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The UK's favourite sandwiches

h
Harters May 14, 2010 01:53 AM

New from the British Sandwich Association (the trade body representing the packaged sandwich industry) reveals our most bought butties:

1 Chicken salad
2 Prawn mayo
3 Egg & cress
4 BLT
5 "Mixed" (no, me neither)
6 Chicken & bacon
7 Cheese & onion
8 Tuna & sweetcorn
9 Ploughman's
10 Chicken & sweetcorn
11 Salmon & cucumber
12 Ham & mustard#
13 Breakfast (presuably, sausage/bacon/egg?)
14 Ham & cheese
15 Southern fried chicken
16 Chicken Caesar
17 Chicken & stuffing
18 Egg & bacon
19 Tuna & cucumber
20 Egg mayo

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  1. NellyNel RE: Harters May 18, 2010 09:55 AM

    I lived in the UK for 6 years -
    the first time I heard of "tuna & sweetcorn" I was pretty horrified, but it turned out to be an amazing combo and I miss it terribly now!
    I try to make the concoction at home, but it's never the same..
    I also miss chip buttys which didnt apparently, make your list!

    41 Replies
    1. re: NellyNel
      s
      smartie RE: NellyNel May 18, 2010 07:43 PM

      yes you can make tuna and sweetcorn just like in the good old UK.

      Use canned tuna that is not white albacore - you need the cheap darker tuna - preferably in oil not water. Drain well, add a similar amount of canned corn also really well drained, mix with Hellmans or Dukes mayo, salt and pepper, serve. Don't forget American white bread does not taste like English white so it never tastes quite the same. Our local Brit shop in South Fl brings in frozen white sliced which I buy in bulk and keep in the freezer so I don't have to eat sweet American bread any longer.

      1. re: smartie
        NellyNel RE: smartie May 19, 2010 06:18 AM

        Thanks for the sandwich making tip!
        I always have had it on a baguette rather than white bread - I always thought it was the mayo that was making the difference...

        LOL
        My English hubby HATES Ameruican bread- and he always refers to it as "sweet" which I having grown up on it - do not pick up on at all!!

        1. re: NellyNel
          Phaedrus RE: NellyNel May 19, 2010 07:07 AM

          Not positive on this but it might have something to do with the refining processed in making American bread seem sweeter. I did notice that the breads in Asia, produced to imitate American breads seem a lot sweeter to me and they seem to have less fiber than the European breads.

          My introduction to tuna and sweet corn sandwiches involve going to a canteen with some of the folks I was working with and ordering that. The lady took an open can of tuna, unceremoniously dumpoed a can of drained corn on to the pile of fish, add mayo and whip it up. I think I started to go to the pubs for lunch after that.

          1. re: Phaedrus
            NellyNel RE: Phaedrus May 19, 2010 07:21 AM

            bleh - that sounds vile!
            But really, did you ever try a T/S sandwich - it is so surprisingly delicious!

            Also, though not a huge fan of the pre-packaged sandwiches..I have to say that the ones in the UK aren't half bad! Much better than the American ones for sure!
            My fav of the PP bunch was chicken and stuffing!

            1. re: NellyNel
              h
              Harters RE: NellyNel May 19, 2010 07:44 AM

              It is vile - thought you liked it? LOL. Phaedrus pretty much describes the tuna sandwich - tuna, corn, mayo. It is not one of our culinary masterpieces. Whoever is responsible for its invention should be burned at the stake.

              1. re: Harters
                NellyNel RE: Harters May 19, 2010 10:16 AM

                it was the way Phaedrus described the prep...ick..
                and yes it still does sounds vile - I know...
                but really it is quite tasty and delicious!!

            2. re: Phaedrus
              s
              smartie RE: Phaedrus May 19, 2010 04:48 PM

              American wheat is softer than British/European wheat so the bread is softer and stickier and seems to stick to the roof of my mouth. I don't know maybe American bread has HFCS instead of sugar, whatever it is it is different - English bread
              sounds different when toasted too!!

              1. re: smartie
                l
                Lizard RE: smartie May 19, 2010 11:49 PM

                I am trying to understand that broad claims of what 'American' bread tastes like as opposed to 'British' or "European' (given a slash as if these are interchangeable?) and am failing.
                Having lived in the US (on East and West coasts) as well as Britain and parts of continental Europe the one thing I can say is that the breads I have tasted have varied within these nations to the point I could not make any huge claims.
                Then again, perhaps it's because when I've bought bread, I've bought it from bakeries or the bakery section of a supermarket, where variety exists? I don't buy that Hovis or other crap that is shipped out from factories.
                But really, I think this kind of generalisation is deeply unhelpful as it describes nothing but one's own limitations.

                1. re: Lizard
                  s
                  smartie RE: Lizard May 20, 2010 05:05 AM

                  I am talking about white sliced supermarket bread generally made for ready to go sandwiches or toast you get in hotels and breakfast restaurants. It is quite simple to generalize - ask any expat Brit living in N America and most say the same - American bread is sweeter and softer.
                  Does calling 'other crap shipped out from factories' describe your limitations? We are all allowed opinions.

                  1. re: smartie
                    chowser RE: smartie May 20, 2010 05:35 AM

                    I think there is a difference. When I soak toasted American sandwich in milk, it stays whole and becomes gooey but when I soaked British sandwich bread, it becomes mushy. American sandwich bread has to be cut w/ the edge of the fork where the British falls apart. I'm talking about the factory made breads.

                    1. re: smartie
                      h
                      Harters RE: smartie May 20, 2010 06:00 AM

                      Certainly your comment about "sweeter" seems to be often mentioned on threads comparing American and Europeans breads.

                      Just out of interest, chowser, why do you soak toasted sandwiches in milk? Is it to do something else with it - an ingredient in something, perhaps?

                      1. re: Harters
                        chowser RE: Harters May 20, 2010 09:53 AM

                        My friends when I was in England got me started on it (I assumed it was common there). I completely forgot about it until someone posted here about Nigella's "recipe." I tried it again and didn't get the same results.

                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ni...

                        It could very well be faulty memory but it wasn't the same.

                        1. re: chowser
                          h
                          Harters RE: chowser May 20, 2010 10:12 AM

                          Not common! Not common at all, chowser. And, looking at the recipe, absolutely vile - the sort of thing that Nigella may serve to one of her children if they were sick - and she didnt want them to recover quickly.

                          Now, bread & butter pudding is a different game altogether. Bread is soaked and baked. Mrs H loves it. IMO, one of the vilest desserts invented (and we're normally pretty decent at puddings) - can't stand the smell, let alone the taste!

                          1. re: Harters
                            chowser RE: Harters May 20, 2010 10:27 AM

                            LOL, we were college students then so there were probably quite a few things we ate that would turn my stomach now. I'll confess to eating Ambrosia rice pudding out of a can and whole sleeves of Bourbons back then. Pass the Jaffa cakes, too!

                            1. re: chowser
                              h
                              Harters RE: chowser May 20, 2010 11:03 AM

                              Jaffa Cakes are a personal weakness. Years ago, they were advertised on TV by a sort of James Bond action man type character. Actor was a friend of my parents.

                              1. re: Harters
                                buttertart RE: Harters May 25, 2010 02:02 PM

                                Are they orange-flavored, is that why they're called Jaffa cakes? We used to get super Jaffa oranges in Canada in the late winter. Also Outspan ones from South Africa.

                                1. re: buttertart
                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: buttertart May 25, 2010 02:23 PM

                                  They're a soft biscuit (cookie) with a layer of orange jelly-type filling, covered in dark chocolate. Years ago, I read a British novel in which Jaffa Cakes figured prominently, and was compelled to find out what they were. You can certainly find them in the US, I'm sure, at places carrying British imports; I noticed in the Northeast that one of the brands readily stocked in supermarkets has a version, also available with other fruit fillings. Maybe Lu?

                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                    twodales RE: Caitlin McGrath Aug 18, 2010 11:27 AM

                                    My friend's cat was named Jaffa: orange & seedless (neutered)

                                  2. re: buttertart
                                    h
                                    Harters RE: buttertart May 25, 2010 03:06 PM

                                    Yep - orange flavoured and called after Jaffa oranges (presumably that is from where we imported the juice in the 1920s - it'd be from within the EU now).

                                    It reminds me that they were at the centre of a legal argument some years ago. Without wishing to get into the technicalities of our Value Added Tax, it is a tax not levied on biscuits and cakes. However, it *is* levied on a chocolate covered biscuit - but not on a chocolate covered cake. No, like you dear reader, I don't understand this either. Anyway, long story short, government argued that they were really biscuits so should have VAT; manufacturers argued they were a cake. Manufacturers won - which means I can buy Jaffa Cakes for 17.5% less than it would otherwise have been.

                                    1. re: Harters
                                      buttertart RE: Harters May 26, 2010 06:07 AM

                                      I'm sure that was an interesting case to follow (handled by Jarndyce and Jarndyce perhaps?) and am glad of the happy outcome as far as you're concerned.
                                      The US Customs tariff (I work for a Customs broker) has rules of equal abstruseness regarding food (and other commodity) imports. Throw country of origin into the mix and you're really got to know the ins and outs to see where to classify items properly. We have many happy hours of discussing the exact nature of a food product when making these entries.

                              2. re: Harters
                                twodales RE: Harters Aug 18, 2010 11:25 AM

                                My husband won't eat B & B pudding because he got it at boarding school in England but I like it.

                            2. re: Harters
                              linguafood RE: Harters May 22, 2010 03:21 AM

                              That goes into meatballs. In Germany, too. Though we don't tend to toast the bread first. We just let it go stale.

                            3. re: smartie
                              l
                              Lizard RE: smartie May 20, 2010 07:25 AM

                              Hmm, I guess I've just sampled a wider variety of breads across the US, the UK, and the continent since I couldn't even put them in the categories of 'American' 'British' and 'European' and have them mean anything to me. I'm naive enough to call them Rye, Sourdough, Challah, Cramique, Tiger, etc. I guess you might be writing about types of white slied bread that come pre-packaged and are not from a bakery. Perhaps you are seeking to compare Wonder Bread with Hovis?

                              As for sweetness, I find this funny given that so much what people try to serve up here (here being the UK) tastes far too sweet for me...

                              1. re: Lizard
                                h
                                Harters RE: Lizard May 20, 2010 07:28 AM

                                Clearly you have. I've not really any personal experience of American breads. Or any at all of Challah or Cramique for that matter. What are they, out of interest?

                                1. re: Harters
                                  Caitlin McGrath RE: Harters May 22, 2010 02:03 PM

                                  I'm not familiar with cramique, but challah is an egg bread, though not a very rich one like brioche. The loaves are usually braided, and sometimes topped with poppy or sesame seeds. Challah is traditionally part of the Jewish sabbath meal for many, but it is also popular in the US for things where a soft bread with structure is desirable, such as French toast or the bread pudding of which you are not a fan. It's not something that's a supermarket staple, but something bought in bakery departments if they carry it, or from bakeries.

                                  Here are some photos: http://www.google.com/images?q=challa...

                                2. re: smartie
                                  l
                                  Lizard RE: smartie May 22, 2010 07:04 AM

                                  I was commenting on the fact that everyone in the discussion seemed to think that 'European' and 'American' and 'British' were useful categories for describing bread, even as I protested and asked for specifics. I then followed up by pointing out that there are a variety of breads. Perhaps you have sampled these, but if so, why so attached to the categories that are not as useful (at least for me) in discussing bread.

                                  1. re: Lizard
                                    s
                                    smartie RE: Lizard May 22, 2010 07:06 AM

                                    I thought this thread was about packaged sandwiches so it would seem pretty clear that we are generally talking about square factory made white or brown bread which is how packaged sandwiches usually are presented in gas stations, supermarkets and sandwich shops in the UK. Yes they can be ordered or bought on baguettes or rolls but the norm is for sliced bread.

                                    1. re: smartie
                                      linguafood RE: smartie May 22, 2010 07:22 AM

                                      And in that particular category, one can certainly make comparisons. Plain and simple, really.

                                      1. re: linguafood
                                        l
                                        Lizard RE: linguafood May 23, 2010 12:21 AM

                                        One can certainly begin to make comparisons there, although I will state my surprise that 'chowhounds' would eat pre-packaged bread. I suppose that's where I do draw my line for calories (who knew I had a line?) but will all the bakery options in all these places, why bother? (Yes, I know that the thread starts from a list produced by a company that looks into prepackaged sandwiches, but once someone started on about home sandwich making, all bets were off.)
                                        More problematic, I think, is the desire of chowhounds to denigrate the 'American' option. When we're speaking of pre-packaged foods, we are in the space of another kind of food option in general (and even then, I'd say there's a variety although not one I would sample). Indeed, I recall Harters once becoming quite cross with me when he thought I was characterising all British food by the pre-packaged options at Tesco and Boots. And yes, he would be right to get that way...
                                        I suspect you are most definitely ex-pats and not living here (UK) any longer, if you would really make certain claims about the supremacy of pre-packaged British breads, some of which are so naff they are unpalatable (gummy at best). But maybe it's now in crunching the numbers regarding which national factories produce the best/worst bread. But I'll leave that testing to you, I'm afraid.
                                        (Although linguafood can definitely jump in on the state of the continent's pre-packaged bread; I am attacking my memory for any encounter, but I'm afraid it's always been bakery in my home there-- growing up and otherwise. Well, that and home-baked.)

                                        1. re: Lizard
                                          linguafood RE: Lizard May 23, 2010 03:15 AM

                                          FWIW, people here were touting the non-virtues of factory-made, white bread. I eat neither American, nor British, nor German prepackaged, factory-made, white bread, nor do I buy pre-made sandwiches (generally -- I may well slip on a longer car trip, but usually pack & MAKE my own). As you are right: especially here in Germany, there a too many fantastic bakeries delivering the goods - my current favorite a wonderful pumpkinseed bread, the likes of which I've yet to find in "America", at least where I live.

                                          That's a different topic altogether, tho, and I'm not entirely sure what you are arguing about here.

                                          1. re: linguafood
                                            twodales RE: linguafood Aug 18, 2010 11:46 AM

                                            When I was growing up here in the States almost every neighborhood here in Chicago had at least one local bakery. During the 70's they seemed to disappear. My Mom told me the bakers could not stay in business due to rising costs. There has been somewhat of a resurgence in "artisan" bread making, but I might have to drive 15 miles to get a decent loaf. One chain of grocery store here has an ok bakery within. Other than baking myself, those are my options.
                                            Where when we lived in the UK, I had many more options and could pick something up on the way home or even at the corner shop. One corner shop had an amazing granary cob which I might never find the likes of again.

                                          2. re: Lizard
                                            g
                                            guster4lovers RE: Lizard Aug 21, 2010 12:42 AM

                                            Here's a question: When you go into a US supermarket, can you find bread that doesn't have any sugar in it? Anywhere? And I'm not talking about specialty bakeries, although most of their bread also contains sugar or honey or molasses or a combination of the three.

                                            Other than some brands of sourdough, sugar-free bread (and please let's not turn this into a conversation of how starch molecules convert to sugar...I'm talking sucrose or other forms of refined sugar) is impossible to find here.

                                            In the UK, that is not the case. My British husband finds all bread here too sweet [at least for sandwich and toasting applications], so we've taken to baking our own with no sugar. I do use diastatic malt powder, but that's it. It solves the problem, and it's WAY cheaper. And I know what's going in to my bread.

                                            Back to the article...we were surprised that cheese and pickle didn't make the top 20 list.

                                            Also, Jaffa cakes are the most delicious things on this planet. I wish we could get them here. My husband's family sometimes will send us a box or two...along with Jelly Babies. :-)

                                            1. re: guster4lovers
                                              twodales RE: guster4lovers Aug 21, 2010 07:04 AM

                                              Jaffa cakes: Personally I don't like choc and orange together but my husband does. Our local grocery (Safeway-owned) carries a Lu brand choc and orange biscuit similar to Jaffas. Also, are there any British or other ethnic shops near you? There are online British shops too.

                                              I too have been thinking about experimenting in search of some good bread recipes. In the UK, I eat bread. Here: I occasionally eat bread. I do describe it as too "sweet" but it probably is the wheat or the technique & the sweetener (or?) all combined.

                                              If you would care to share any decent bread recipes, I would be most grateful. I've given up on finding a decent loaf.

                                              1. re: twodales
                                                g
                                                guster4lovers RE: twodales Aug 21, 2010 05:04 PM

                                                I swear by Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice, but if you've never baked before, I would say start with a no-knead bread recipe (Bittman/Lahey/etc.) that can give you an idea of the process. BBA didn't make sense to me until I had been baking NKB for a few months. The basic recipes out there on the internets don't call for sugar - usually just flour, water, salt and yeast (and save yourself some hassle and get instant yeast! It makes a huge difference - I get that from king arthur flour online). Another book I would recommend starting with is Crust and Crumb (same author as BBA) because it's a little more accessible to the new baker.

                                                Even Reinhart uses sugar, but I've found that I'm much happier when I replace any sugar/honey/molasses with diastatic malt powder (1/4 tsp per cup of flour). Our current favourite is the Light Wheat recipe, bulked out with some grains/seeds to make it more granary style. I've posted some pictures of my results over on the "What are you baking these days part VI" thread in Home Cooking. And his french bread is pretty fantastic.

                                                If you don't want to invest in the book, send me a pm and I'll give you the recipe for just that bread. :-)

                                                My husband also used to use a really basic Delia recipe and it turned out ok. It had instructions to complete in a stand mixer, which means it was quick and easy. It's also a direct dough, unlike many of the NKB and BBA recipes (although the Light Wheat is direct). So it's not really something you can start the same day and finish within a few hours - it has an overnight component.

                                                Sorry. That was a long answer to a short question. But as I've just been on this journey, please let me know if you have problems or questions - it's sometimes good to have someone to troubleshoot with if things so wrong (and they often do...even after I've been baking weekly for a year). :-)

                                                [/threadjack]

                                                1. re: guster4lovers
                                                  buttertart RE: guster4lovers Aug 21, 2010 05:45 PM

                                                  You really don't even need the malt powder, any regular bread can be made with no sweetener. The yeast feeds on the starch in the flour. I've baked 99% of the bread we've eaten in our (long) married lives, most of it unsweetened.

                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                    g
                                                    guster4lovers RE: buttertart Aug 22, 2010 07:57 PM

                                                    Yes, but malt powder adds deliciousness without sweetness to wheat bread! And if I add the word "malt" to anything, I know my husband will like it. :-)

                                                    But yes, you can omit it as well - I used to omit it due to availability, but since I've tried it with malt powder, I can't go back!

                                                    1. re: guster4lovers
                                                      buttertart RE: guster4lovers Aug 23, 2010 06:02 AM

                                                      You know, you're right, it does add something. I must get some again.

                                              2. re: guster4lovers
                                                s
                                                smartie RE: guster4lovers Aug 21, 2010 08:14 PM

                                                All Brit expats living in the US that I have chatted with find American bread too sweet (the packaged stuff not bakery bread). It's also softer and gummier and also smaller in size than British sliced stuff.

                          2. re: smartie
                            twodales RE: smartie Aug 18, 2010 11:14 AM

                            I rarely eat bread or even eat sandwiches here but when I go back to England, I actually enjoy it/them.

                          3. re: NellyNel
                            Midlife RE: NellyNel May 21, 2010 04:54 PM

                            "I also miss chip buttys which didn't apparently, make your list!"

                            As I learned on these boards recently (despite having lived 50 miles or so from San Diego for the last 28 years) burritos down there are made with French Fries (chips) in them. Should you have reason to make the Jersey-San Diego trek anytime................ one of those things should be a 'must try'.

                            1. re: NellyNel
                              twodales RE: NellyNel Aug 18, 2010 11:11 AM

                              Much the same for me. I tried a ham, cheese and sweetcorn and got quite a craving for it. As a matter of fact, I think I'll have one now!

                            2. LindaWhit RE: Harters May 18, 2010 01:52 PM

                              What are "mixed" sandwiches, dear Harters?

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                h
                                Harters RE: LindaWhit May 18, 2010 03:22 PM

                                I dread to think, LW. Bear in mind these are ready-made pre-packaged sandwiches - the sort you might buy from a supermarket, a petrol filling station or a sandwich chain (such as Pret a Manger). It's probably a category that the trade association has for "none of the above".

                                'Tis also the reason why no chip butty. Like it's close cousin, the bacon butty, there are rituals to be followed. It is the time when only cheap sliced white supermarket bread will do. It is not a necessity that the bread be buttered but those who don't are just pretending to be health fanatics. The chips must be lovingly crammed between the slices of bread. They must be liberally sprinkled with salt and drenched with malt vinegar.

                                For the bacon butty, delete references to salt & vinegar: insert references to tomato ketchup or brown sauce.

                                1. re: Harters
                                  LindaWhit RE: Harters May 18, 2010 04:20 PM

                                  Ahhh, I didn't realize that's what these sandwiches were! Totally skipped over your "packaged sandwich industry" sentence.

                                  Thanks for the clarification, Harters. I'm thinking I'd get a package of potato chips and a bottled water and be done with it. Industrial, pre-made vendor sandwiches are not my cuppa.

                                  1. re: Harters
                                    chowser RE: Harters May 19, 2010 06:36 AM

                                    Are these prepackaged sandwiches new? I went to university there in the mid-80's and don't remember seeing them (but barely stepped into a supermarket then, as a student). I remember fondly the requisite donner kebab vans on the corner of every street, though, at 2am. I was surprised at the array of sandwiches at these stores when I visited last summer.

                                    1. re: chowser
                                      h
                                      Harters RE: chowser May 19, 2010 07:01 AM

                                      Newish I reckon. Mid 80s would probably be about right for the start of the growth - before that sandwiches were always made up fresh. Now you'll find the prepacked everywhere (although still lots of shops making individual ones) - I understand the filling stations stocking them (we don't have the roadside eateries in the way that America does) and I think the supermarkets just see it as another profit opportunity (in very recent years the supermarkets have started reappearing in town centres with "mini-stores" - great opportunity to sell to office workers). Google suggests it was Marks & Spencer (and upmarketish clothes & food retailer) who started it off

                                      1. re: Harters
                                        s
                                        smartie RE: Harters May 19, 2010 04:50 PM

                                        I miss English sandwiches - the choices at the supermarkets are wonderful especially Marks and Sparks ones. We can't get those here in the US and they make a really easy on the go lunch. I sometimes bring home-made sarnies into work and my coworkers think I am crazy.

                                        I think tuna and sweetcorn sarnies will be on tomorrow's lunch menu for me.

                                        1. re: smartie
                                          l
                                          Lizard RE: smartie May 19, 2010 11:50 PM

                                          Your co-workers think you're crazy for bringing in sandwiches to work? Where do you live and work? There is no place I've lived in the US where that was considered insanity so I'm intrigued to know of this place. Sounds exotic!

                                          1. re: smartie
                                            twodales RE: smartie Aug 18, 2010 11:48 AM

                                            I would love an M & S food store here in Chicago.

                                      2. re: Harters
                                        yumyum RE: Harters May 22, 2010 09:33 AM

                                        The bacon butty is one of my all time favorites. And yes, the bread must be buttered.

                                        1. re: Harters
                                          pdxgastro RE: Harters Aug 18, 2010 05:52 PM

                                          I totally loved being able to pick up a packaged sarnie at Boot's (chemists). They were fresh and good.

                                          Brits are said to be bad cooks but they make awesome sandwiches. I fell in love with sardine and pickles (cukes, not relish) on a granary bap. Also, there was this a Scottlish-Italian man who sold sandwiches from a narrow kiosk on Baker Street. His Turkey/Stuffing/Cranberry sandwiches were the bomb.

                                          As for the butties, my Oz friend said her dad used to get a whole loaf of bread, unsliced, cut off an end, hollow it out, butter the inside and then dump in chips. Sounds...filling.

                                          1. re: pdxgastro
                                            h
                                            Harters RE: pdxgastro Aug 21, 2010 02:24 AM

                                            "Brits are said to be bad cooks "

                                            Usually by folk who havnt eaten our food in the last 40 years.

                                            1. re: Harters
                                              twodales RE: Harters Aug 21, 2010 07:06 AM

                                              British home cooking is very, very good. I ate well living there. They have people over for dinner quite a bit too. In the US that doesn't seem to happen much. Since it's cold here in the winter, we like to have dinner parties with friends. What's better than nice food, friends and a few glasses of red?

                                              1. re: twodales
                                                NellyNel RE: twodales Aug 23, 2010 07:07 AM

                                                I will add that the quality of the supermarket foods are just so much better in the UK.
                                                Packaged meals were edible and in some cases, extremely good, and dairy items of all sorts were so fresh and out of this world.
                                                I really miss Sainsbury's, Waitrose, etc...

                                                1. re: NellyNel
                                                  twodales RE: NellyNel Aug 23, 2010 10:40 PM

                                                  I've been to dinner parties over the years where everything came from M & S or Waitrose (from starters to dessert)...and the food was as good as anything that one might have cooked.

                                              2. re: Harters
                                                g
                                                guster4lovers RE: Harters Aug 21, 2010 04:56 PM

                                                Totally. The restaurants we went to in London and the Kent area are world class. Seriously, some of the best food I've ever eaten.

                                                Those who say Britain has bad food/cooks is ignorant. I know a lot of it came out of the post-war bland cooking that became commonplace to an extent that it never did in America due to rationing. America may have had rations, but not nearly as restrictive as in the UK. Then you had GI's returning to America with pretty low opinions of British food, which coincided with the rise of processed foods...but that was decades ago. Things have changed.

                                                It's frustrating to always have to defend British food. And I'm not even British (but my husband is), but I still want to hit people for saying the word "bland" in the same sentence as "British food."

                                                1. re: guster4lovers
                                                  buttertart RE: guster4lovers Aug 21, 2010 05:03 PM

                                                  Absobloodylutely. I'd rather eat at the top places in London than those in NYC, overall.

                                                  1. re: guster4lovers
                                                    h
                                                    Harters RE: guster4lovers Aug 22, 2010 03:54 AM

                                                    I've been happy to discuss "bland" on other threads, so I'll only give a brief comment here (the subject is well worthy of a wider discussion). It's a comparitive term and one I can easily understand many Americans making with their own home cooking. I often see dishes being described in Home Cooking threads that are very highly flavoured and, to my eyes, confused, mis-matched and overly complex. No doubt, it reflects the much wider population base of America, drawing on so many different cultural backgrounds - so cooks will pick and ingredient form this culture,another from that culture and so on . On the other hand, I suspect that many folk visiting from other North European countries would find many dishes similar to their own cuisines - the essence of any good home cooking is seasonal locally produced food - there are many foodstuffs that we simply can't grow here and our traditional dishes reflect that.

                                                    Returning to the sandwich theme of the thread, what I find interesting in the "top 20" of my original post is how many of these remain traditional British flavour combinations and, indeed, traditional sandwiches which I've known all my life.

                                                    1. re: Harters
                                                      buttertart RE: Harters Aug 22, 2010 06:37 AM

                                                      I've noticed that about some of the Dinner contributions as well. They may very well work, but I wouldn't come up with them myself (being rooted in the English Canadian tradition). Not to say that I don't go crazy spicy in my international cooking.
                                                      Incidentally re sandwiches, what drives me crazy about US sandwiches is that they have so much filling. I far prefer a filling no thicker than one of the slices of bread (if not just the slice or two of meat my mom offered). Presume these sandwiches are not jawbreakers?

                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                        h
                                                        Harters RE: buttertart Aug 22, 2010 06:50 AM

                                                        Correct, Ms B. The Brit sandwich (as I believe, European ones generally) have much less filling than American ones. For example, you'd only get a slice or two of meat - whether shop bought or homemade - it'd be rare for the filling to be as thick as a single slice of bread.

                                                        That said (and, as you know, I am a greedy person), I have a great fondness for the New York deli sandwich - a pastrami from Katz or the Stage is one of the world's best eats. Mrs H does not share that fondness - which means I usually get half her meat as well as my own.

                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                          buttertart RE: Harters Aug 22, 2010 06:52 AM

                                                          That is the sole exception - and M is still the beneficiary of the "extra" half of the meat.

                                                      2. re: Harters
                                                        g
                                                        guster4lovers RE: Harters Aug 22, 2010 08:03 PM

                                                        The Food Network hosts' obsession with "BIG FLAVOURS" is bothersome, especially when you look at the ingredients and think, "There's no way in hell that would be good..."

                                                        Paula Deen's Cheesy Ham Casserole comes to mind...cheese, pre-sliced packaged deli meat ham, potato chips, loaf of white bread, bananas, bacon, eggs, cream....ewwwwww. I don't know that I would call it bland, though all the individual ingredients can definitely be rendered bland...but put together it defines everything that is wrong with the food network.
                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pa...

                                                        Now that is just wrong. Much like almost everything that woman produces.

                                                      3. re: guster4lovers
                                                        twodales RE: guster4lovers Aug 22, 2010 08:07 AM

                                                        I know we've strayed somewhat from sandwiches but looking at the expanded topics: bread, sandwiches and Brit food in general... When I go back to the UK, I always stop into an M & S (Marks & Spencer) food shop. I love to see what's new, not only in the frozen food section but in the fresh take-away area as well. The sandwiches and salads and such always have such interesting and fresh combinations. I would love an M & S food shop here, but with the Brit sensibilities. We will see if the Pret a Manger has anything interesting when they open here in Chicago in September (?).

                                                        Link where you can see some descriptions of M & S to go foods.

                                                        http://www.lunchtogoe.com/site2008?ar...

                                                        1. re: twodales
                                                          twodales RE: twodales Aug 22, 2010 10:30 AM

                                                          Check out Waitrose.com/ also.

                                                          1. re: twodales
                                                            g
                                                            guster4lovers RE: twodales Aug 22, 2010 08:05 PM

                                                            Yeah - M&S does great pre-packaged food. The sandwiches are particularly good. And WAY better than the crap you find pre-packaged in Lucky's, Safeway or Wal-Mart.

                                                2. chowser RE: Harters May 18, 2010 02:07 PM

                                                  What, no chip butty? My daughter would be crushed!

                                                  12 Replies
                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                    s
                                                    SpareRib RE: chowser May 18, 2010 02:29 PM

                                                    I have been in the US for 20 years now and I still make myself a chip butty sometimes. My tastes have changed over the years a little though - I now make them with a sprinkle of truffle salt! My all time favorite still has to be chicken and stuffing though.

                                                    1. re: SpareRib
                                                      chowser RE: SpareRib May 18, 2010 03:17 PM

                                                      I just noticed you're in my area. I just went to Eamonn's in Olde Town Alexandria and my daughter had a chip butty there (so excited to see it on the menu) that would rival any I've had in the UK. Between that, Ribena, and flake ice cream, she was happy. But, truffle salt...mmmm.

                                                    2. re: chowser
                                                      Passadumkeg RE: chowser May 18, 2010 02:48 PM

                                                      My thought exactly! I will never forget going to the kiosk near Huston Station and ordering a chip butty. The Indian chap gave me instead a chipatti. The Empire Strikes Back?

                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                        chowser RE: Passadumkeg May 18, 2010 03:18 PM

                                                        That's funny--chip butty, chipatti. Maybe the American accent threw him?

                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                          Passadumkeg RE: chowser May 19, 2010 03:28 AM

                                                          Don't get bolshie, Chowser. I'm right chuffed that I don't sound like a Yank or spiv.
                                                          Where's the marmite?
                                                          Gotta go to the bog.

                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                            a
                                                            alg RE: Passadumkeg May 20, 2010 10:52 AM

                                                            Ew! What exactly are you doing with the Marmite in the bog?

                                                            1. re: alg
                                                              twodales RE: alg Aug 18, 2010 11:17 AM

                                                              Maybe that's where it belongs!

                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg
                                                          pdxgastro RE: Passadumkeg Aug 18, 2010 05:53 PM

                                                          Oh I used to get the BEST samosas at Ealing tube station!

                                                          1. re: pdxgastro
                                                            twodales RE: pdxgastro Aug 18, 2010 05:58 PM

                                                            I know that station well but never had the samosas. Too bad.

                                                        3. re: chowser
                                                          l
                                                          Lizard RE: chowser May 18, 2010 11:39 PM

                                                          I'm surprised that Chicken Tikka and Coronation Chicken sandwiches don't make this cut, especially the former.

                                                          Harters, is there a link to this information?

                                                          1. re: Lizard
                                                            h
                                                            Harters RE: Lizard May 19, 2010 02:09 AM

                                                            I was surprised at no Chicken Tikka as well but Coronation Chicken is probably thought to be a bit old-fashioned now. Whereas the "southern fried chicken" is probably seen as being "cool" as it sounds American - can't recall ever seeing one though (not that I'm a great packaged sandwich eater, I hasten to add for the benefit of hounds who migth have otherwise dissed me).

                                                            Link to the press release (which also gives the position in the table last year): http://www.sandwich.org.uk/informatio...

                                                            1. re: Lizard
                                                              twodales RE: Lizard Aug 18, 2010 11:48 AM

                                                              Anyone know how to make a good Chicken Tikka sandwich?

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