Tea Sandwiches are never talked about enough, you will agree with me. In 2013 we opened the Tuesday night club – even if the original title is The Thirteen problems, the thirteen problems – that is a ritual meeting where you can chat, drink a good tea and investigate the most famous narrative cases – and not – of yellow literature. A lot of tea has passed from the spout of the teapot but despite the time the interests remain intact. I’ve always had so little time since that damn 2014, when everything went dark. It has always been a chase and chase. If there is one thing I have learned since 2020, the year that has touched the emotional chords of all of us, it is certainly that of running a little less and stopping a lot more; in calm and postponement there is not always a defeat. I will never be able to totally change my nature – and neither do I want to – but change it in order to feel better, yes. I owe it to me. And that is why I would like to resume the Tuesday night club even if it were Thursday morning, it doesn’t matter.
AND I WOULD LIKE TO START FROM THE SANDWICHS
which have always been the protagonists of tea time.
Earl Sandwich led a wicked life relentlessly squandering his possessions. He loved gambling and often the sessions lasted several days without stopping. More than 24 and 36 hours. There is talk of much longer games where guests could not sleep, except for a few small rests, for 36 hours. For this reason his stomach rumbled more often than not. For this reason, along with the tea, he wanted him to serve something quick so that he didn’t have to waste time with plates, cutlery and equipment. He loved bread and meat very much and for this reason one evening, during a very long game session, he whispered to the waiter that he was being served bread and meat. The waiter arrived with a nice piece of meat between two slices of bread which the count devoured, winning up to 10,000 pounds, legend has it. From that moment on there was no tea or game snack that was not accompanied by a good and rich Sandwich. In honor of the count who invented it.
Making a sandwich is very easy isn’t it? Enough of bread and some ingredients, that’s true. However, there is an intrinsic difficulty in preparing them precisely because in the vast majority of times the ingredients are few. So they have to be good, chosen and trusted. Furthermore, if we talk about an English sandwich, the matter becomes more complicated, because there are some basic rules that not everyone knows.
If for some a sandwich is simply a slice of stuffed bread, for many others it represents something more: by choosing, as previously mentioned, well-made ingredients, it can become a complete, well-balanced and healthy meal. Typically those that accompany the tea and ubiquitous are: butter or cheese with fresh cucumber, butter or cheese with salmon, butter or cheese with hard-boiled egg and pepper. These three are essential; also with pickled gherkins. There is a perfect “measure” for bread and also a gesture “with the palm of the hand”. In short, there are things to say about Sandwiches for tea, and many too. But let’s go slowly and start with the most famous.
THE CUCUMBER SANDWICH
The one of the pickled gherkin is defined by the Ritz, the “biblical” place of tea time, the most aristocratic. There are those who like peeled cucumber and those who don’t. It just depends on whether you like the thin green line. The secret is always said: the bread must be sliced as thin as a leaf and the cucumber. The importance of the gherkin sandwich is also discussed in the importance of being Ernesto by Oscar Wilde and beyond. The very famous
CUCUMBER SANDWICH HOW IS IT PREPARED?
The cucumber must be peeled and sliced into transparent slices. They just have to be small sheets like tissue paper. These small transparent discs must be sprinkled across the surface of the bread with the addition of very little lightly buttered bread on both sides (above and below). They must be pressed well but delicately with the palm of the palm and must never be presented with the side crust. You can cut them into two or three rectangles, but three is preferable. And they must stack neatly on a porcelain plate or tray. If they will be served after some time, it is always good to cover them with a slightly damp cloth until the tea is served.
Before moving on to the very famous one with salmon or boiled egg I would say to dwell – before I forget it given the many things to say – on
THE RITZ’S SPECIAL EGG SANDWICH
or the special egg sandwiches at the Ritz (I told you about the Ritz and tea at the Ritz here).
It is prepared with
2 medium egg yolks
2 teaspoons of about 10 ml of English mustard in poolvere
1 tablespoon of about 15 ml of Worcester sauce
1/2 teaspoon of about 2.5 ml of salt
1/4 teaspoon of about 1.25 ml of white pepper
200 ml of olive oil