My earliest food memory is a sandwich.
From the age of two and on throughout my childhood, my aunt, who was the pianist for the Milwaukee Ballet, would take me with her to performances at the Performing Arts Center. I loved every moment of it – getting ready in a dress and “big girl nylons,” honking our horn in the tunnel as we drove into the city, sitting dead center in front of the orchestra pit all by myself, watching the beautiful dancers on stage, and talking to Romney, Peter, Myron and the other performers after the show.
As special as all of this was, my favorite part of each evening was walking hand in hand with my aunt to The Velvet Chair, a plush, dimly lit restaurant on the lower level of the PAC, and sitting at the bar. My aunt, in her flowing dress, with her dark hair tucked up in an artfully crazy bun and a long cigarette in an engraved holder perched between her red-tipped fingers, would wave the bartender over and order two BLT sandwiches, a Coke and a cup of black coffee.
It could have been the 1940s-style elegance to the whole scene, or maybe the excitement of each occasion, but every time I took a bite of that BLT, I thought it was the best thing I had ever tasted. That food memory is tightly linked to joy, anticipation and pleasure in my mind, and even though decades have passed, I still can’t eat a BLT without remembering those long ago days with a smile. The sandwich is a bond to happy moments in my past.
These days, I count the BLT among my favorite sandwiches even though my tastes have matured and gotten more adventurous. I’ve tried everything from basic bologna to exotic camel and love to experiment with making mile-high creations for my family. My son, Nic, used to say, “You can tell how much Mom loves us. Just look at her sandwiches.”
Recently, I received an email from Miss Van Oyen, the Culinary Arts Para. She was teaching the 2nd year students about sandwiches. I so wanted to be in their classroom rather than sitting behind my cluttered desk! I imagined wonderful conversations about fresh breads, new ingredients to blend into spreads, mayo versus Miracle Whip, soft versus hard cheeses, white meat, red meat or no meat, an endless variety of vegetable combinations, grilled or cold, cut in half or served whole… sigh.
Miss Van Oyen had her students study sandwiches from top to bottom, then fill out a worksheet to create a café menu filled with delectable, delicious, delightful sandwiches. They needed to include all seven types of sandwiches - closed-face, open-faced, club, griddled, cold, hot, finger and tea sandwiches. They also needed all four elements of a sandwich - bread, spread, filling, and garnish.
Then they named their creations. Here are some names and sandwiches the students came up with:
- Wade named his sandwiches:
· The Famous Chef Wade Sandwich
· Bomb of the Year Sandwich
· Creativity Sandwich
· The Salami Supreme
· The Best of the Best Cold Sandwich
· The Best Creation on the Planet Earth Sandwich
· Caribbean-Style Sandwich
- Other names were The Gobbler and Tiny Tom.
- The students used fillings such as hummus, guacamole, cream cheeses, flavored mayonnaise or butters, etc. Not just mustard and mayonnaise!
- They used different breads like pumpernickel, rye, sourdough, baguettes, bagels, pita, rolls, and even Triscuits for tea sandwiches.
- The meat they were asked to use was turkey, but they used honey roasted, smoked, turkey bacon, and turkey hot dogs to add creativity.
It was a lesson filled with creativity and almost limitless possibilities.
I hope, through this exercise, the students developed fun memories of the sandwich that will make them smile well into their golden years.
I hope that their family and friends will feel loved when they someday eat one of these fantastical creations made by their own skilled chefs.
I hope that one day I’ll stop by a café owned by Wade to try his The Best Creation on the Planet Earth Sandwich.
I’m sure it will become my new favorite.
Just for Fun:
Our favorite sandwiches –
Mrs. Harvey – Oooooh! One of my favorite sandwiches is a warm Reuben, or just about anything with sautéed onions and green peppers.
Mr. Gaschke – In the summertime, I enjoy a good BLT – garden fresh tomatoes, thickly-sliced bacon, dark, leafy lettuce and Miracle Whip.
Miss Houk - Jimmy John's Turkey Tom
Miss Houk - Jimmy John's Turkey Tom
Mr. DeCiccio – A Spicy Italian from Subway with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, lettuce, oil & vinegar, and salt and pepper.
Miss Miles – I like grilled chicken sandwiches with lettuce, tomato and avocado on a pretzel bun.
|Jimmy John's #9 on wheat|
Mr. Canright – A Beach Club from Jimmy Johns! Sprouts, avocado slices, turkey, provolone… I like to sprinkle Jimmy’s jalapeno chips onto the sandwich. It provides a little crunch to the texture.
Mr. Andrus – Jimmy John’s #9 on wheat
Mrs. Anderson - My favorite sandwich has to be a "fluffernutter." It has peanut butter and marshmallow fluff together. It tastes wonderful!
Mrs. Konopasek - Turkey Panini!! Yum
|Panera's Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich|
Mr. Kolkman - My favorite sandwich is the “Bacon Turkey Bravo” from Panera Bread. It has smoked turkey breast, bacon, smoked Gouda, lettuce, tomatoes, Panera’s signature dressing, all on Tomato basil bread. Love it!
Mrs. Kolkman - Panera’s Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich! So yum!
Mrs. Luchterhand - Ummm… A turkey and cheese bagel sandwich… Or a turkey (Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey) and lettuce wrap.
Mrs. Patton - My favorite sandwich is a BLT with swiss.
Mrs. Wright - You choose – BLT, Tuna or Peanut butter with grape jelly.
Miss Pollard - My favorite sandwich is the “Bacon avocado chicken sandwich without bacon” from Chili’s. It’s faaaaaaaaaaabulous!
Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.