I can’t remember when last I had a sandwich for Sunday dinner. I have just finished one: chicken mayonnaise between two slices of whole-wheat seed loaf: a proper sandwich. My husband brought it here to where I’m sitting at my desk. He made it for me. I heard him in the kitchen earlier: opening the fridge door. There’s nothing quite like that sound of a fridge door opening, is there? That slight sideways squeak as it opens, and solid, chunky clunk as it closes..
I had been working on psychology related topics I need to start presenting soon: the clinic where I have my practice has opened a psychiatric ward, and I will be running some groups. So I had been working this evening. I’m finished now, so I can write here: the first post since we came back from our West coast holiday.
Having a sandwich on a Sunday evening, is what I remember my childhood Sunday evening meals were, almost always. Always with white bread too, which I hardly have these days. Unless it’s ciabbata, which I had tried to give up recently in an attempt to curb carbs. I soon realised that life is simply too short to not allow oneself the pleasure of it: to tear off chunks of this chewy Italian style bread to dip into olive oil, or to let it go stale for panzanella. I made panzanella today, for lunch, with roast chicken which I bought at Woolworth’s.
My mother never bought pre-sliced bread. Come to think about it, it may not even have been available, as it is today. She had a bone-handled, finely serrated bread knife, which she sliced the white loaf with. My dad used to tease her about her tendency to slice the bread at an angle: the last of the bread was always wedge shaped. When I learnt to slice bread eventually, I took great care to slice it evenly and squarely. And I got a bread slicer as a wedding gift when I first got married. So my then husband did not tease me nor criticised my bread slicing abilities. But we did find other grounds for divorce!
The Sunday sandwiches of my childhood were sometimes chicken mayonnaise: more often than not there would not be sufficient leftovers from one chicken for a family of six. Mostly it was leftover leg of lamb or pork, or brisket, or a topside roast. My siblings liked rather bland mayonnaise on their sandwiches: I liked the very strong English mustard my mother made to a recipe of her mother-in-law, my beloved gran. Hot English mustard powder, egg yolk, sugar, vinegar… I recently found the recipe scribbled on a left hand page in my mother’s old recipe book.
So sandwiches it was. And strong, hot tea afterwards. And brushing my teeth soon afterwards and kissing parents goodnight. And snuggling down under blankets and returning to that book which I had been dying to get back to before dinner.
I am now returning to that glass of shiraz that I had been sipping with my sandwich. A strange culinary pairing, I know. But maybe there’s a poem in there: a sandwich and Shiraz for a sentimental Sunday.