My grandmother judges restaurants on one essential: the quality of the bread. When we go out for a casual meal, the bread basket is immediately attacked upon being set on our table, and before the waiter has finished scribbling our orders, another basket has been requested.
I have many familial associations with bread. Slicing bakery fresh challah on Friday evenings. Carting three dozen bialys out of the city for my father, because New York bialys are the only legitimate kind. Walking to the center of our summer vacation town for morning bagels.
Unsurprisingly, my family’s bread addiction has resulted in a near equal love for sandwiches. The union of good, grainy bread along with millions of flavor combinations – paired with an oversized salad, it is pretty much my ideal meal.
There are some sandwiches I’ll never forget. After a long day wandering what seemed Paris’ entire left bank, my sister and I stood at a counter in the Bastille and shared a warm tomato and basil baguette, topped off with just a touch of mozzarella. We strolled through three arrondissements after cleaning our fingertips in order to return to our hotel, all the while gushing about the brilliance of French food, whether it be elegant dining or counter-style.
And I’ll always remember my first peanut butter and banana sandwich, savored after years without peanut butter in my life. I mashed the banana, added some cinnamon, and grilled the sandwich on the stovetop. It was luscious, gooey, and a testament to health.
I am currently without a loaf of sandwich bread, but it is holding a secure spot at the top of my Monday grocery list.
Do you have a favorite sandwich memory?