The summers of 2007 and 2008 were some of my favorite. Essentially they were the summers before I had to actually find a proper job. So these summers I was running one of my local rowing clubs as a coach. If you ever get into rowing, you discover that it is a very early morning sport, as well as a afternoon evening sport. So I had a need for a quick, cheap and filling lunch. By fluke one day walking through my local Sobeys (grocery store) bought a sandwich.
A ‘sandwich??!!’ I hear you say ‘so what??’.
Well, if you’ve ever visited the UK you know that they spoiled for choice in terms of prepared sandwiches. Light years ahead of most other countries. The first ‘restaurant’ I ordered food in from the UK just specialises in ready sandwiches (hello PRET).
In Nova Scotia, if you go to a grocery store to buy a sandwich you will discover they are both barren in their selection and at an eye-watering price point. Pushing the culinary envelope they are not, just some meat (ham or beef) in an overly soft roll layered with mayo and iceberg lettuce. Unsurprisingly, there just isn’t a big culture of buying sandwiches to eat later. If you want a sandwich you make it yourself or go sit down in a restaurant.
So, that fateful day as I walked into Sobeys I discovered what would become my summer work lunch of choice. A Dagwood sandwich. Made popular by the cartoon strip Blondie, it is essentially a sandwich which aspires vertically. Layers of cheese, meat, tomatoes, lettuce and anything else you might want to add.
As luck would have it, we are having a minor heatwave here in the UK, and it seemed like an ideal time to recreate some memories of my summers of years gone past. I ventured to the deli counter, and received a bemused look from the counter attendance and my clear excitement in coldcuts. Some wafer thin smoked ham, chicken breast, roast beef, mortadella and slices of lovely nutty emmental. Plus a few sundried tomatoes to mix with a mayo.
Back home a loaf of bread was hollowed out and spread with sundried tomato mayo. Then the layers are added: cheese followed by the meats, slices of tomato and some crunchy lettuce. Finally its all topped some more mayo (now with added mustard) and the top of the loaf. In the fridge for 30min to cool the whole thing down, and it’s ready to eat.
That is my summer Dagwood sandwich.