The Original Sandwich

As it is passover, you might think it is a little bit odd that i am writing a sandwich blog. I mean, I can’t bread, or anything with leavening. One would think that this is a sandwich eater’s version of hell, but the idea of hell has a little debate in the Jewish tradition. I personally think of Passover (Pesach) as one of the greatest times in history…

So lets have a little history lesson…. in around 1400 bce the jews were slaves in Egypt. There were a bunch of plagues and after the 10th one, the Pharoah decided to let the Jews go. Off they went into the hot hot desert, but due to the time constraints, they didn’t have time to let their bread rise. They had to bake their bread on their backs, called it matzah, and went off to go wander around in the desert for about 40 years.

So what does this have to do with sandwiches? The original sandwich was a direct result of passover. Fact. Hillel said make a sandwich, by taking the pascal lamb, the maror (reminder of bitter tears of slavery), the bitter herbs, and the charoset (a sweet mixture of apples, honey, nuts and wine: representing the mortar used to build the pyramids). You put them together between the Matzah pieces and you make a sandwich.

Ok, so it sounds like what some might call a sandwich, but where are the sauces? The juices of the lamb, the wine, and the juices from the apples come together to make a sauce. In fact, you have 3 natural sauces that mix together to create the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and hot.

Makings of a Matzah Sandwich

The original Hillel Sandwich

In this particular sandwich, I made 2 versions…. the first of which i did not take a picture of. It was cold lamb, thinly sliced, with a glob of horseradish, some parsley, and some charoset. I put it on matzah, and it was very dry. It was not the best sandwich I had ever had for sure.

In the sandwich pictured, I put the lamb au jus, made of soy, worchestershire, garic, and a little wine. I then steamed the spinach with garlic, minced up some fresh horseradish, and made a fresh batch of charoset with cinnamon and fresh nutmeg, and added a sprig of fresh rosemary. The jus soaked in just enough to the matzah to make it not as crunchy, and the meat was super tender. I was really impressed. I realized this year that the only thing that would have made this sandwich better would have been freshly made matzah, that was just a little bit chewy.

La Shana Haba’ah la sandwich 🙂


The last day of sandwich eating for a while…

So it is passover for us jews, and that means no bread. It is a little bit difficult to eat a sandwich without bread, but what is one to do? i mean, my ancestors were slaves and then had a bunch of plagues happen to them, and then they wandered around in a dessert for 40 years. that sounds like it is a lot worse than not eating a sandwich for a little while.

But before passover started, and I was in Alaska, we went to the Midnight Sun Brewery, where I got a pretty good “3 Cheese Squeeze” which is a fancy name for grilled cheese-panini style… well as per my usual standard, I added the chips inside, right there with the roasted tomatoes, the onions, the 3 types of cheese, a little bit of the cheddar ale soup, and the spices (basil and thyme I believe)…

well, i would give it a couple of thumbs up, even if it was the last sandwich that I got to eat.

On another note, the word Seder in hebrew means Order. The passover dinner revolves around this order because it is the way of making sure that the story gets told, and nothing gets forgotten. In addition to the way that you make a sandwich by layering and ordering your ingredients, you build up the story throughout the night. You have a lot of different variables, but the big thing is that we are grateful that we are not slaves in Egypt. Also, part of the Seder is to actually make a sandwich… it is called a Hillel Sandwich, and it goes like this:

Hillel Sandwich:
1. Take a piece of matzah.
2. break matzah in half, spreading crumbs on the carpet.
3. spread horseradish on one side (named Mahror, meaning bitter), meant to symbolize the hardship and bitterness that was going on.
4. Spread Charoset (a sweet apple, honey, nut combination), which is meant to symbolize the mortar of the slaves used to build the pyramids, but also celebrate the sweetness of the freedom.
5. Combine the two and eat, mixing the bitterness and the sweetness into one sandwich.

It is almost like Maxwell House Hagadah is trying to teach everyone something about sandwich eating…..