I’ve often mocked the idea of the ‘sandwich recipe.’ I mean, you take some food that you like and you put it between slices of bread and that’s really the only recipe you need.
And yet and yet … this hasn’t stopped me forming (even curating) a small collection of sandwich books – many of them American, so there’s a lot of recipes for BLTs, Reubens, Po’boys and so on. And to be fair there is the occasional recipe in these books that I couldn’t imagine inventing, let alone eating, such as, in Sandwich Exotica, ‘the peanut butter-sardine and potato salad-lettuce on rye.”
So when I saw in the local charity shop the Encyclopedia of Sandwichesby Susan Russo, photography by Matt Armendariz, how could I resist buying it?
It’s American again – and contains such gems as how to make a ham sandwich – bread, ham, mustard or mayonnaise. Yes, really.
But hold your horses - there’s a recipe in there for a potato chip sandwich (that’s potato crisps to the British) which the author describes as ‘a crunchy salty guilty pleasure.’ I don’t generally do guilt when it comes to food, but in fact the potato crisp sandwich does strike me as slightly shameful.
But here Susan Russo comes up with a variation I again would never have dreamed of – ‘creamy peanut butter, 2 slices of white bread, 4 to 6 dill pickle chips, a layer of your favorite plain potato chips.’
Well that sounded kind of dubious, so of course I had to make one. I wasn’t sure I’d ever had a dill pickle chip so I used sliced pickle gherkins. And I would probably have used crunchy peanut butter but the recipe called for creamy, so I went with smooth. And I didn't have any acceptable white bread.