It’s all vital, and great sandwiches require great contents and great bread. But I think if you have to sacrifice quality somewhere, it has to be in the bread. The contents of the sandwich are more vital than the bread.
The way I see it, if you have really delicious bread and crappy contents — think pre-sliced supermarket deli meat or something — then combining the two just amounts to sullying the bread. I’d rather eat the bread plain or with some butter and discard the rest. And that’s not a sandwich at all.
If you’ve got stale bread but some really delicious salami and ham, you can usually get by with toasting or grilling or slathering the bread with a condiment. Sure, you could eat the salami and ham on their own. But they still probably benefit from the sandwich presentation, what with the even mustard distribution, as long as the bread is palatable.
I’m going to get into this more in a forthcoming Sandwich of the Week post (that’s foreshadowing, brother). But I think a good general guideline to consider when constructing a sandwich is this: Before adding an ingredient, consider both whether it will make the sandwich better and whether it will be better served inside a sandwich than on its own. If it’s yes in both cases, pile it on.
Love it. People seem to assume that because I like Taco Bell I don’t like Chipotle, as if you need to choose one or the other. They’re totally different things, and there’s always room for more great, quick, relatively inexpensive Mexican-style fast foods.
I like Chipotle so much that my friends and I once wrote and shot a short movie in a Chipotle that was partly about Chipotle. The story was to be presented non-sequentially, like Memento, and it was to be called “Burrito, Interrupted.” I got lazy and never edited it. Humanity’s loss, I swear it.
You mean like the four basic food groups? In that case, I’d probably go with tomatoes, cheese, ground beef and brioche buns and just eat cheeseburgers forever.