My pal R asked me, a long time ago, to write a top-five sandwiches list. Here it is:1. Club.
A canonical classic, and it's like a jazz standard or something--given the loose framework, it's great to see each individual take on it.2. Po'boy.
Like hip-hop music, the po'boy started out as a way to make something wonderful out of something cast-off and under-appreciated. And, like hip-hop music, things have changed a lot since then.
3. Philly chicken.
Yeah, the cheesesteak is the canonical version, but I think the steak flavor can overwhelm the taste of the Provolone. If sandwiches were pop songs, the Philly cheesesteak would be the radio mix--too compressed, maybe even brassy. The Philly chicken, on the other hand, is like an audiophile reissue--it's got some dynamic range.4. Hamburger with bacon and bleu cheese.
I'm not in a hamburger mood very often, y'know? But when I am, I want a rich, indulgent monstrosity--a Wall of hamburger Sound, if you will, or a big band or an orchestra or something.5. The Subway footlong veggie and cheese of about ten or fifteen years ago.
Remember when the footlong veggie and cheese was, like, $2.50? That was the greatest bargain in the history of fast food. Hell, you could have 'em add bacon, and it would still be cheaper than a BLT (I'm a cheapskate, and/or a fan of internal consistency, so I like finding things like that). The veggie and cheese is four or five bucks now, which is still cheap, but now that Subway has become bloated and corporate (Pizza? What the fuck is that?), it's just not the same, like American Idiot
That analogy only appears because the other four sandwiches have 'em.Honorable Mention: Monte Cristo.
Ham, turkey and Swiss on white bread, egg-battered and deep-fried, usually dusted with powdered sugar and served with a side of jelly for dipping. Like the club or the po'boy, it's a classic American sandwich, and, like the bacon-and-bleu-cheese burger, it's rich and fatty. And, I just learned, the Monte Cristo received a big popularity boost when Disneyland included it on the menu of their ersatz N'awlins eateries, Blue Bayou and Tahitian Terrace.Honorable Mention 2: Grilled Cheese.
The grilled cheese simultaneously illustrates two important things about food, and people's relationship to it: first, the importance of ingredients; and second, the importance of nostalgia. Plus, vegetarians like 'em.