The historical origins of what’s known today as the sandwich are unclear.
The earliest account of a content-between-two-slices-of-bread creation was from Hillel the Elder, a rabbi in Jerusalem during the first century B.C.E. The Haggadah, which recounts the Passover story at Jewish seders, describes how Hillel put lamb and bitter herbs on matzah.
In the mid-1600s, an Englishman named John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, traveled to Turkey where he encountered flatbreads with fillings, and brought the idea back to England. Montagu’s title has been attached to the dish ever since.
While my capacity as a columnist for the Tufts Daily doesn’t permit me to travel the world in search of its best sandwiches (yet?), it does allow me to eat my way through Tufts’ campus, one sandwich at a time.
This week, I ventured to Hodgdon Food-On-The-Run, Tufts’ on-the-go hub, and tested sandwiches from its lunch menu. For consistency, I ordered all my sandwiches on a multigrain sub roll.
First up was a deli classic, the BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) with mayonnaise.
While Hodge’s rendition was not the best BLT I’ve ever had, it was solid. The bacon was warm, but not quite crispy enough. There was plenty of lettuce and tomato, possibly too much lettuce, and the tomatoes were a little soft.
Typically, I am not a fan of mayonnaise on sandwiches. However, the mayo added an extra element of flavor and made the roll more digestible. A simple crowd-pleaser, Hodge’s BLT could use some work, but it’s far from their worst creation.
I followed up the BLT with the turkey bacon ranch. In order to evenly distribute acronyms, I will dub this sandwich “TBR.” In the sandwich, turkey was joined by white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, red bell peppers and seemingly ranch (any Swifties/NFL fans?).
Originally, I was doubtful of the combination’s harmony, but I was delightfully surprised. The ranch and cheddar formed an interesting, tangy taste, with the familiar flavor of turkey balancing the palate. The bacon, unlike the BLT’s, was cold, but was still not crispy enough for my standards. Like in the BLT, the tomatoes were pulpy. The addition of peppers was a perfect opportunity to add new flavors, but was not capitalized upon. The bland bell peppers felt out of place, and a more flavorful replacement, such as banana peppers, was needed.
While some elements of the sandwich were disappointing, the cheddar-ranch combo was enough to make the TBR a good choice. Swift knew what she was doing.
Lastly, I went down the vegetarian route and ordered Hodge’s caprese sandwich: lettuce, tomato, cheddar and pesto.
The pesto was by far the best part of the sandwich and may be Hodge’s best creation. Any bite without it was lacking. As always, the tomatoes were limp and the lettuce overly abundant. Cheddar was not the best cheese choice, and mozzarella was desperately missed. I was promised a balsamic glaze when I ordered on the mobile app, but, to my disappointment, it was nowhere to be found.
The caprese was the worst sandwich I ordered this week. Most bites felt like I was eating nothing. The pesto was the only saving grace.
As I did last week, I will be concluding with my “gut” reactions:
BLT: A classic, it gets the job done.
TBR: Surprisingly good. The ranch, cheddar and turkey combo is tasty.
Now that we’ve completed our second week as culinary crusaders, I hope I’ve helped you navigate the sandwich seas. Let’s make the Earl proud of our picks. For now, keep munching!