Friday, April 20, 2018
Cooking

Cookbook review: Tyler Kord's 'A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches' showcases his personality, unique sandwiches

Take a moment and think about the last sandwich you made.

Was it good? Probably. But was it great?

In Tyler Kord's notes for how to use his sandwich cookbook, A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches (Clarkson Potter, 2016), he says something that seems to anchor his perspective on cooking, and confirms why everyone would benefit from his guidance on making sandwiches: "I don't think there are any two ingredients that can't go together."

He means it. Lychee and broccoli in a sandwich? The chef mashes up these and other ingredients to make many unexpected sandwiches in his new book. They are wild but excellent combinations.

And you don't need to rush to one of his No. 7 Sub shops in New York City to try what he has created. As he notes in the book, when you follow a recipe, it's like someone else is cooking in your kitchen. Kord is your personal sandwich chef, and he's looking out for you. In a recipe for a chorizo and egg sandwich, he instructs you to tuck in the corners of Swiss cheese slices so they don't melt and drip off the English muffin edges, creating a mess on your baking sheet.

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches will make the humble home cook's sandwich game so much better. Composing a sandwich according to Kord's recipes will teach you how to build a better one. You'll realize his include an element of crunch, salt, sweet, fat, acid and a sauce to tie it all together — even before you get to his final chapter on sandwich construction theory. You'll get in a sandwich rhythm and better understand the varied textures required to take a sandwich from good to great.

Kord kicks off the book with roast beef, but there's no vegetable he won't feature. He tests your love of onions with one sandwich cradling roasted onions, pickled red onions, fried shallots and scallions. More vegetables in sandwiches means more fun, and he has his favorites (broccoli).

The recipes are not especially difficult, but they involve more work than most of us may be used to for a sandwich. Some of the subrecipes have subrecipes. Some people may get super upset about it, but he warned you in the title. That said, you don't necessarily have to make your own mayonnaise or roast a chicken. Pop open that Hellman's jar in the fridge and pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home. Go ahead and try his recipes for sort-of Mexican chorizo and Canadian bacon or don't. Kord's cool with it, and you should be, too.

This book has convinced me that I should always have a jar of something good in the fridge, and not just for the thrill of having a container labeled Special Sauce. With that already done, I'm one step closer to better sandwiches all the time.

Reading and laughing through the book, it reminded me of the first time I recall doctoring up a sandwich. I'd stack skinny fast-food fries in a chicken sandwich, between the bun and the mayo-dipped lettuce. My habit for tucking salty fries into a sandwich made me appreciate Kord's use of BBQ potato chips.The whimsical recipe writing in this cookbook makes it unlike any I've come across lately. The illustrations and photos match the playful, don't-take-me-seriously tone. Throughout, there are notes from Ten Speed editor Francis Lam, including ongoing banter about other possible titles for the book.Kord touches on British colonialism, Phil Collins and factory farming in the headnotes, and he lets you know how he feels about the price of sandwiches and the ethics of eating meat and seafood. (But there is no holier-than-thou attitude here about what you eat.) He rants about TV chefs and personalities who proudly declare they only work with the best and freshest ingredients. What about everything else? he asks. Bring him your bruised vegetables, your ugly fruit, and Kord would much rather teach you how to make it all taste good.

Ileana Morales Valentine can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

A taste test for drinking water? They can be surprisingly different

BROOKSVILLEThey brought it in glass carboys, in jars, in 2-liter bottles. It stacked up at the entrance to the auditorium, some of it just slightly murky but most of it crystal clear.Water. For more than 15 years the members of Region IV Florida Sect...
Published: 04/18/18
Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Five ideas for travel-friendly snacks

Whenever I fly, I pay way too much for food. I’ve stumbled jet-lagged into fancy wine booths and nearly bankrupted myself with cheese plates. I’ve purchased granola bars that cost more than my plane ticket (okay, maybe it just felt that way). If you’...
Published: 04/18/18
Enjoy a slice of sunshine with Tangerine, Ginger and Chocolate Tart

Enjoy a slice of sunshine with Tangerine, Ginger and Chocolate Tart

There are chocolate people, and there are vanilla people. I am a lemon person.Show me a dessert menu, and I’ll choose whatever is flavored with puckery lemon or any of her citrus sisters — lime, tangerine, kumquat, yuzu. Even as a kid, I went for lem...
Published: 04/17/18
Recipe for 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs

Recipe for 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs

As the name suggests, 30-Minute Spaghetti and Meatballs is no substitute for the kind of meatballs simmered for hours in your nonna’s Sunday gravy. Strangely enough, the recipe doesn’t even include oregano or basil or a dry Chianti. And yet I think t...
Published: 04/17/18
Re-create that fancy spa water at home

Re-create that fancy spa water at home

It was lunchtime in the middle of the workday, so although I sat at the bar at downtown St. Petersburg’s Asie Pan-Asian, I opted for a water. The bartender poured a glass and I took an unknowing sip.Cucumber. It was definitely cucumber. I’m not the b...
Published: 04/17/18
Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Taste test: citrus-flavored sparkling water

Many years ago, I took a trip to Rome and learned enough Italian to find directions and order dinner from menus. I learned very quickly that if I didn’t make it clear, I would get sparkling water rather than still water at every restaurant. My husban...
Published: 04/16/18
Here’s how to make shakshuka, the egg dish with the awesome name

Here’s how to make shakshuka, the egg dish with the awesome name

By Rick NelsonSuddenly, it seems like shakshuka is everywhere.Restaurant menus. Food Network how-to shows. YouTube videos. And on breakfast, lunch and dinner tables in homes across the country.Maybe the dish’s ascendancy can be traced to cookbook aut...
Published: 04/11/18
Cooking Challenge: Making a bowl of fancy bacon-and-egg ramen at home

Cooking Challenge: Making a bowl of fancy bacon-and-egg ramen at home

My boyfriend, Ben, screws a nail into the cork of our Bread and Butter wine bottle. I’ve recently moved into my own apartment — the first step in a fully adult life — but apparently, Adult Me doesn’t own a bottle opener. Tonight, I’m cooking my first...
Published: 04/11/18

From the food editor: Homemade biscuits make the meal

Raise your hand if you have leftover Easter ham in your freezer. Yeah, me too. It’s not every day I pick up a large cured ham at the supermarket, so when holidays come around that call for the pork centerpiece, I always try to think of at least three...
Published: 04/10/18
Spice up salmon with this tarragon vinaigrette

Spice up salmon with this tarragon vinaigrette

A good piece of fish needs very little to make it perfect. Here, the anisey-tangy flavor of tarragon vinaigrette is a wonderful complement to the lushness of salmon fillets. If you start with excellent salmon and super-fresh herbs, and don’t overcook...
Published: 04/10/18