November 3

National Sandwich Day

 

“And here, under glass, is a sandwich.”

The tour guide pressed a button which allowed the item to spin on its covered pedestal.  The group gathered closer, everyone angling for the best view.

“This was a popular meal configuration, in the days when we had farming and supermarkets and a global economy.  The food item could be lifted by one or both hands, easily delivered to the mouth.  The top and bottom layers — a spongy yet edible substance made from flour — served to contain, for the most part, the collection of protein and vegetation and sauces within.”

Several listeners groaned, perhaps to cover the rumbles from their stomachs.

“Our particular specimen has a marbled bread, made from a swirled combination of light and dark rye-flour dough.  Inside, the folded over meat protein is stamped-flat sections of processed chicken, speckled and spiced circles of cured meat called salami, and some gray beef slices veined with fat.  Cheese, which is essentially solid dairy mucus, appears in several flat squares — an orange variation designated with the American nationality, and a white hole-punched Swiss variation.”

A few listeners licked their lips.

“There’s a leafy crunch added by a layer of lettuce, a few slices of red and messy tomato, and thin concentric circles of raw onion.  The sauces here are a yellow-orange spread called mustard, and other translucent oils that add shine to the meat and cheese.”

One member of the group raised a hand.

“Let me anticipate,” the guide said. “You’re wondering about the bite mark that’s removed one corner of our sandwich.  Yes, that bite is the reason we now keep the sandwich under glass.  Most people assume the covering is to preserve freshness — that we’ve frozen the foodstuff to maintain its original appearance and flavor.

“But it’s not a real sandwich.  This is an artful simulation fashioned from inedible rubber and plastic.

“The glass covering was added to protect the general public from temptation.  Because, as we learned, everyone’s just too hungry these days.  Some poor soul couldn’t resist taking a bite.”