Have you eaten a sandwich today? Odds are you have. Hundreds of millions of people across the globe do every single day. And today that number will rise. Why? Because, sandwich lovers, it’s National Sandwich Day. That’s right. An entire day designated to celebrating the humble sandwich, a simple combination of bread and filling that is satisfying, fast, comforting, and portable.
Everyone loves sandwiches, but Americans are besotted. We love to make them, talk about them, and gaze upon them. Entire books (mine included), televisions shows, and websites have been devoted to them. Why are we so passionate? Because sandwiches typically have deep cultural, ethnic, and geographies roots. Think of the Vietnamese Bahn Mi, the Mexican Torta, and the American ham sandwich. Some sandwiches have become icons of the city from which they emanated. Can you imagine Philadelphia without its cheese steak or New Orleans without its Po ‘Boy?
So on this most glorious of days, make yourself or someone you love a sandwich. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old-fashioned BLT or an upscale Nutella sandwich. If it’s got bread and filling and makes you happy, then it has done its job.
I’ll be having a Sloppy Joe today. Easy to make, economical, and satisfying, Sloppy Joes were the ideal belly-filler during the Great Depression and World War II. And seeing as our current economy isn’t soaring yet, it seems apropos.
This all-American sandwich is fabulously gloppy, so assemble sandwiches only when you’re ready to eat them – wait 10 minutes and you’ll be eating a Soggy Joe instead. Skip the silverware – just a plop a stack of napkins in the center of the table, or better yet, a roll of paper towels. You’ll need them.
The Everyman’s Sandwich
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
½ cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely chopped green pepper
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 ½ to 2 cups tomato sauce (depending on desired sloppiness)
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 hamburger buns or Kaiser rolls
1. Warm olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and peppers and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, or until just tender. Add beef, stirring to break it up. Cook 10 to 12 minutes or until browned. Drain off excess fat.
2. Add remaining ingredients (except buns) and simmer uncovered 15 to 20 minutes, or until mixture is thick and little sloppy but not too soupy. Spoon onto buns and eat immediately.