Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cookbook Review: The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

Another cute and interesting cookbook from Quirk Books. At first glance I thought "oh great - a sandwich cookbook. I can put anything between two slices of bread and call it a sandwich." But alas, the cynical voice inside my head was quickly brought to heel. And that was just because I read the introduction! Side note - I always read the introduction in a cookbook. It gives you insight you might not necessarily gleam (especially if the cookbook isn't organized properly). Susan Russo obviously loves sandwiches - but not just their construction, their history as well. Right away she tells you how this book is going to be different from the others you've seen - this will be the sandwich book to rule all other sandwich books.

What I found most fascinating about this book was that along with every recipe, the author gave us something juicy to read as well. From discussing the origins of the sandwich in question, or talking about the regional influences that helped bring about something as fascinatingly foreign to Americans as the Chip Butty (I'm not going to deny that I've secretly been craving the Chip Butty since I read about 92 - bread, butter, and hot french fries - is that enough to get your mouth watering?), the book is filled with fascinating information about sandwiches. And why are you reading a cookbook about sandwiches if you don't desperately want to know more about them?

The recipes are to the point - it's hard to screw up a sandwich (I say that, and then watch me try to make the 1950's inspired Sandwich Loaf that resembles a layer cake in sandwich form). They're also approachable, and entertaining. This book delivers on it's promise - the sandwich is "among the most democratic of foods. They're perfect day or night." I can easily remember a time when I've had a sandwich for breakfast, lunch and dinner (not all in the same day, of course). And if you don't want to make a sandwich after flipping through this book, I'll be greatly surprised. Not just because of the read, and the recipes - but because of the drool-inspiring photos of each and every sandwich described in the book (photography by Matt Armendariz). The cookbook in all is lots of fun, and even inspirational - it's time I finally learned to make my own Oyster Po'Boy at home instead of waiting for those rare moments when I see it on a menu somewhere!

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