“Club sandwiches can create hope where there was once despair. They are capable of bringing people together, of forging lasting bonds that define our existence”– Nelson Mandela
Sunday, January 27th, 2019. Things were at a low ebb. A girl I was seeing had broken it off with me the night before and I was in the process of dealing with one of the worst hangovers in my -then- nineteen years of existence. I decided to text my friend from home- Joseph Hutchison-about my situation to see if he had any advice on how to boost morale. He replies telling me that I should get myself a club sandwich. This was our traditional response to such a predicament from our days growing up in the town of Fauldhouse. I respond to Joseph, telling him that -to my shame- I had never had a club sandwich in St Andrews and that I therefore I was unsure on where the best place to acquire one was. His reply sparked a nine-month long odyssey that has proved to be a massive part of my life- ‘you’re going to need to try them all and find out mate.” At that moment an idea was born, a club sandwich tour around town in which I could objectively judge the merits and downfalls of each and definitively establish a club sandwich ‘local’. The following article series describes this journey and will prove to be the final word on St Andrews club sandwichry for years to come. I hope you all enjoy- I certainly did.
The Club Sandwich
Before we begin our analysis, it is important to understand what exactly constitutes a club sandwich. Like terrorism, we cannot seem to settle on a true definition, which makes our task an ontologically unstable one. What colour should the bread be? Chicken or turkey? Is egg mandatory? What we do know is this- the club sandwich was born in the Union Club of New York City, with the initial recipe asserting it consists of “two toasted pieces of Graham bread, with a layer of turkey or chicken and ham between them, served warm.” However, if we were to follow these criteria it would be incredibly difficult to even find a club sandwich. In my years of admiring them, I have only once had one that contains ham, and Graham bread seems to be a wildly specific criterion. Therefore, for the purposes of clarity, I would sample every outlet in St Andrews that had a ‘club sandwich’ on the menu- whether it lives up to expectations or can truly be considered a club is another matter entirely. Before I began, I think it is important to determine the criteria on which these sandwiches should be judged, which I will elaborate on briefly. First and foremost, taste- whatever this chef’s choice of ingredient they must taste good and be well cooked. Secondly, assembly. I don’t want my club sandwich falling apart as I try to eat it. I really don’t need that kind of pressure in my life. Next up, price- I’m a poor student and any place that tries to extort people in the name of the club is a shameful one indeed. Sides are important, a club sandwich rarely comes solo and what accompanies it is a crucial part of the overall experience. Size is another key factor. I want to feel satisfied after my meal and have no time for small sandwiches. Lastly, ratios-well-tasting ingredients are all well and good, but the mark of a truly great club is the ability to put it all together and provide flavour combinations of high quality. With this in mind, I set out to sample all St Andrews has to offer on the club sandwich front.