I eat a lot of bread. Every. single. day. And sometimes numerous times a day if the hunger is upon me (which it invariably is). Wheaty carby doorsteps are for me, the pinnacle of lunch satisfaction and so 99 times out of a 100, come lunchtime, it’s bread or a sandwich or a toastie of some description or ilk. In fact, I love bread so much that if I lived on my own, I would likely live on sandwiches.
Only the fillings would change and possibly the textures.
And yet, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with shop bread, which is to say, bread in a packet. For a start, unless you buy ‘thick’ sliced loaves, the slices are way too thin and so my lunch had been found wanting on thin slice days. And, as we all know, there is hardly anything in this world as hateful as a bad lunch. Maybe cold sores are worse or gout – but apart from cold sores and gout, bad lunches are hateful as be-damned.
Another addition for my starchy receptacle at lunch time and to maximise lunching potential, is crisps. These can take many forms and over the years they have varied from lentil curls to corn snacks to traditional fried potato slices. They usually add extra textural and seasoning dimensions to the bread appreciation; especially if you’re having a sandwich as opposed to a toastie, the crisps bring a decadent crunchy counterpoint.
If you were feeling especially decadent (go crazy!), you could even put the crisps into the sandwich and for the most part, this works fine. So long as you don’t leave your lunch sitting long enough for things to go soggy, crisps inside are the bees’ knees. But still, it’s hard to beat a few on the side for crunching as and when required.
As my grandmother used to say before she passed away, “I seen the day but now it’s night.” In other words and in this case in particular, the days of me having a bag of crisps with my lunch are unfortunately behind me – or almost behind me, if I’m being honest. The rule now (for the betterment of my gut, my jeans and the metal buttons which could fly off at any moment and kill someone stone dead), is that I don’t have crisps when I’m having a toastie. My thinking is: There’s already plenty of crunch in the toasty so I’d be kinda gilding the lilly with crisps.
So far my new rule has worked a treat and I when I’m having a toastie, I don’t miss the crisps one bit. So successful, in fact, was my sans crisps sojourn, that I even tried having a sandwich without crisps. Shocker!
I know, I know… what was I thinking? But it’s not as bad as it looks!
In amongst all my mental wranglings about what to have as a semi-healthy lunch I came up with a new idea. I don’t know if anyone else has ever had this idea before me but I’m going to claim it. I have invented – wait for it – the ‘toastswich’.
Rewind to my earlier gripe about bread slices being too thin and bear in mind that I like a crunch without crisps but at the same time, I want to have a sandwich. I can picture you nodding, dear reader, in my mind’s eye. Mm-hmm, you’ve got it!
My toastswich (I’ll sort out the patent details later this evening) is a mixture of plain bread and toasted bread and it is just the answer when you’re looking for a mild crunch but want to avoid crisps.
What you do is this: Take three (the magic number) of your pathetically thin slices of bread out of the packet and pop one of those into the toaster. Make your sandwich as you normally would (ham and coleslaw and cheese? Or chicken and salad? Or pesto, mozzarella and pineapple? – whatever the case may be) but when it comes to pressing the two halves together, sneak the toasted and buttered slice into the middle.
In effect, this works like a club sandwich except not all the slices are toasted. And best of all, it’s a lunch that isn’t found wanting.
Just to make sure I didn’t fluke the first toastswich, I done another one for the following day’s lunch and then another for the day after that. That week I had a run of three different toastswitches on three different days, and I only finished when I ran out of thin-sliced bread. Probably my favourite of the three combinations was turkey, coleslaw, Emmental, lettuce and a honey-mustard and the addition of the thin buttered slice of toast in the middle has to be experienced to be believed. It’s like a little crunch surprise that you don’t expect but which works wonders for the overall textural appreciation. I’ve tried this Malcolm in the Middle slice with butter, margarine and latterly mayo and you won’t be surprised to hear that real butter works the best. I also find that it’s better toasted and then allowed to cool slightly before buttering. This helps maintain the crunch for when it’s being Malcolm.
I can picture you nodding, dear reader, in my mind’s eye. Mm-hmm, you’ve got it! With a bag of your favourite crisps, the toastswitch is another level entirely.
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