This special edition of Ode to My Pantry is part of Take Back the Sandwich day on Autostraddle! Because our sandwiches aren’t about pleasing men or getting bitches back into the kitchen, they’re about sandwiches. We’re fucking the patriarchy and celebrating the sandwich, purely and without political context.
Some people say romance is dead, but those people obviously haven’t read 300 Sandwiches yet. What do you do if you’re a successful lady person with a boyfriend that hasn’t asked you to walk down the aisle? Passive aggressive sticky notes? A successful magazine column and a compulsion for shoes? Choreographed proposals? Nope, it’s so much easier than that! Stephanie Smith decided to take her love life into her own hand and finally put a ring on it. Not by proposing to her beau (Eeew! What are we in, the 21st century?), but by seducing him the only way she knows how.
Honey, you’re 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring.
Could more seductive words ever be slurred through dribbles of djion? Smith’s generous lover made that exclamation when she dared to wed meat and bread in holy sandwichmony, possibly hinting that she might be marriage material! Like, with a white dress and everything! Worthy of making his meals well into old age! Fixing up a sandwich is just one small meal for Smith, but one giant leap for woman and sandwich kind! If your beau beckons to you with a sweet, “You’ve been up for 15 minutes and you haven’t made me a sandwich?” you know that doing it 299 more times will be worth it in twenty years. Oh let’s be honest, it already is.
We could all take a lesson in both domesticity and romance from Smith. But unfortunately, the same rules don’t apply when it comes to seducing your love. Not because, “Bitch make me a sandwich” isn’t a universal term of endearment (of course it is), but because we queer lady folk happen to have a few more culinary hangups than Smith’s boo (I’ll just go out on a limb and assume she calls him that). No my future Shanes, you need to incorporate some thought and attention into your Cupid’s Bow of Carbs. You’re not just making a cold cut delivery device, you’re making a love delivery device.
Back in the day, John Montagu had a bit of an addiction. Had he been playing cribbage or backgammon, he might have given up his game. But thanks to our little friend Gambling, something great happened when he demanded his valet make him some food! His servant slipped a few slices of cold meat between two slices of bread so Montagu wouldn’t have to put down his cards and suddenly everyone else wanted the same as (the Earl of) Sandwich! By being too lazy to tend to his own needs, Montagu started the tradition of yelling at people to prep your food. And hopefully will help you claim some lucky lady’s hand in civil unionmony!
But before we start making our own sourdough or burning our delicate fingers caramelizing onions (We’re silly ladies! How are we supposed to understand how fire works?) we should start with the basics. You can’t run down the aisle without learning how to crawl first! So really, what goes into a panty-peeling sandwich?
While Montagu just relied on bread, we have a huge smorgasboard of romantic carb type offerings that earn the monniker. Smith herself says she even resorted to shoving ice cream between two cookies to appease her loving
husband captor soon-to-be fiancé! (How resourceful! She’ll be fantastic at popping out babies!) So what makes a sandwich a sandwich? I’d like to borrow the Neuhaus rule from NPR’s Sandwich Monday and include any protein that’s secured by a carbohydrate delivery device. This might lead to a debate on burrito wooing practices, but if you want to keep it simple, let’s just start with bread. Just be sure to choose wisely, as different breads have properties that might help or hinder your ability to stack it up.
Sandwich Style Loaves. Your typical chemical-laden loaf comes loaded with added vitamins, tenderizers and preservatives to keep your bread Wonderful well into next week. Even though this bread seems like it might be more suitable for ducks, the supple nature means it’ll easily succumb to your lover’s bite much you’ll succumb to your lover’s bite. If you were planning on making something soft and submissive (BDSMPB&J anyone?) this’ll be the bread for you! But if you wanted something with a bit heartier, you’ll have to step up your bread game.
Artisanal Loaves. Containing little more than flour, water, salt and yeast, these chewy breads have a bit more character and tend to hold up to a bit of mishandling. Often relying on wild yeasts, they’ll create bubbles and holes of varying sizes. Every bite is a little bit different and surprising (just like your relationship!) If you roasted a chicken, pulled your own pork or smoked a brisket for your love, this bread will hold up a bit better to the textural irregularities. Plus it’ll sop up some of the liquids without losing its integrity.
Buns or Baguettes. If you’re in a pinch and need to get Sandwich #208 on the table ASAP, you might want to look at your buns. You don’t have to create finnicky slices or any of that. The outer crust is great at containing all of your sandwich toppings but will also stay fresh on the counter longer than its pre-sliced cousins! Just in case you’re too busy tilling the fields to make #48.
Bagels. Chewy, delicious and dense, I love me some bagel. But keep in mind the added hole will provide some problems where slippage is concerned. It might be a bit too complex for your lady brain to cope with for her first foray into sandwich seduction.
But really now, if this sandwich is the first step into your food-based relationship, go for a gluten-free loaf. Bitches love gluten-free.
There’s nothing worse than a soggy sandwich. Make sure to waterproof your bread before you serve your boo their hard-earned treat! (Have you ever had to tell your girlfriend to stop massaging your feet and get back into the kitchen because they fucked up your Bánh mì? Absolutely excruciating!) Make a bread barrier to keep dry things dry and moist things moist. There’s only supposed to be one thing that gets wet when you’re making sammiches.
Butter, margarine, Earth Balance and any number of mayo based offerings can keep the wet at bay. Even mustard’s emulsive nature means it’ll police your bread barrier, making sure everything stays happy! If you really want to lock her in, use the lesbian mating call and line your bread with hummus. Even though it seems like overkill, spread an ultrathin layer on both pieces of bread to extend your sandwich’s lifespan. That way it’ll still stay fresh while you’re vacuuming the house.
The real message lies between your slices. Generations of lady-folks have been slaving away in the kitchen, paving the way so you too can embrace your true calling. A truly seductive sandwich should be harmonious with contrasting yet complementary textures, flavours and temperatures. Play each note carefully and maybe you can finally grab an engagement ring when you give up on the brass one!
So which notes will you use to serenade your lover?
- Avocados. We’ve gone over this, everyone loves avocadoes.
- Homemade brisket, pulled pork or any number of meats. Be sure to slice against the grain so your lover doesn’t have to tire their jaw chewing.
- Tomatoes. They better be flavourful. Anything post-tomato season is practically an insult.
- Spicy Things. Whether its pickled peppers or hot sauce, add something to put them in the mood.
- Greens. Even though leaves seem like a waste of space, the textural difference can lighten up an otherwise heavy sandwich. Romaine and iceberg for a juicy crunch or spinach, arugula and mesclun for a bit of peppery heat.
- Cheese. Your relationship will just get better with age! Really, any cheese will do.
- Pickles. The crunch will add an acidic counterpoint to anything you make. Plus marinated vegetables like mushrooms or cauliflower will make it seem like you slaved in the kitchen for days when it was really just hours!
- Eggs. I wasn’t kidding when I said I loved to put eggs in interesting holes. If you’re just a junior varsity sammich maker, you might want to hold off on embedding an egg within your bread and just fry one up instead.
If you’ve stacked your sandwich with as much love as it can handle, be clever with your serving options. Either stab it with a toothpick or wrap it tightly with clingfilm to hold in all of the love. Or just take a panini maker and squish your sandwich into submission to marry all the flavours. Just be sure to serve up your sandwich with a number. Otherwise all of that love and hard work would have been for nothing!