Friday, January 21, 2011

#7 Club Sandwiches

I am beginning to realize that all I post about is food... Is it my own mental preoccupation with all things edible? Or is it because I have only met four real Danes to date - husband's boss and wife, son's to-be daycare provider and supervisor? More on daycare later...

That said, I get a fresh wave of homesickness every time I see my new Danish compatriats take something so quintessentially American and make it their own. Take, for example, the club sandwich. In America, it's been buried deep within strip-mall Friendly's obscurity, moving over to make way for newer fads like low-carb Ceasar wraps and designer salads.

Not so in Denmark! Here, the club sandwich has been elevated to an art form, although, as with all art, one might not recognize it in its artistic state.

For anyone who hasn't seen a real club sandwhich since the early '90's, here's some background reading. A quick consult to Wikipedia confirms my assumption that the defining characteristic of an American club sandwich is its double decker stance, setting it apart from the sandwich pack by its use of three slices of bread. While typically made with turkey as the primary lunch meat, variations have been known to occur such as the "chicken club" or "roast beef club".  The rest of the sandwich reads like a B.L.T. - toasted bread, bacon, lettuce and tomato with mayo as the primary condiment.

In their zest to adopt the club sandwich as their own, Danes seem to have taken quite a bit of artistic liberty. Gone are the double-decker layers hiding a cocktail toothpick waiting to ambush your gums. Banished are soggy, mayo-soaked slices of tasteless white bread. Ditto for underripe tomatoes and wilted iceberg lettuce.
Got caried away before I could take a shot...
Instead, eating a Danish version, one can almost imagine being part of some exclusive club where bread is freshly baked and hand-toasted, where arugula and baby spinach stand at perky attention waiting to lend a crisp hand, where silky smoked salmon sometimes pinch hits for over-processed lunchmeat, where bacon crackles before melting and greasing each bite.

Some examples:
 - Close, but curry?? Marinated chicken breast on toasted bread with crispy bacon, mixed greens and curry dressing

- "New York" style?? - toasted sandwich with chicken, bacon, small crisp lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, sprouts, mayonnaise, homemade guacamole and homemade coleslaw

- An Australian traveler on TripAdvisor noted of his Danish meal, "very good - club sandwich was closer to an open steak sandwich with salad & chips - very filling"

So, like a Picasso or Miró, I may sometimes stand back and scratch my head in wonder at how a sandwich of turkey, arugula and pesto on grilled multi-grain bread can be labeled a "club" but I'm learning to trust my gut and, besides, who am I to judge a master?