October 10, 2021

A Small Step toward Building a Better Sandwich

 I love sandwiches. I have always loved sandwiches. I make sandwiches for myself often.

My constructing a typical sandwich goes something like this: On a bun or on two slices of bread, I first apply dressing. This could be mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, or something more exotic, such as Russian dressing. What is important is that both the top and bottom of the sandwich receive some dressing, not necessarily the same dressing. This helps prevent the sandwich from being too dry. Next, internal elements of the sandwich are piled atop the bottom bread or bun—meat, cheese, pickles, tomato, and lettuce. Everything is topped off with salt and pepper and the top slice of bread or bun.

Following this process, lots of salt and pepper ends up surrounding the sandwich because it slides off the lettuce. It could be applied in the construction earlier, but it is difficult to distribute the salt and petter uniformly. To achieve uniformity across the sandwich, it would be helpful to apply them to a flat, sticky substrate.

Beef and cheese sandwich showing pepper applied over
mayonnaise. Salt was applied over chili sauce on the
half of the bun not visible.
This observation gave me an idea. Rather than seasoning the sandwich filling, why not apply the salt and pepper to the bread or bun. Their surfaces are sticky and reasonably flat. Not only can the salt and pepper be applied uniformly, but that uniformity can be verified visually. Pepper shows up especially well on mayonnaise; salt can be seen on mayonnaise but shows up better on ketchup or mustard.

One might object that salt is best applied to the meat or tomato, where it can attract moisture and enhance flavor. Perhaps, but in the time between constructing a sandwich and eating it, I suspect that any such effect is minimal. In any case, if properly applied, my technique assures that every bite includes salt and pepper.

The picture at the right illustrates my seasoning technique. I was more concerned with photography than applying that technique perfectly, but you can easily get the idea.

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