Michele Humes (I live in New York and I write about food.)

How I Feel About Sandwiches

I don’t like them.

There is only one sandwich in the world that I like, and that is a baguette mortared very generously with liver paté and broken up with cornichons; it should be consumed in France, where they know how to bake bread that does not rough up the roof of your mouth. (I guess I also like the crustless sandwiches with ham and egg served in Hong Kong-style tea cafés. But that is almost not a sandwich to me, since the gooey white stuff on the outside barely counts as bread.)

All other sandwiches range from despicable to just OK. They are never better than OK, because there has never been a time I have tasted a sandwich with a delicious filling–and they exist–whose delicious filling I did not think would benefit immeasurably from being liberated from its bready muffler to hit my palate full-on. If the bread is good, I would happily eat it alongside the filling, but the sandwich’s bread-flanked construction dishonors the exterior and blunts the interior. Liver paté is an exception because it’s so bold and rich that any more than a spoonful or two actually needs some blunting.

So, my argument against encasing a perfectly good filling in bread is more or less the argument put forward by men who don’t want to wear condoms: loss of sensation. Of course, those men typically contract HIV. Thankfully, the stakes are considerably lower with sandwiches.

The other thing that annoys me about sandwiches is when people get really excited about some sandwich purveyor or other. Oh, for crap’s sake: it’s food assembly. They’re basically curating and aggregating cold cuts. Sandwiches are the Huffington Post of cooking.

On Thursday I leave for Southeast Asia, where there are no indigenous sandwiches. I think that’s pretty significant, because anything the Cantonese and the Thais don’t do with their food probably isn’t worth doing.

Well, except cheese-making. That definitely is. I still think a cheese sandwich is a waste of good cheese, though.