I hope last night’s sandwich will be the least exciting of the sandwiches I enjoy during Sandwich Week. Straight up, I had some ingredients left over from Monday night’s Cuban, and I’m not one to throw out good Portuguese rolls and ham.
The sandwich: Ham and cheese, TedQuarters.
The construction: One of those aforementioned Portuguese rolls with deli ham and provolone from our grocery store. Somehow our local supermarket doesn’t stock Boar’s Head products, which is total bulls***. So this was some knock-off brand ham that the supermarket claims is better than Boar’s Head. It’s not. It’s not terrible, and it’s better than Hormel ham or any of the disgusting pre-sliced, packaged varieties the supermarket sells for some stupid reason, but it’s not quite Boar’s Head quality and far from Schaller & Weber or the stuff they sell at Whole Foods.
It’s very important when making sandwiches at home to pile on the slices one at a time, making sure there’s lots of folding and creasing in the process. Never just pull out a stack of five slices of ham from the package and place them right on the bread. That’s terrible. I would hope you know better, but I’ve actually purchased sandwiches from delis that came like this. It’s all about surface area. Surface area is where the flavor comes from.
I did use one Boar’s Head product: Pepperhouse Gourmaise dressing. I’ll get to that in a bit.
Important background information: Ham and cheese feels like the most generic type of sandwich. When I was a kid I really liked bologna and cheese, but now bologna disgusts me (though I like hot dogs, which are basically the same thing, just smaller and grilled). My bologna has a second name, it’s g-r-o-s-s.
What it looks like:
How it tastes: Meh. Mostly like a ham and cheese. The bread was a day old and I neglected to warm or toast it, so it was a bit stale. And Portuguese rolls are particularly bready, so there was a lot of stale bread to get through.
The saving grace of the sandwich is the Pepperhouse Gourmaise. This condiment deserves more thorough appreciation. I never had much time for Dijonnaise back in the day and I very much appreciated Mr. Show’s parody commercials for similar products, but Boar’s Head has improved upon the straight mustard-mayo hybrid.
It’s about the pepper, stupid. Delicious peppercorns of various colors dot the dressing and make it inimitably awesome. I’ve had Pepperhouse Gourmaise in my house for about five straight months and I’ve yet to try it on anything and not have that thing become more delicious. I might start putting it in my coffee and spreading it on my toast with breakfast.
What it’s worth: Patrick Flood and I had an entertaining email discussion a couple months back about the concept of “replacement-level” as it pertains to things outside of baseball. The thing that’s important to remember is that replacement level does not mean flat-out terrible. A replacement-level baseball player is just one that could be easily replaced by a player of equal worth.
This was, by my standards, a replacement-level sandwich. It was good because most sandwiches are good, but it would not take much effort or searching to make or buy a similarly tasty sandwich.
I should note that I have exceptionally high standards for sandwiches, so replacement level for me is probably higher than the replacement level for someone who eats Oscar Mayer bologna all the time. Like a replacement-level Major Leaguer versus a replacement-level Double-A player.
The rating: 30 out of 100. I would say that’s a reasonable grade for the replacement-level sandwich on this arbitrary scale. Anything lower than 30 could be replaced by a ham and cheese on day-old bread with some good dressing. Basically the Mike Jacobs of sandwiches.