How do you know when a nation is going through hard times? There are, of course, numerous signs. Unemployment hits record highs, particularly among the youth. Retail sales volumes decrease, in spite of the proximity to Christmas. Doom and gloom are ever-present, from newspapers to TV shows.
But you know things have hit rock bottom when they haul out Mrs Beeton’s advice on making thrifty meals. Her famous book is coming up for a 150-year anniversary, and it has within it a recipe for what is being proposed as a suitable cheap meal in these troublesome days. It is a toast sandwich.
Your thinking probably goes straight to toasted sandwiches, with melted cheese, perhaps some tomato, or a smattering of bacon. Chicken & mayo, beef & horseradish. Bacon, brie & cranberry. Hmmm… yum. No, all wrong. I didn’t say Toasted Sandwich, I said a Toast Sandwich. That’s right – it consists of a slice of toast in between two pieces of bread. You add butter, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste, and you have a nutritious (if slightly unbalanced) tasty snack for the kingly price of 7.5p. And a chap at the Royal Society of Chemistry says “I’ve tried it and it’s surprisingly nice to eat and quite filling.” So it must be true!
The dietetics expert that the article references advises to add a little extra to make it more healthy – some tinned sardines (for the fat & fish) at 19p, or an egg (for protein) at only 8p.
The creative types among you are probably drooling at the prospect of extending this to other doughy comestibles. I can see it now – the crumpet sandwich, or the flapjack sandwich (the South African/American one, not the British one).
This finally gives me a name for the lunches I used to make myself in my student days. Instead of going to the trouble of putting condiments on 8 slices of bread, I’d merely put jam between two slices, and put those between two more. Repeat, and you’re done. Two tasty sandwich sandwiches.