This week the Bear Market
embarks on a great adventure: the sandwich. Last weekend we bought a
stack of frozen grocery store panini and flatbread and stockpiled them
in the RFT freezer. Barring theft, we will try out a new one every day this week.
The strains of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" over the loudspeaker made us nostalgic, not for Christmases past or even the Judy Garland or Frank Sinatra renditions, but for the ur-sandwich, the greatest cheap sandwich we had ever eaten.
Oh, the sandwich! It came on whole wheat bread that was soft and sweet instead of rough and crunchy. But it was the filling that haunts our dreams. We're still not sure what it was. It was some sort of chicken salad, but a sort we've never seen again. The chicken came in little chunks, moistened by a white dressing that may have involved yogurt.
It was absolutely delicious. Even better, it was billed as healthy and low-cal, which normally really puts us off, but it didn't taste like it was good for us. And it was only about $3.
Alas, this wondrous sandwich is sold only at Marks & Spencer, a department store sort of like Target, only in England. Yeah, that's right. England. (Well, and also Ireland and Scotland and Wales.) Approximately 4,000 miles from here. We don't get there that often.
We pause to heave a wistful sigh. Alas, the Marks & Spencer website doesn't have a picture for us to gaze at longingly. It's so sad! But the sandwich exists, we swear. It's called the Chicken No Mayonnaise Sandwich and it retails for ₤2, and if there is anyone in the U.K. who is reading this and would be willing to send us a shipment, please drop us an e-mail (click on the name at the end of this story) and we can make arrangements and we will love you forever. In a platonic way.
Perhaps we will think of the Alexia Tuscan-Style Panini with the same degree of yearning someday.
But now we drag ourself back to cold, hard reality.
Name: Oscar Mayer Deli Creations Flatbread Sandwich, Buffalo-Style Ranch Chicken.
Cost: $3.19 at Schnucks. (For those keeping score, that's 20 cents cheaper than Dierbergs.)
Preparation Time: A minute or two for assembly, depending on how deft you are at tearing open plastic pouches, plus another minute in the microwave.
Quantity: A single slice of flatbread, about 6 inches in diameter, piled with meat, cheese and sauce. For some reason, this was adequate on Tuesday, but today we're still hungry.
Bread: Today's flatbread wasn't charred. It was a vast improvement.
Filling: Okay, from what we understand from past experience, Buffalo-style chicken is chicken (usually wings) smothered in a bright orange sauce comprised of Tabasco and butter. It is very spicy and very messy and, when prepared properly, one of our very favorite foods, especially mixed with ranch sauce.
Oscar Mayer has its own special interpretation. Or maybe we just read the packaging wrong. Anyway, what we got was some sort of weird sauce that was ranch and Buffalo sauce combined. It was a strange salmon color. It had a peppery flavor. It tasted like neither Buffalo nor ranch. It also didn't taste very good.
The chicken itself was okay. It tasted less like chicken than one of those tofu products that is supposed to imitate chicken, but that means it tasted like nothing. Which, after the sauce, was totally fine with us. There was also Monterey Jack cheese in there somewhere, but that didn't taste like much, either.
Note: Also comes in Chicken & Bacon Ranch, Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken, Steakhouse Beef with Garlic Parmesan Sauce and Fajita Beef & Salsa.
In Short: We would eat this if our other option was starvation. Or a Hot Pocket.
And thus the Bear Market concludes our week of frozen sandwiches. We might try the fresh ones next time. When we can bear to look at a sandwich again.