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Sandwich Engineering

One of my favorite sections in the new 365 Engineering Project book (did I mention it’s coming in August 2020!) is Food Engineering – and especially sandwich engineering.  

A lot of planning is needed to make the perfect sandwich.  You need to make sure the bread doesn’t get soggy.  The sandwich can be too big to bite into – and when you do, the tomatoes and other slippery ingredients shouldn’t come sliding out.

When designing the perfect sandwich, here are some questions to consider:

What will you use for the bread, or outside of your sandwich? Will it be wheat, rye or even pumpernickel?  Or are you going to make a tortilla wrap instead of a traditional layered sandwich? The bread gives you something dry to hold on to and protects your hands from the sandwich fillings. John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), a British statesman and notorious gambler, invented the sandwich so he didn’t have to leave the gaming table to eat supper.  

 How will you keep the bread from getting soggy?  Putting a layer of fat, such as mayonnaise, cheese or peanut putter directly on the bread protects it from moisture.

What else will you put inside the sandwich?  The sky’s the limit when it comes to sandwich fillings – meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces, spreads – even sprouts or chips are fair game. However the order you layer the ingredients is crucial.  Like with the bread, you want to keep delicate layers from getting soggy and slipper layers from sliding out.  Creating friction with bumpy or sticky ingredients like lettuce or cheese helps keep everything in place.

So take a look at the cupboard and make a sandwich plan.  What will you put in your sandwich and what order will you layer it?  Make a prototype and take a taste?  Can you change the ingredients or even just their order to make a tastier sandwich?  Make sure to write down the recipe so you can enjoy it again and again!