Sandwich Mechanics: Um, What's Chia?

Welp, that's enough about toppings. Back to basics, and that means bread. This post is dedicated to my good friends CT and COM, who sent me a Christmas card that implored me to write more blogs about sandwiches. But don't worry; if you are tired of bread (how can you make a sandwich without it!?) I have a few other topics coming up eventually. Patience, young sandwhopper.

Let's take it back to that oh-so-familiar bread aisle at Safeway, looking at the wall of Oroweat flavors. What's this? Huh, I see Whole Grain and Chia.. Chia? What the heck is chia? Er, well, okay, let's try it out. Why not, right?

So I took the stuff home and opened it up in preparation for making a sandwich. The Dill Rye taught me to sniff deeply of the flavors, so I did that in this case, too. WOAH! This smells great. It was unmistakeably sweet and aromatic. I made my sandwiches and eagerly awaited lunch.

And as I took that first bite it was there to greet me again, like a wonderful new friend you've just seen for the second time. The bread was tinted with a sweet taste on the back that was enough to make its presence known, but not so much to be sickly or sugary. This is pretty incredible stuff, to have such a distinct flavor that is actually noticeable through all of the other strong flavors I use in my sandwich.

Aside from the distinctive and delicious taste, the other properties of the bread are quite favorable as well. Sometimes whole grain breads tend to be very fibrous and kind of soft, but this stuff was reasonably sturdy. I used it in sandwiches and dipped it in tomato soup--though the sweet taste didn't go very well with it--and its absorbancy is quite good.

It's been a few weeks since I had it, but the crust is not too thick either, if you're one of those people who counts the crust as an unwelcome tagalong for the bread.

But we still haven't answered the mystery: what is chia? Well, let's just look it up here... What's this? Saliva hispanica!? Spanish spit!? Oh wait, it's salvia. Whew. So apparently it's a seed. No wonder I haven't heard of it. Who cares about seeds? I'll say one thing: nice job, chia; you taste pretty pretty great.


Sandwich Mechanics: Cranberry Honey Mustard....!?

Been a little while since I wrote one of these. I've been busy writing a little code and playing some games... but we're putting a stop to all that nonsense right now, because it's time for another Sandwich Mechanics.

I've been doing a lot of bread posts lately, but that stops right now, because I have a story for you gentlemen. Just let me tell you....

So there I was in the grocs shop the other day, buying my usual selection of lunchmeat (probably'll write about that eventually), when I spotted something out of the ordinary. Wait, rewind a second. I also mean we're rewinding the clock back to the week before Thanksgiving, 2011, which is when this is taking place.

So I'm at the deli, totally not buying a turkey, because my in-laws rule at making a turkey, and I'm not old enough to yet. The deli at my Safeway has some neat spreads and sauces for sandwiches laid out nearby, and today they had one right up on the counter, as if it's something special.

Oh wait. Wait a second. What is THIS?? Cranberry. Honey. Mustard. I read it in color too. I read it in dazzling, tangily, zestily imagined color. Be cool, Newt, be cool. I glanced around nonchalantly, and it took a real effort of will not to just grab the bottle right now, like an addict.

So that's my story. THE END.

What, you want to know what it's like? It blends the three flavors together beautifully. It's got that slightly bitter, slightly sour cranberry taste that leads off, and that mingles harmoniously with the sharpness of mustard, but it's all tempered by the honey.

It tints the meat in the sandwich with this really great background flavor, but at the same time doesn't overpower anything. Really, it is a very well done spread. If you can find some (they're still selling it as of this week), at $3 for a bottle, I highly recommend it, especially if you like the flavors it purports to have.

I can't quite find a link to it, but this link to Beano's sauces is the closest I can get.


Sandwich Mechanics: Schwarzwald Dark Rye

November is winding down here, and the smell of baking bread is in the air. Wait, sorry, I meant the smell of store-bought bread that had been baked some time previously is in the air.

The last post, about wrapping a sandwich in plastic wrap, featured the Dill Rye sitting pretty in the pictures. Dill, as opposed to what? you might wonder. I wondered, too, so I bought a different type of rye. There are at least four different kinds of Oroweat1 rye at the store, and this time I decided to give the Schwarzwalder Dark Rye a try instead.

Funny thing, I never even read the word "Schwarzwalder" on the packaging until I was looking it up just now. It just looked like "Dark Rye" to me. But I look again, and there it is! Well, what is a Schwarzwalder, anyway? Apparently, Schwarzwald is the Black Forest region of Germany, so this bread must have originated there. Cool.

So what sort of bread is it? I went into it with high hopes, having just had a very successful encounter with the Dill Rye. I opened the package and inhaled deeply, hoping to catch some fascinating scent to go along with the bread... but nothing. It just smelled like regular rye. Oh well, the Dill Rye was extraordinary in that regard.

To be honest, I didn't think much of this bread. It tasted like rye, but not strongly. Really, it didn't have too much flavor at all. Very bland. Worse still--and this is by far my strongest indictment of it--the texture was like cardboard. It was dry and not very good. The texture and dryness was enough to even make an otherwise enjoyable sandwich with good ingredients noticeably worse. That takes some doing.

I slogged through a week of this bread to give you guys, you fictional readers, the word to heed my warning when it comes to this one. One might also expect that a dry texture would be accompanied by some redeeming qualities like low absorbancy or resilience to soaking, but no, the bread was average in these regards too. This comes after eating it both in sandwiches and as a soup vehicle.

I needn't say too much more about this bread. Just don't bother with it. If you have a hankering for rye, so far the Dill Rye is far superior in every aspect.

1. Oh my god, I've been spelling it Orowheat this whole time, when it's actually Oroweat. You've gotta be kidding me.