The humble sandwich: A final couple of recipes for Vegan MoFo

For this MoFo, I've been using the theme of English dishes, making some forgotten centuries-old recipes and cooking up modern favourites. I was hoping to end MoFo by going out with a bang - making you a gypsy tart or a Sussex pond pudding, but before I knew it, the end of MoFo had snuck up on me. There was no time to wow you with an elaborate dish from my homeland, so I went for possible the most well-known, widespread English dish of them all: the humble sandwich.

The sandwich was named after the fourth Earl of Sandwich (a small town in the county of Kent). Legend has it sometime in the late 18th century, said Earl needed a post-hunting snack (gah) and asked his servants to put some meat (more gah) between bread, and lo, the sandwich was born.

It seems unlikely that no-one in the world ever thought of putting some filling between two bits of bread, but still - the earl got his name attached to the concept of Bread With Stuff In.

Given sarnies are eaten in a million and one forms around the world, I was trying to think of how to make this post a little more English. What's a typical English sandwich?

Apparently, it's this:

Yep, the cucumber sandwich. While to you and me it's a pretty boring creation of a bit of chopped up veg in some pappy white bread, it's apparently an English tradition, doubtless eaten by leisured Victorians that didn't have to work while swanning from one afternoon tea to another.

There's also vast swathes of opinion on how the perfect cucumber sandwich is made - should you salt the cucumber first? What spread should you include, and should it feature on both slices of bread? Should there be salt and pepper shaken on top? (The Victorians clearly had too much time on their hands if this is all they had to worry about!)

But in the interests of MoFo, I thought I'd try and get suitably involved, salting the cuke to get some of the moisture out, putting spread on one side of the bread and mayo on the other, and topping with the faintest mist of white pepper (no salt, that would be quite unthinkable!)

Not a bad sandwich all in all, but given how they're meant to be served as part of afternoon tea over here and afternoon tea always necessitates cake (yay!) they're not hugely exciting on their own.

Anyway, that's how the Victorians rolled when it came to sangers. What about today?

According to whatever loon decided to research this, the favourite sandwich filling in England today is egg salad. It seems unlikely to me, but let's go with it.

It's been a long time since I've eaten an egg salad sarnie, and an even longer time (forever, in fact) since I made a mock egg salad sarnie, so I thought I should definitely give this one a go in the spirit of MoFo exploration.

The recipe I concocted was based on an egg-less sandwich filling in Crazy Sexy Kitchen, using tofu, grated carrot, chopped spring onion, white miso, vegan mayo, mustard, black salt, turmeric, and a little curry powder, all on top of a bit of sliced cucumber (MOAR cucumber! MOAR!) and tomato.

It was really, really good! Much better (and less stinky) than the terrifying egg sarnies I remember as kid. Sometimes, the simplest recipes are the best.

And with that, that's my MoFo done. I've had such a blast reading the torrent of posts from the blogs I've been reading for ages, discovering loads of new ones I wish I'd known about earlier, rediscovering old recipes and making new ones, writing comments and reading them, making food, photographing it and eating it. It's been so much fun - can't wait for the next MoFo already!

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  1. Fantastic end to a really fun theme. Ain't nothin wrong with a sandwich. Have you ever read Woody Allen's history of the Earl of Sandwich? Really funny trial and error piece: http://amkon.net/showthread.php?34058-History-of-the-Sandwich-Woody-Allen

    "In 1741 he places bread on bread with turkey on top. This fails. In 1745 he exhibits bread with turkey on either side. Everyone rejects this except David Hume."

  2. A great ending to a terrific month; congratulations! As for me, I need a break. I can wait patiently for next MoFo :-)

  3. that was an awesome mofo.. so many posts indeed. i like cucumber sandwiches with my tea:) but then I am Indian.. there is a lot of brit influence. though most days mom would serve some spiced sprouts or nuts with tea.

  4. Egg salad is the most popular? Really? That surprises me! But anyway, the vegan egg salad looks great. I was never a big fan of egg, but for some reason I do seem to like most vegan egg recipes.

  5. I absolutely loved your MOFO posts! It was a story and a recipe with each post!

  6. Sandwiches are such a simple but perfect finish to your theme! I would take a vegan egg salad sandwich over a plain cucumber sarnie any day of the week. I've really enjoyed reading your posts this month and learning so much history - congrats on making it through another MoFo!

  7. Great mofo theme and perfect ending. Your take on the cucumber sandwich is a great improvement, but there's something about a cuke and cashew cheese sandwich that is sounding very good to me right now.

  8. This mock egg salad sammie looks delicious! I love your MoFo theme, it's been a blast reading all about the English dishes! You're making me want to go back to the UK especially Manchester!

  9. I've so enjoyed all of your posts this month!! I have a constant longing to return to England, and these posts satisfied those pangs in some small way. Terrific job!

  10. Nice wrap-up, I'd tell you that I loved all your posts but I always love all your posts!
    I've vowed that I would never re-create an egg salad sandwich, the smell of those things still haunts my dreams, but you're actually making me want to, that photo just looks too good.


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