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Vegan Mofo day 5 - the best sandwich is a crisp sandwich

Today is a guest post from.... drum roll please... Mr Flicking the Vs, on the subject of his favourite sandwich - the crisp sandwich.

Before I launch into my sweaty love letter to crisp sandwiches, bear with me a little.

In 2014, Brazilian engineer Gileno Viera da Rocha survived on a diet of wasps and insects for 12 days when he rather stupidly walked into the Amazon rainforest alone and promptly got lost.

When Joey and I spent six months casually stomping through the jungles of Central America in 2011, we survived on little more than a diet of crisp sandwiches. To the average Channel 5 viewer/programme subject, this probably sounds normal, pleasurable even.

Well, it wasn’t entirely. In this instance it was a matter of survival.

Veganism in Central America is as well understood as string theory. Blessed rescue came in the form of sickly-sweet tasting 'bread' (think that weird pappy stuff inexplicably popular in mainland Europe.) and spicy cassava chips. Every morning before heading off to the nearest volcano, cenote or Mayan citadel we packed whatever bread we could and a 150g bag of cassava chips (and a bit of fruit) to keep us out of the international news headlines. What were these crisp sarnies like? To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee: "Well, you can live on it. But it tastes like shit."

For the record, I bloody love crisp sandwiches. Channel 5 viewers are right, they are sheer NHS-bothering pleasure. I've always eaten them, right from my earliest memories of watching wrestling on ITV at Saturday lunchtime in the 1980s.  When I was younger, I even thought that I’d invented them. But Central America's bread just isn't up to the task of playing best supporting role to crisps' star turn.

I've experimented with pretty much every combination of bread type, crisp brand, flavour and spread. So, you’re a crisp sandwich virgin and want the old soak’s advice on where to start? I’ll put it this way. If I ever accidentally murder someone in Texas and I’m caught and lined up for the Chair, then my last meal would be a crisp sarnie. To be very specific, it would comprise doorstep-thick slices of freshly baked granary bread bursting with three-quarters of a pack of salt and vinegar McCoys. A 3mm layer of Vitalite is the only lubrication you need for this caustic carb combo.

I have some joint second choices, in case they’ve all sold out. A large crusty white cob stuffed with one pack of picked onion Space Raiders works (be sure to scoop out half of the bread to make room). Sainsbury’s salt ‘n’ vinegar Chipsticks between two slices of own-brand white medium sliced bread is a perfect complement to watching Judge Rinder. And the versatile McCoys ready salted pretty much go with anything (except sweet tasting bread).

These are just a few options. The mathematicians out there will be able to calculate the thousands of possible permutations of bread type, crisp brand and flavour. But trust me, I’ve tried enough combinations to know best. And in case you ever doubt my expert advice never forget that I invented the crisp sandwich and that it really did save my life.

Joey back again...

For your sandwich eating pleasure, I have compiled a list of the five best crisps you can put in a crisp sandwich.

McCoys' salt and vinegar
A substantial sandwich filling and one to give your jaw a workout. The salt and vinegar tang will make you glad to be alive and wonder if you should name your first born McCoy. 

Bacon crispies
The generic supermarket version of Frazzles - Tesco's Bacon crispies are vegan-friendly - makes a grand filling for you sandwich. The paprika heat of the crisp snuggles up to the soft bland bread in a most delightful way.

Cassava crisps
Here's a similar Romeo and Juliet romance between foods, only without the sad ending. The almost razor-sharp cassava chips are cosseted in the bread for an intriguing bite. Plus, you can have the salted version or chilli, depending on whether you're feeling more Rambo or Bambi.

Salt and vinegar crunchy sticks
Another crisp filling where hitting the supermarket own-brand is a winner - Sainsbury's salt and vinegar chipsticks are just the vegan ticket. The way they crumble beneath your molars makes you feel like a vegan superhero.

Walkers prawn cocktail
Perplexingly, Walkers' only vegan flavour apart from ready salted, but it's still a palette-rocking treat. (Update: this last sentence is complete cobblers - check out Vegan Womble's comprehensive list here.)

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  1. An inspired choice! Love it!

  2. What a fun post! I haven't put crisps on my sandwiches since I was a child, but clearly I should revisit it. BTW, I learned recently that even though Texas gets top billing where executions are concerned, they no longer give inmates a requested last meal. The death row inmates get whatever the prison is serving that day like anyone else. Luckily, you may still be able to make it happen in this gruesome scenario with a trip to the vending machine. ;)

  3. It took me several minutes to remember that you all say crisps and we say potato chips. When I was in the U.K., I lived off Walker's potato chips. I was vegetarian then, not vegan so I didn't realize they only had one vegan flavor. I've never had just crisps on my sandwich, but I have something to try!

  4. OMG! I'm so glad you did this. I am such a fan of the old chip sandwich. I have a survival story too (though perhaps more choice oriented than complete survival, haha). A while back, my boyfriend and I spent some time squatting and we were living in the attic of this empty building. We had no power, cooking facilities, etc so we ate heaps of chip sandwiches. We had fancier ones with chutneys and relishes, and we dreamed of making a chip sandwich for every country (Mexico - corn chips, salsa; Germany - chips and sauerkraut, etc) Nothing beats a chip sandwich!

  5. oh I miss the mccoys crisps though I probably ate my fair share of them when I lived in the UK - and I agree with you that crisp sandwiches are da bomb - though the bread has to be fresh and soft

  6. You can't beat a good crisp buttie! I grew up adding them to sarnies and am a big fan of Space Raiders in bread. My dad also used to give my sister and I the sweet version -two slices of bread stuffed with custard creams!

  7. Oh how did I forget about this, yes i love crisp sandwich too, but I love it in a soft roll - I used to be guilty of eating it for breakfast many years ago, and oh in my student days too - its been a while since i have had one and now, now you make me want one - bad you - not good you for reminding me of what i had forgotten about - guilty pleasures

  8. I love chip butties...but have never pondered the enormous possibilities in the world of crisp butties...salt and vinegar would surely be my fav, followed by prawn cocktail in a close second.

  9. WTF! Now I feel like the only person that hasn't eaten crisps/chips in a sandwich! Here I am silently thinking chipwiches are sooo weird and find myself on the opposite side of the fence... Is this why little bags of chips often accompany sandwiches?! So people can make their own? Well if I'm going to broaden my sandwich horizons I appreciate your crisp tasting menu ;)

  10. I used to always put crisps on sandwiches with other things, but they were never the star. It sounds oddly intriguing.

  11. Haha, love this! When I was a child I used to always put Doritos on my sandwiches but everyone thought I was mad! (It was tasty though!)


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