Today marks the start of British Sandwich Week. That’s right, an entire week dedicated to sandwiches!
I don’t know why I was surprised when I discovered this, as there seems to be a day, week or month celebrating almost anything you can think of.
Now of course the trusty sandwich needs no introduction, however here are a few facts courtesy of the British Sandwich Week website that you may not know:
- The Sandwich is Britain’s favourite “food to go”
- In Britain, we eat over 11.5 billion sandwiches each year – more than half of these are made and eaten at home
- Tesco is the UK retailer that sells the most sandwiches (probably because there are everywhere)
- In the UK, the sandwich industry employs over 300,000 people
- Paninis are becoming more popular with their sales increasing by 14% in major retailers
Although this is British Sandwich Week, sandwiches are eaten around the world in some shape or form. The fillings often vary from country to country, however the concept is the same – some type of bread filled with something.
Some say that sandwiches are a boring, lazy lunch but I disagree.
Depending on the bread you have, it is true that a sandwich can leave you feeling rather lazy after you’ve eaten it, however with the variety of bread and filling options available, they are far from a boring option. In fact, you could probably make a different sandwich for every day of the year!
You’ve got fresh bread in all it’s varieties, most of which can be bought fresh or packaged, such as the loaf, baguette, focaccia, ciabatta, pitta, bagels, croissants, wraps, brioche and English muffins – to name but a few.
Then you have different flours for each type of bread – white, brown, wholemeal, “best of both”, rye and gluten-free.
And of course no sandwich is complete without the filling.
In the UK, chicken is the most popular filling in commercially made sandwiches, followed by cheese then ham.
There is no limit to what you can put in a sandwich. Some prefer to keep it simple with jam, a slice of cheese or an Aussie favourite, vegemite.
Here in the UK, you have the trusted favourites such as the BLT, ploughmans, egg mayonaise and tuna mayo.
As well as, the bacon sarnie (a breakfast fav), the chip butty (or chips in pitta at the end of the night for those of us that don’t eat kebabs) and cheese on toast (which isn’t technically a sandwich, but is definitely a favourite for many).
And that’s another great thing about sandwiches, although most are eaten in the warmer weather, they can also be toasted which makes them just as good for the colder, wet months – which in the UK seems to be most of the year!
So what makes a good sarnie?
For me it starts with the bread.
Although I try to avoid bread these days, if I am going to have a sandwich, I opt for a wrap or pitta and always try to go for a wholemeal or rye flour combination.
However, for me the best sandwich is made with freshly baked white bread, smothered with butter.
These days my fillings normally consist of a combination of avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, falafel or some type of fish (as I still eat fish from time to time).
But I’d have to say that my favourite sandwich is a fish finger sandwich – with ketchup, not tartar sauce of course!
Sandwich filling inspiration for veggies
There are too many sandwich fillings for me to list them all here, and let’s be honest, you can fill a sandwich with pretty much anything that takes your fancy.
However, as a veggie, who follows a mainly plant-based diet, I thought it would be helpful to share some alternative sandwich ideas, because buying sandwiches at major retailers is practically impossible. And off the top of my head, I can’t think of any that cater for vegans, because for starters most sandwiches on sale contain butter or margarine.
The veggie options are normally variations of a cheese or egg filling and almost always contain mayonnaise. Some major retailers now offer falafel or avocado with some type of salad – but not in all of their stores.
So if you’re following a plant-based diet, the reality is that you don’t get the complete “convenience” factor of a sandwich, however all is not lost if you fancy one as you can still make your own, and here is some inspiration to get to started:
- The ‘ALT’ (Avocado, lettuce and tomato) + 4 other filling ideas
- The ‘Club’ (a variation of the ALT)
- Lentil and chickpea
- Asian-flavored quinoa wraps
- Hummus, avocado and baby spinach
- Falafel spice lentil
- The ultimate veggie or you may prefer a grilled vegetable wrap