but then, then I stumbled upon these:
Look at how that ham sweats. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Oh these will do quite nicely.
Friends, these sandwiches were terrible. Just terrible. This is not an example of when the situation transforms a bad sandwich into a good sandwich. The bread stuck persistently to the roof of your mouth and the lettuce was sad and old. The ham was just salt and the cheese tasted like nothing. The vicomtesse couldn’t even finish hers. But I did. For Science.
The bruschetta was, of course, much better. The V and I are fortunate enough to live in an area of the US where we have access to abundant, delicious produce, and as we all know, a bruschetta is only as good as the tomatoes.
I will confess that I am not especially a fan of tomatoes (something about the texture and the seeds) but I do like bruschtta. The vicomtesse’s hubby specializes in bruschetta so we let him direct the process. He heated the chopped tomatoes, which has never been my method but was delicious. We spooned the cooled heated (what?) tomatoes over some nice crostini that we heated in the oven for a bit, after brushing with olive oil and garlic, and added some fresh mozzerella because fresh mozzerella never, ever makes anything worse.
British Rail = bad, notoriously bad. Nobody wants more of this.
Bruschetta = good, very good. A tasty treat that is easy as pie to make.