Sandwich making 101

As everyone heads back to the routines of school and work with the end of summer, I thought it wise to offer some tips on how to make the most of your lunch.

I’m hoping some people who work in sandwich-making places will read this too, as I have had some sad sandwiches in my time and they could have been easily prevented from happening.

Many of us might be down about having to lose the whimsical pace of summer, so let’s work to make sure other parts of our day go smoothly, shall we?

Here are some simple tips for a successful sandwich:

Take your sandwich seriously. If you own or work in a sandwich shop, eat your product and make sure it works. This should be good value food, something you are proud to share with others. If you are making a sandwich just for you, then take a minute to prepare something tasty that you will enjoy, not endure. Even a PB & J deserves a little respect.

If you are taking orders in an establishment that makes sandwiches, please take the order correctly and follow up to ensure it gets made correctly. (Do I sound like a Seinfeld episode?) 

I ordered a vegetarian sandwich on multigrain. My companion ordered turkey on white. I got vegetarian on white, and he got turkey on multigrain. I would have preferred waiting when the person handing over the bag discovered the error rather than eat something I didn’t order.

When including vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes in a sandwich, season with salt and pepper. Even when you’re using the freshest ingredients from your own garden, a touch of seasoning won’t hurt, and with the commercial groceries most establishments use, salt and pepper can be life savers in elevating the taste of the finished product. (See also tip 7 for further notes on these ingredients.)

Remember, not all meats and cheeses are created equally. Choose one that fits the tenor of the rest of your sandwich. Tomatoes and lettuce from the garden deserve something more than a Kraft Single or a slice of processed turkey.

For condiments and spreads, distribute evenly on the bread or wrap. If you’re going to count this item as a component that contributes to the flavour of your sandwich, then you want to taste it with every bite. Don’t be chintzy! (If it’s too expensive to spread all over, then don’t use it; otherwise you’re just teasing, and that’s not fair.) 

Build your sandwich properly so it holds together as you eat it. No one wants salami slapping on their chin, or tomatoes and cheese sliding out the back end on the first bite.

  • The bread or bun needs to hold together, not be so soft that a spread or other moist filling makes it go squishy. If it’s toasted, then don’t wimp out – make it crispy! Otherwise it’s just warm bread. Don’t use anything too crusty though, or you won’t be able to bite through the whole sandwich.
  • Tomatoes, cucumber and other slippery ingredients need to be not-too-thick, or they will slide around too much. Try to put other ingredients in between two slippery ones if you have them.
  • Lettuce works best if it’s in bigger pieces, or entirely shredded. Little torn bits don’t give even distribution.
  • Bigger is not always better. You should be able to fit the entire width of the sandwich in your mouth, so you can taste the whole thing.

Pack your sandwich properly. If you’re not eating a sandwich immediately then this is an important element to enjoying it later.

  • Squishy ingredients are best wrapped separately, to be added just before eating.
  • Bread softens when wrapped, especially with added fillings, so consider that when choosing your bread in the sandwich-making phase.
  • Don’t drop an apple on top of it. If you must pack harder things in with your sandwich, think about a plastic container, or pack those items under the sandwich in your lunchbox or bag.
  • Be food safe. If your sandwich has dairy, meat or fish it should stay as close to fridge temperature as possible until you eat it. Use an insulated container and cold packs if need be.

Now, that’s not so hard, is it?

Trust me, you won’t regret taking a moment to appreciate this simple portable meal. Anyone you make a sandwich for will be grateful you took the time and attention to make it shine.

Show your sandwich some respect and you will feel better about yourself all day.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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