30 Jun 2023

Meet the man reviewing historical sandwiches

From Nights, 9:30 pm on 30 June 2023

Each week millions of viewers across the world watch California man Barry Enderwick prepare and then eat a different variety of sandwich.

So far, he's made and reviewed well over 800, from peanut butter and jelly to bacon and apple and everything in between.

“I've always loved sandwiches, portable meals, it's fantastic,” he told Nights.

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Photo: Screenshot

His sandwichey mission was prompted by an old recipe book a friend sent him.

"Something called the “Up-to-date Sandwich book of 1909, and first of all, I thought that was hilarious because the second you publish something, it's not up to date.

“But I was fascinated by some of the recipes in there.”

He started putting them on social media, and when TikTok came along his audience exploded.

Some of the pre-war sandwich recipes are a little odd for contemporary tastes, he says

“You think like a lot of these sandwiches are kind of born of poverty or like the rough times. But there are sandwiches in this one book, 1001 sandwiches in 1936.

"It's during the Great Depression and there's a sandwich for caviar, there's a sandwich for yeast, where you just put yeast between crackers. So, it runs the gamut and it's fascinating to me.”

Sandwiches cross cultural and culinary divides he says.

“You can get amazing flavour combinations in sandwiches, you can cross different cuisines, different cultures, different textures. And it's all between two pieces of bread, and it's portable.

“So, it's like this world of deliciousness that can happen between two pieces of bread.”

So, what are some of his favourites?

“I'm particularly biased towards a sandwich of recent history, it's from this restaurant in New Orleans called the Turkey and the Wolf. And it's called the tomato sandwich and it shouldn't be as delicious as it is.

“It's basically really thick bread, toasted. And then you slather it with mayonnaise, you throw on a bunch of salted sunflower seeds, tomato, salt, pepper, a bunch of dill and a bunch of basil and lemon juice. And it was just mind-blowing how good it was and it shouldn't be - but it is.”

“Then there's the Kentucky Hot Brown, there's the Reuben there's the sailor sandwich from Richmond Virginia. That's fantastic. The pain bagnat from France, chicken shawarma sandwich from the Middle East, Turkey specifically.”

The Kentucky Hot Brown is an artery-wrecking taste sensation, he says.

“It's turkey, it's mornay sauce, tomatoes, toast and bacon - it's decadent and it is delicious.”

The worst sandwich he's ever eaten is another weird pre-war concoction.

“There's the yeast sandwich, which was a fresh, compressed yeast cake mixed with a little bit of cream between crackers, and it was awful.”

One of the very oldest he's tried dates from 200 BC, long before a sandwich was called a sandwich.

“It was created along the Silk Road trading route, tons of flavor. unbelievably delicious. I made it and I would make it again. It’s packed full of spices, meat, some areas in China prefer pork. some prefer beef. I made it with beef, and it was just delicious.”