November 4

Candy. Club Sandwich

Days Until. . .

Thanksgiving: 20. Christmas: 50. New Year's Eve: 57.

Today's Flavor

This is purportedly National Candy Day. The PMCA, a national association of candy manufacturers, knows nothing about this, so. . . let's also note that this is Good Nutrition Month. The opposing forces battle it out on this day. Feel the strife! ClubSandwichOn a more practical note, this is Club Sandwich Day. As most people know it, a club sandwich is a double-decker sandwich (three slices of toasted bread), interleaved with sliced turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise. It's been popular for at least a hundred years, appearing in a Good Housekeeping cookbook in 1903. For something so simple, the club sandwich has generated a controversy. Was it was originally a double-decker? James Beard and that Good Housekeeping cookbook say no. Beard also insists that the original was made with chicken, not turkey, and that there's enough of a flavor difference there for that to be important. Early recipes also say that the bread should be buttered. The most often-cited origin story is that the club sandwich was invented at a casino resort in Saratoga, New York. If so, then it should always be accompanied by potato chips, which certainly were created in Saratoga. In recent years, many sandwich makers have enhanced the classic recipe or changed it entirely. Martin Wine Cellar's "executive club" sandwich adds grilled ham to the standard ingredients. We've also seen clubs made with many other meats and even such things as soft-shell crabs. One element that never changes: a club sandwich, no matter how creative, always includes bacon. It's a good sandwich, anyway. And it comes with built-in toothpicks.

Gourmet Gazetteer

Fork is a community of country homes--some bordering on estates--in central North Carolina. It's about twenty-five miles southwest of Winston-Salem, in an appealing hilly terrain. The nearest place to eat is the Tar Heel Q, specializing in the unique North Carolina style of barbecue, with open pits and a vinegar-and-mustard-based sauce. If you bring it back to fork, you may not be allowed to eat it with your fingers.

Edible Dictionary

Montmorency, [moh-moh-ranh-SEE], French, adj.--This name is attached to a wide range of dishes that include cherries, including both savory and sweet creations. The most famous is duck Montmorency, in which the duck is seared in a pan in its own fat, then deglazed with cherry brandy (which is sometimes flamed) and cherry juice, finished with stock, and reduced down. Pitted cherries come in at the end. The name is that of a suburb of Paris, where a particular sour cherry grows in enough profusion that many sauces and dishes used them.

Deft Dining Rule #361:

The last bite of a well-made sandwich will still include all of the main ingredients between the bread in the last bite.

The Old Kitchen Sage Sez:

To cook a lot of bacon at one time, lay out the strips on a baking pan (the kind with at least a shallow rim) and put it in the center of a 400-degree oven until browned. You don't need to turn it.

Food Inventions

A patent was issued today in 1879 to Anthony Iske, who invented a meat-slicing machine. Just in time to make the first club sandwiches. It was entirely manual, and it looked something like a French mandolin. I'll bet this thing sliced a few fingers in its time.

The Saints

St. Charles Borromeo is celebrated on this day. Born of Italian nobility in the 1500s, he became one of the most active members of the Roman clergy. He is the patron saint of apple orchards.

Annals Of Wine

pharoahpyramidsThe entrance to the tomb of King Tutankhamen was discovered on this date in 1922. The searchers found many cases of the Pharoah's favorite Champagne, Tuttinger. (Booooo!)

Music To Get Sweet By

Sugar Shack, by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs, hit Number One on this date in 1963. Gilmer later had a hit with a very different sound on Bottle of Wine.

Food Namesakes

On this day in 1873, Dr. John Beers patented the first gold crown for badly decayed teeth. . . Speaking of beers: today is the birthday, in 1923, of Alfred Heineken, who built up his family's brewery to world prominence. . . Dick Groat was born in 1930 on this date. I remember him. He was a shortstop for the Pirates when I was a kid. I had his baseball card. The word "groat" means a tiny morsel of grain. The words "grits" comes from the same root and, of course, means the same thing.

Words To Eat By

"[The club sandwich] is one of the great sandwiches of all time and has swept its way around the world after an American beginning. Nowadays the sandwich is bastardized because it is usually made as a three-decker, which is not authentic. Whoever started that horror should be forced to eat three-deckers three times a day the rest of his life.--James Beard. He must have suffered from clubsandwichophobia: the fear that you will bite down on one of those wooden spears if you're not really careful.

Words To Drink By

"My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars, and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them."--Winston Churchill.