Sandwich Mechanics: How to Wrippity Wrap

It's been like three days since my last sandwich post, wherein I talked about some bread I was eating. Let's not talk about bread this time. Well, we'll talk about sandwiches, which necessarily involve bread, but what I mean is that we won't talk directly about it. It's implied.

I pack sandwiches every day, rather, every day I'm not too lazy or get up late or haven't done the groceries that week or have unexpectedly expired ingredients... anyway, often. I'm an efficiency nut, so I try to do things cheaply and quickly. By "things", I of course include the act of wrapping my sandwiches.

The pedestrian, unenlightened way to wrap a sandwich is, er, not to--why are you wrapping it anyway? Just stuff it in a Ziploc and be done with it, right? Yeah, you could do that, but if you don't want to be a chump, you can pinch a few pennies1 and have a little fun in the process.

My preferred alternative to the Ziploc is plastic cling wrap. It doesn't matter what kind you get, but, as we'll see, the cutting mechanism on the box can make a difference. I prefer Kirkland Signature Plastic Wrap2, because I'm a Costco junkie.

I've developed a quick and easy procedure to do the wrapping. I imparted this knowledge to some of my friends who came in to visit for PAX, and now it is time to pass it on to you. I hope you'll be as amazed as they were.

The Procedure

First, pull out some plastic wrap onto the counter and use the cutter thingy to cut it. Having a nice clear counter like this is super useful, but I'm sure you can make do with whatever. The sliding cutter on the box is really useful, much better than the serrated blade, because handling plastic wrap without it getting caught on itself is sticky business.

Put the sandwich in the middle of the wrap, length-wise like shown in the picture.

Now grab the top of the wrap and bring it down over the sandwich.

Likewise, grab the bottom and fold it up over the sandwich.

Fold the left side over the sandwich. I find it helps to put my hand in place to have somthing to fold over.

Take the whole sandwich in your hand and fold it to the right, which is equivalent to folding the right side over it. I just find it quicker this way.

Pat down your sandwich to seal the wrapping. Now you've got a happy sandwich, all snug in its plastic home!

1. Actually, if you have good tupperware containers, you could put your sandwiches in those and pinch all the pennies. There are considerations for this too. For example, they take up room in the dishwasher, and maybe you don't want to reuse them without washing them.

Also, you'll want a box that fits the sandwich properly. In particular, it shouldn't be too large or tall, or else the bread might slide around. There's nothing really binding a sandwich together (like cheese binds pizza to some extent), so the container has to preserve the integrity until you're ready to eat.

2. ilovecostco.com has to be the most upper-middle-class-American thing ever to exist... except maybe this blog series itself.


Sandwich Mechanics: Dill Rye

It's time for another episode of Sandwich Mechanics. Last time we spent way too much time talking about what this blog series is. Having invested that time previously, we can skip all that nonsense and talk about some sandwiches. How does that sound?

So I picked up some weird bread the other day at the grocs shop. I usually don't like rye bread, but I'm the only one eating it in sandwiches for the time being, so I figured I'd take advantage of this opportunity to be a bit daring. My principle so far has been to pick out something new that's on sale at Safeway. I saw three or four varieties of rye bread (thanks, Oroweat, for having entirely too many flavors of bread) and decided to grab one pretty much at random.

The flavor I chose this time was Dill Rye. My only real encounter with dill is that my dad would put it in when he made kielbasa and saurkraut, and even then I bet the flavor of the kraut overpowered it, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. "Seasoned bread", I guess.

Well, this Dill Rye is pretty nice, actually. The first thing I noticed when I opened it was an aromatic, savory smell that came off of the bread. Apparently dill has a savory fragrance? My bad; I didn't know! But it smells really nice, and the smell comes through slightly in the taste, even buried under the spreads, meat, and cheese.

Texture wise, this is a relatively tough bread. I don't want to say "tough", though, because that sounds like I'm talking about hardtack or something. What I mean is it's sturdy and not flimsy. I think this is probably a feature of the rye family as a whole, but we'll evaluate that later...

In addition to being sturdy, it is clearly fibrous. That comes through in its low absorbancy. When I spread Miracle Whip on it, almost none soaks in. This is a desirable property, because it means I don't have to spread as much topping for the taste of it to remain intact, as opposed to it being diluted by the bread flavor. I also used it to dip in some soup the other day. It made a pretty good soup vehicle, again due to the low absorbancy.

Since this entire blog series deals in minutiae, it's worth mentioning the packaging and form factor. The loaf comes in a weird kind of "half-loaf", where there's a crust piece on only one side. It's still double-wrapped in the usual Oroweat fashion, but without a twist-tie at the top. Instead, there's a sticker on one end that is used for folding the bag down like a flap and sticking it closed. By the end of the week, the sticker is starting to lose its effectiveness. I'm not a big fan.

Having the half-loaf is actually good, though, since I don't tend to make good use of the end-pieces. The bread itself is shaped kind of oblong. Four slices of bread don't fit on the plate too well, but these things barely matter.

I've been eating it for about a week now, and I have to say it's pretty great. I would get it again!


Sandwich Mechanics: Intro and Potato

Hi there. If you've read any of the posts on this blog, you may know that I do some programming. What you may not know is that I also dabble in cooking... sandwiches. Well, you might say that making sandwiches shouldn't be construed as cooking. You might also be wrong, though, so you should think about that, too.

Actually, no, making sandwiches isn't cooking in my eyes. I believe I've even said it myself. But I think a lot about making sandwiches. No, I don't mean I think, "oh I ought to make a sandwich". I mean that while I'm making sandwiches I think quite a bit about them. If you know me at all, this may come as no surprise to you, but I overthink things a lot.

So I make sandwiches for myself and the wife, and sometimes I make so many of them that I want to write about what I think about when I do so. This is a blog series that will cover all kinds of aspects of sandwich making, from reviews of different breads, to construction techniques, to choices of toppings, and even thoughts on slicing the sandwich.

I like my introductory posts like I like my sandwiches: with some meat in them. Oh, that was bad. Brace yourself; that's just the beginning. So today I will talk about some bread.

Oroweat Country Potato Bread

Oroweat is interesting in that they have like ten million different varieties of bread, all found in my local Safeway. Country Potato Bread is probably the one that we have been buying for the longest. TLDR right up front: it's pretty tasty bread, most people agree.

The packaging on this Oroweat stuff is actually pretty good. They double wrap the bread--once in the usual thin plastic bag with the little plastic holder contraption, and once within using a thicker plastic bag that you have to rip through. It's inconvenient at first, but I'm convinced it extends the life of the bread, so that's okay in my book. I realize there are those like the great philosopher Hedberg who think it's just one more step on the way to toast, but really, I think it has its value.

The bread itself is not too hard. This is important because you don't want to be eating crackers. You want bread. The bread is not incredibly sturdy, but it's not terrible. And the sturdiness is a measure of how the bread holds up when soaked with sauces or spreads. It's definitely not sturdy enough to really take a slice of tomato without some kind of divider or membrane (??) in between, but it won't get soggy and floppy just from some spread.

And the lack of sturdiness means that it can get pretty squashy if you're not careful when transporting the finished sandwich. I've had some comically misshapen sandwiches at lunch a few times. People were all, "What is that?" And I had to patiently tell them that it's a sandwich, god, can't you see that? This isn't a deal-breaker as far as this bread is concerned.

When you're taking it out of the bag, it also has the chance to rip a little. Man, I'm making this bread sound like a wet paper towel. It's not that bad. Just... just, be a little gentle, yanno?

So how does it taste? Tastes like regular white bread, but heartier and with the distinct taste of potatoes. It's a good taste, with a full body behind it. You should definitely give it a try.

I can't believe I wrote five paragraphs about bread. And I'm gonna do it again in a few days.