Club Sandwiches

Kristin Devine

Kristin has humbly retired as Ordinary Times' friendly neighborhood political whipping girl to focus on culture and gender issues. She lives in a wildlife refuge in rural Washington state with too many children and way too many animals. There's also a blog which most people would very much disapprove of

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96 Responses

  1. I love this post so much, I can even overlook and forgive the heretical mayo opinions. I laughed more than once out loud. Very well done, Kristin, and the perfect post after weeks of very heavy topics. More of this.Report

  2. Michael Cain says:

    Wikipedia has a good summary of the Hellmann’s and Best Foods mayonnaise history. Both are currently owned by the same company, produced in the same factories, using the same ingredients. Reportedly the proportions of the ingredients are very slightly different.Report

  3. Pinky says:

    A club sandwich on two pieces of bread? Is this a parody article or something?Report

  4. KenB says:

    You can line this pan with tin foil for easier cleanup but I usually don’t bother and end up scrubbing the pan for an hour afterwards, wondering why I didn’t.

    Samesies. Well, except that as often as not, it’s my wife scrubbing and wondering why I didn’t use foil, and the wondering is done out loud and with just a hint of impending violence.Report

  5. Burt Likko says:

    1. Avocados: I have a lot of opinions about this most noble and savory fruit. To address the concern in the OP about fruit wastage: 1) be careful selecting the fruit at the grocery; avoid bruising (which you may have to feel for) and stem rot; 2) since your grocery probably sells you under-ripened fruit, try to set up a cascade of fruit that will ripen, one day after the other, so you can use a newly-ripened fruit every day; and 3) the paper bag trick really works, but check the fruit inside the bag every day and use it the day it just starts to give when you squeeze it. I’ve heard that some people microwave an under-ripe avocado to “ripen” it which is lunacy: do not do this please.

    2. A club sandwich has three layers of toasted bread. What’s the difference between a two-slice “club” sandwich and a simple turkey-and-bacon? None. The third slice of bread is the very hallmark of a club. I agree the frilly toothpicks are dispensable (at home) but the whole point is that third slice of tummy-filling toasted bread in the middle.

    3. Thousand island instead of mayonnaise? You’ve made all the hairs on my back stand up straight in barely-controlled outrage. Seriously, I’m a steaming cauldron of ill-contained anger over here, ready to boil over into a rant. This is a blasphemy the sort of which nearly rent the Byzantine Empire in twain, and I dearly hope we shall not again encounter this perversion or its like in word here either spoken or writ.

    4. Notwithstanding my quibbles, I very much enjoyed this piece! Like many others here, I salivate with anticipation of the next step on your #SandwichTrek, @kristin-devine!Report

    • atomickristin in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I have an avocado handicap in that I only buy them when they are dramatically marked off (and I mean DRAMATICALLY) so it is probably my own fault when I end up with a bad one. “How can this be brown already? I want my .37 cents back!”

      You will never get me to eat that third piece of bread. Ever. There are children starving who need that extraneous piece of bread. I often put mine in an envelope and just write “Starving Children” on the outside. I assume the Post Office knows what to do with that.

      Hmm. Methinks Burt Likko doth protest too much. You’re eating Thousand Island right now, aren’t you?Report

      • Never. NE-VER.

        Lips that touch thousand island dressing … well, I suppose they can touch mine, at some point, but I’d rather the owner of said lips brush her teeth after partaking of the foul orange stuff.Report

        • Reformed Republican in reply to Burt Likko says:

          Unless it is on a Reuben.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to Burt Likko says:

          I like it on an actual salad about once every 5 years. On a sandwich it is way too over-powering, hence why I ask for mustard on a Reuben.Report

          • atomickristin in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

            You guys got me thinking about this whole Thousand Island conundrum.

            There’s an entire swath of Western states where variants of Thousand Island are a pretty big thing. Mixing ketchup and tartar, Utah fry sauce – those things I would really consider to be a regional cuisine of the Northwest and Intermountain West. Definitely something that feels really widespread to me having grown up with it my whole life! I betcha I eat some sort of variation on Thousand Island weekly and I’m actually surprised it seems so unusual! But that’s why it’s fun to talk about, to learn how everyone does it just a little differently.Report

            • Mike Dwyer in reply to atomickristin says:

              The thousand island I am used to has than tangy element, plus the pickle relish. I love pickles but it’s also why I don’t like tartar sauce. Too over-powering. Mayo mixed with ketchup is fine. I think that’s the normal sauce on a patty melt, right?Report

  6. Saul Degraw says:

    I object to Thousand Island and Mayo as things of the devil.

    I’ve never been much for dressings like that. Not even Ranch. When I do salads, I prefer to dress them in salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon or lime juice (no vinegar). For sandwiches, a Cubano is the rulling sandwich followed by Pastrami on Rye with mustard.Report

  7. Reformed Republican says:

    Is Miracle Whip an acceptable substitute for mayo?Report

  8. Em Carpenter says:

    I do love a good club sandwich! No tomato though, because gross, and I don’t care what brand of mayo is used. And yes, three slices of bread, or GTFO.
    This fun (and useful! I’m gonna make that bread) post inspires me to wax poetic about my favorite sandwich, which I just ate for lunch, with gusto:
    The French Dip.
    Soooo good. The cheese must be ample and melty (I like provolone), and there must be horseradish sauce slathered on to really good, hearty hoagie roll. Quality beef is also key, no disappointing gristly, fatty slices. Take that deliciousness and dip it into the most important part, the au jus, which cannot be vaguely beef flavored water; it needs that good beefy, salty flavor.
    The one I just ate hit the marks perfectly.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Em Carpenter says:

      I don’t like store-bought tomatoes on sandwiches. Doesn’t matter what kind, what time of year. Tomatoes from grocery stores don’t taste like tomatoes and they’re usually kind of pulpy.

      Tomatoes from someone’s garden – that’s a whole different thing. I’ll put those on just about any kind of sandwich. Given real garden tomatoes, one of my favourite sandwiches is peanut butter and tomato. Awwww yeah.Report

    • atomickristin in reply to Em Carpenter says:

      Oh I have a whole repertoire of French Dip recipes (The French Drip! The French Glop! The Italian Dip!) up my sleeve still. One of my faves too – I like French Dips wayyyy better than Clubs.Report

    • I did not realize before this comment that Em and I are soul mates. This is all completely true.

      Burt once took me to a place in LA that serves the platonic ideal of the French Dip . There wasn’t one bite of it that was gristly or extra-chewy.Report

    • Have you ever had Italian beef sandwiches? I’d never heard of them until I moved to Big City, but I love them. They’re kind of like French dip, but kind of not.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to gabriel conroy says:

        Growing up in Chicago the Italian Beef was just a thing I took for granted… like air. Having moved, I can’t understand why I can’t get a decent Italian Beef anywhere else… there are Italians and there is Beef… but Italian Beef exists only in Chicago. Like Pizza.Report

  9. dragonfrog says:

    Nothing wrong with microwaving bacon.

    You know how, when you bake the bacon, you put tinfoil under the bacon or find yourself wishing you had? When you microwave it, put a piece of paper towel on top of the bacon or find yourself wishing you had. Same deal.

    I mean, if it’s cold and you want to warm up the kitchen and have half an hour to kill, sure, bake the bacon in the oven. If you just want evenly cooked crisp bacon with the minimal amount of time and fuss, microwave it.

    Also, mayonnaise. Apparently mildly felt opinions on mayonnaise are rare – you either love it enough to stand up for it in a fistfight, or you hate it enough to throw it out the window even if you can’t get the window open first.

    I used to be firmly in the latter camp. I am going soft in my old age or something, as I’ll now eat it without distaste, should someone put it on a sandwich for me. I can even put it on a sandwich I’m making for someone else without feeling revulsion. I’m still not going to put it on my own sandwich though.Report

    • atomickristin in reply to dragonfrog says:

      I have a weird dilemma with microwave bacon. I have solar power and our microwave sucks power like a Marvel comics villain so it’s actually easier and more economical for me most of the time, to use the oven (which is propane). And for me even with the paper towel trick the grease seems to get everywhere. :/

      I am both intrigued and repulsed by your peanut butter and bacon concept.

      My mom’s go-to summer salad consisted of garden tomatoes slathered with…Miracle Whip.Report

      • dragonfrog in reply to atomickristin says:

        I never did get into peanut butter as an accompaniment to sweet things – PB & J, PB & honey, etc. PB on celery (i.e. the log, with or without the ants) is nice. PB in savory peanut sauces is nice.

        I don’t get the PB that has added in it – just the kind that’s ground up roasted peanuts, with or without salt. Sweetened PB might not go well with tomatoes.

        (EDIT: was that a typo on your part? I didn’t suggest PB and bacon. I can see how it might be good, but it wasn’t my suggestion. PB and tomato is one of my favourites).Report

        • Recently I was in a position to overhear my daughter explaining to granddaughter #1, “It’s very nice that you want to make grandpa a peanut-butter sandwich for lunch, but grandpa doesn’t like peanut butter. He’s never liked peanut butter.” Pause for a question I couldn’t hear. “No, grandpa doesn’t like peanut-butter cookies.” Another pause. “No, grandpa doesn’t like Reese’s Pieces. How about if we make him a nice tuna-fish sandwich instead?”Report

        • atomickristin in reply to dragonfrog says:

          Yes, it totally was a typo, because I’ve been reading about tons of sandwiches and PB and bacon is A Thing. Intrigued by PB and tomato, I meant to say.

          Check out this monstrosity

          • Mike Dwyer in reply to atomickristin says:

            The ‘official’ Elvis Sandwich is bread, PB, banana and bacon and then grilled like a grilled cheese. We made them once at our house and it was both delicious and horrifying.Report

    • atomickristin in reply to j r says:

      When I was going over my notes for my hopefully-next article I realized I had left out the chips in the middle of the sandwich in this!! Definitely a prerequisite of the Club Sandwich Club.

      Everybody, put chips in the middle of your sandwich triangles!

      And thank you, that was hilarious!Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to j r says:

      There is (I am not making this up) a source file where I work with the comment:

      We used to keep an index for this data. We still do, but we used to too.


  10. Fun post, thanks.

    Being more science-y baking generally yields better to exactitude than, broadly construed, cooking. So I generally think of savory recipes more as method than precise amounts of this and that. Past experience suggests that anytime anyone says to me, “this is THE way to make this dish” I’m likely to disagree, at least in principal.

    So my quibbles:

    If you’re going to make bread, by all means make you own, glorious mayo!

    About bread… since it is baking, it is quite amenable to exact proportions – just not volume, but by weight. If in the process of making bread your usual way you weigh you ingredients, and write down the results, you will have a completely reliable recipe for future use. For elaboration, check out Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Bread Bible.

    Three slices of bread, obviously!

    If we’re making our bread AND mayo, looing for perfection, then yes by all means just picked garden tomatoes, preferably Brandywines! A bit messy maybe, but the taste!Report

    • atomickristin in reply to Atomic Geography says:

      I know people always tell me “weigh your flour if serious about bread” and I’m like “what if you’re serious about bread, but are also lazy?”

      Thanks for reading and for the tips!Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Atomic Geography says:

      But but but – baking recipes are not portable.

      The folks who write the Joy of Cooking, for example, live in New England, where it’s pretty humid. We live in northern Alberta, where it’s very dry. Any time a recipe in the Joy of Cooking calls for making dough, we need significantly more liquid than they suggest.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Baking can be challenging because of this. You have to learn by feel. I still haven’t got there but my mom can totally judge how much flour bread needs based on how it “feels.”

        Also, I have seen many people advocate weighing flour rather than using a measuring cup. I have a small balance but weighing flour is also messy when you’re clumsy like I am.Report

        • atomickristin in reply to fillyjonk says:

          Yes the mess factor definitely plays into it for me, too. Bread can be quite messy as it is and I picture myself with flour a flying.

          Interestingly, there’s a not-small group of women out there who in addition to all the stated concerns above, can’t have scales in their house due to recovering from eating disorders (not me, clients). It’s a trigger for them. I actually discourage women from having food scales because I’ve seen so many people who are totally hung up on weighing their food. Since I have a daughter who already seems concerned about weight and overeating at the age of 6 (thanks PBS kids) I’d prob. forgo it for that reason alone.Report

      • Yeah, lack of humidity and altitude. I live outside Denver. Not all stuff rises the same way it does at sea level. And water boils at 203 °F, which is enough to make a bit of a difference.Report

      • atomickristin in reply to dragonfrog says:

        Yeah, see that’s where I think my hang up is. I actually like learning new kitcheny things, but breadmaking is so much of a “by feel” thing that I’m not sure learning to weigh is worth my time because it’s so dry here in the summer but then it rains in the spring and fall but then in then in the winter we make fires and it’s dry again. It actually does really affect the end result with the bread. I’m used to just scooping little by little till the dough looks right.Report

        • Bread making by hand, more than just about any other form of cooking, is very sensual. I would never want to loose that. That’s how I made bread for 25 years. But once I tried weighing I found the control over the process, and the ability to produce various effects fairly easily quite worth the minor sensual loss. After all. I eschew mixers, use a big spoon until its unwieldly, and then dive in and finish the mixing and move to the kneading by hand. Just as weighing is more accurate and efficient, so is using a mixer. But only physical infirmity will make me get a Kitchen Aid.

          There can be great value in doing thigs the way you’ve always done them. I get that. That pleasure is its own reward and well worth a level of cost.

          But I’ve been weighing bread ingredients for over 15 years and the variations from oppressive summer humidity to the bone dry interior conditions of the heating season make no difference to how well it works.

          Do what makes you happy. Back in the day, Barbara taught me how to make Barbara’s Good Bread, a flexible process that worked for us for a long time. But once I wanted to expand my bread horizons, the control and reproducibility weighing allows became irresistible,Report

  11. Mike Dwyer says:

    Loved this post Kristin and also thank you from me for something light-hearted after the last couple of weeks. I don’t have strong feelings on club sandwiches. They are delicious and I would never turn one down if given to me, but I never order them either. My wife does though and i will be sharing this with her tonight.

    On mayo – my two favorites are Duke’s and Kewpie but I have recently started using Hellman’s Vegan mayo when I cook for my daughter and it actually has a good tangy taste. I really like it in potato salad.

    Can’t wait to see the next post in this series!Report

  12. fillyjonk says:

    Am slightly sad no one has weighed in on the clear superiority of Duke’s mayonnaise. (AKA The South’s Own Mayo).

    I am a Damn Yankee (and my voice will never lose its northern burr, and I cannot get used to the concept of “you rag on someone when you like them”) and even I recognize that Duke’s is better than Hellmann’s. I ate Hellmann’s (well, when I was eating mayonnaise – I was a picky child) for the first 30-odd years of my life, but when a Southern Living article praised Duke’s, I was like, “no, it can’t be that great” and bought a jar to try.

    It is that great. I would even bother to make my own pimiento cheese if I could use Duke’s in it.Report

    • Mike Dwyer in reply to fillyjonk says:

      See my comment below. If it’s a sandwich where the mayo really needs to shine, I will only use Duke’s. A summer tomato sandwich without it is just wrong.

      And “you rag on someone when you like them”… I was involved with a year-long project in New Hampshire a few years ago, and one the our local employees asked me why the guys from Kentucky were so mean to each other. When I explained we were actually all good friends they were perplexed. Prior to that, I thought northerners invented breaking each other’s balls.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

        I don’t know about Northeasterners, but it’s not something Midwesterners do.

        Also, growing up as a bullied kid, someone busting my chops makes me immediately go into defensive mode. My colleagues learned this fast and quit doing it, but sometimes people that don’t know me well still do.Report

        • Mike Dwyer in reply to fillyjonk says:

          I could see that. Louisville is situated in such a weird place geographically and culturally that we get a lot of midwestern influences. That midwesterner tendency to not hurt people’s feelings is pretty strong, but I guess we make an exception for razzing our friends.Report

        • atomickristin in reply to fillyjonk says:

          Yep, you never leave that behind.

          Something someone told me once that has never left me is “If you meet a defensive person, remember they got that way because at some point in their life, they were attacked”. And it’s totally true.Report

          • Yeah, I once had a colleague say something, and then immediately looked at me and said, “Oh, sh*t, I’m sorry, that was one of your things, wasn’t it?” and I was like “yeah, but you apologized, so we’re cool.”

            I’m slowly getting better at not curling up like a sea anemone that’s been poked when someone teases me, but when I’m not in a strong place mentally, I still sometimes revert.Report

            • atomickristin in reply to fillyjonk says:

              It’s good that the people around you understand that. I totally relate to the sea anemone analogy – it’s as if my vocal cords and even brain cease to function when people yell or get weird with the teasing. Really kind of a handicap when dealing with difficult people because all they have to do is start yelling and that’s the end of that.Report

    • atomickristin in reply to fillyjonk says:

      I had literally never heard of Dukes until maybe 2 weeks ago, believe it or not. I am gonna have to give that a go.

      Now pimiento cheese is AWESOME. My mom put Miracle Whip in that too.Report

  13. jason says:

    While I like the tradition of the third piece of bread in a club sandwich, I also dislike sandwiches that are too big to eat like sandwiches (I feel the same way about burgers, too). Smooshing it down is too much work for me, and I don’t think eating food should be work. I rarely eat crabs legs because of this principle; they’re good, but I’m not sure that they’re worth the work. I first started cooking because when I complained about the house burgers my mom made, she told me, “If you don’t like them, make your own.” So I did.
    And I love sandwiches. I’ll get a club now and then, especially since they’re relatively simple sandwiches without an overload of ingredients. The Italian grinders we serve here (alas, no Italian beef) are great simple sandwiches: spicy sausage, mustard, shredded lettuce, and your choice of cheese(s).Report