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  • Kelsea Jones

Pandemic Cooking: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich

Sometimes I think I am the only person in my friend group and larger online community who isn't obsessed with baking sourdough bread. I've seen all of the Twitter and Instagram posts of people transforming jars and jars of bubbly stuff into loaves and loaves of rustic bread and dehydrating their starters to send to their friends via the United States Postal Service. Still, I have to confess I have only the faintest idea of what a sourdough starter actually is or how one goes about feeding it. My biggest question about the sourdough craze, though, is what comes of all this bread?

Well, to answer this question, you could check in with the crew at Bon Appétit (honestly, that's your best bet! Run away now!), or you could do what I do: dive into my favorite open resource, The Public Domain Review, to search for old and terrible ways to use up all of that bread you've baked with your sourdough starter.

The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich (1909) by Eva Greene Fuller delivers exactly what it promises: 400 different ways to make a sandwich. Sandwich, though, might be too generous a term for some of the recipes in Fuller's book.

One of Fuller's more mundane offerings is the Banana Sandwich No. 2 (oh, yes, there's more than one banana sandwich in this book). Consisting of bread, butter, mayonnaise, and bananas served on a lettuce leaf, my guess is this sandwich is much less satisfying than Elvis's iconic peanut butter and banana sandwich.

Image text: Banana Sandwich No. 2. On thin slices of lightly buttered white bread spread mayonnaise dressing then add thin slices of bananas; cover with another slice of bread. Serve on a lettuce leaf.
No, thank you. No thank you very much.

In a hefty section of her book titled "Miscellaneous," which more aptly could be called "Recipes-Too-Wild-To-Even-Contemplate-But-Maybe-After-Five-More-Weeks-of-Quarantine-I'll-Come-Around," Fuller proposes the baffling Popcorn Sandwich. In a pandemic pinch, I'm sure you could substitute a can of tuna fish for the five boned sardines and a Kraft single for the Parmesan. Yum.

Image text: Popcorn Sandwich. Pass two cupfuls of freshly popped corn through the meat chopper, place this in the chopping bowl, add a dash of salt and cayenee pepper, five boned sardines, a dash of Worcestershire, and enough tomato catsup to form a paste. Spread this on circles of hot buttered toast. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and crisp in hot oven. Serve as soon as possible.
I don't miss going to the movies this much...yet.

A blessedly simpler alternative to the Popcorn Sandwich is the School Sandwich. This sandwich stands as a gentle reminder that sometimes it's okay to say, "I give up," throw some sugar on a slice of bread, and crawl back into bed.

Image text: School Sandwich. On think slices of lightly buttered white bread, spread brown sugar; cover with another slice of bread and wrap in wax paper.
I give this sandwich an F.

And at last, when the sourdough starter has died, the final loaf of bread has been eaten up, and it feels as if there is nowhere you can turn to for comfort, know that you can always run to the loving arms of the Dairy Sandwich, which is literally two slices of cheese spread with butter.

Image text: Dairy Sandwich. On thin slices of Swiss Cheese, spread fresh butter and put the two slices together.

What have you been cooking during quarantine? I'd love to hear about it! Send stories, recipes, and photos to to be featured in the next edition of Pandemic Cooking.

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