This is a story about my favorite sandwich. You can find the best kind in any box in the United Kingdom.
I stand in front of the open cooler, ankles pursed together, hands in the pockets of my red woolen coat. The boxes ware stacked so perfectly. I can’t help but wonder, did the staff receive tutorials on product placement during training?
It must be, that if something so mundane as a sandwich is displayed in such a smooth, geometric fashion, it makes it more appealing to consumers and therefore, I contemplate, the odds of a purchase are greater.
There are more varieties of sandwiches than I have ever seen before. Some elements, I am familiar with – sandwiches with ham, sandwiches with turkey, sandwiches with mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce and tomato. Except there were no predictable “baloney and cheese” varieties like those found in American sandwich shops. These have creative twists to them – pairings of different tastes which I’ve never dreamed could be possible.
“Parmesan and celery,” I think aloud, examining the pink box. “I wonder how that is?”
The less expensive options are the vegetarian sandwiches. These typically consist of a dairy and a vegetable. The more meat, the more exotic the combination, the more expensive the price tends to be.
“Prawn St. Marie,” I hold up a light blue box to my face. Between two slices of chocolate brown wheat bread is a mess of peachy-pink goo. White mounds protrude through every now and again. “That’s a fancy way to say ‘shrimp salad’ I suppose.”
I look at sandwiches with smoked salmon and cucumbers. “Too raw,” I think. I find one with avocado, spinach and pine nuts. “Too messy,” I reason. I pick up a brown colored box stacked high on the top shelf.
“Cheese and onion?” I grimace. Gingerly, I place it back on the shelf.
“I suppose I’m going to have to be boring and predictable,” I whisper tomyself as I reach into a middle grating for a light yellow box.
“Egg Mayonnaise and Watercress,” I smile softly. “Perfect.”
In a public square outside of Marks and Spencer, I find a quiet bench and sit down to eat. The sandwich is the perfect consistency – more egg than mayonnaise, as opposed to the artery-clogging alternative I am used to in the States. The watercress, not normally found on the US version of an egg salad sandwiches, provides a clean crispness to the meal. The wheat bread has traces of walnut baked into the dough, and is outlined with grains. This is no ordinary sandwich. Who knew something so simple could be such a culinary masterpiece?
I contemplate licking my finger and picking up the crumbs left at the bottom of the triangular box. Enough is enough, I agree. Tomorrow, I can get a whole new sandwich. This one was absolutely perfect, just the way it was.