Filling Sandwiches for Activists

The OWS movement is gaining traction in almost every country save for the usual repressive regimes, and Canada (too damn nice!) I am incredibly encouraged, as you are, about this new kind of revolution and some of us DFH are ecstatic as it reminds us of the long anti-war marches and endless sits-ins of the turbulent Sixties.

Besides a political objective, sitting or occupying for long stretches of time requires not only time, determination and stamina but one needs to be fueled by solids, water and/or caffeinated propellants. Remember the old Napoleon dictum!

I recall of a particularly bitter cold November afternoon in Paris, circa 1969, a few weeks before departing for sunny Sydney: some two hundred of us were sitting & shivering outside the American embassy protesting the Vietnam war. After a few minutes we were told to move on by the policemen patrolling the embassy grounds and warned that the feared CRS special police forces were on the way. The year before that (during the fabled May 1968 students riots) the CRS took to the streets of the Latin Quarter and battled whoever came into their paths with ferocity so it was with trepidation that we listened to the two men who had organized the protest for direction. At that (unforgettable) moment, several women carrying large baskets came out of nowhere and began distributing grilled chicken sandwiches with runny cheese , hot dogs and coffee. Not a word was spoken, a simple handing out, a few smiles and they disappeared as quickly as they came. This was several years before the random acts of kindness movement took hold. Emboldened by this amazing gesture (and a half-full stomach) we decided to stay put and wait it out, the upshot being that no one came to beat us up and having made our point, we left of our own will a few hours later.

And that’s where we can help and do our bit for the Occupy movement: organize via social networks, prepare and hand out sandwiches and hot drinks as the winter sets in.

Now a word from “our” sponsor:

Ever since 1762, when the Earl of Sandwich famously demanded that his food be placed between slices of bread so that he could continue his card game, the simple delight of the sandwich has been appreciated. Another version tells us that that same year a group of cooks of the gambling club called London’s Beef Steak Club were asked to prepare a sandwich for the first time. This meal consisted of ground beef and seasoning with wines put together between slices of breads. The Forth Duke of Sandwich, named John Montagu, was one of the hardened gamblers that visited this club. The Duke would ask the cooks to prepare ground beef between slices of toasted bread so that he could eat it rapidly as he played. The rest of the customers would feel tempted by the Duke’s meal and would say “I’ll have the same as Sandwich”.

Much later in history, the US military, with natural preservatives, created the indestructible sandwich. The important feature of this sandwich is that it stays fresh for three years without refrigeration. Imagine if we could get hold of these! Anyway, I was doing a bit of research on the mighty Google about sandwich habits and its popularity and the number one, both in the UK & US is the BLT (pic below), followed closely by cheese and tomato. Tuna mayonnaise comes in third place. As much as I like these three I would suggest making sturdier sandwiches for the OWS troops on the ground. Thick slices of country bread is what’s needed! Or wraps, easy to prepare and distribute.

This filling is perhaps the easiest and packs a nutritious punch: smoked turkey (unless you’re sick to death with turkey overload), cranberry relish and smoked cheese to balance it out, with some lettuce or elitist rocket leaves. Or just plain ham with whatever is lurking in your vegetable & salad compartment.

When in doubt of what to prepare, purchase a bunch of spicy sausages, bake them with some onions and add any kind of relish or chili sauce to any kind of ciabatta bread (or any thick bread for that matter). That will keep the body warm and going for those extra hours of sitting in the cold. Make sure it’s well wrapped.

Since quite a few folks are vegetarian it’s prudent to prepare a third of your sandwiches with non meat products, like cheese and tomato! Sprouts, mung beans, chopped lettuce and chili kidney beans are very popular and pack a punch. Add eggs and mayonnaise and you’re entering a pescetarian world of yumminess. If avocados are cheap it’s a good thing to stick with celery, lettuce and moistened with a little lemon dressing.

Can’t find decent bread? Wraps are just as good, particularly the wholemeal kind, cheap to prepare and easy to eat. It’s a great way to empty your refrigerator and combine to make tasty bites. Chicken laced with chilies; humous & tabouleh; ham & cheese; salami, lettuce & tomato; pork loin slices and grated apple; tuna, sweet corn & mayonnaise; and my favorite: a potato omelet laced with bacon, incredibly cheap to produce and extremely filling. Just hold the bacon for some!

Who doesn’t like to eat a meatloaf sandwich drizzling with balsamic dressing, either meaty or not? Or paté for that matter? For those in a hurry, patés & terrines of either kind can be found in every shop & supermarket at reasonably low prices. It takes a matter of minutes to slice bread, spread it and add lettuce or leaves and suddenly you have wrapped and bagged two dozens and counting…

Now we come to the serious stuff: the almighty meatball sandwich, the supremo for the activist’s stomach; one of those will add ballast to any frame and beat the pangs of hunger to a pulp. Hot or cold, the meatballs enveloped with thick tomato sauce encased in thick, sturdy bread slices will satisfy the even the most hardened of protester except, of course, if she/he is a committed vegetarian.

This pic below is of a barbecued chicken breast with smoked cheese and sliced jalapenos. I just put it there because it reminded me of the sandwich I ate that day at the protest in Paris. I remember thinking how odd it was that we were given round buns instead of baguette. And it was hot. Those moments are unforgettable.


This entry was posted in Activism, Food, Memoirs, Politics, Recipes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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