Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chicken sandwiches

Which reminds me, in its heyday, the Regency Room on the top floor of Georges in Collins Street, Melbourne, served the best, moistest, freshest, tenderest, most exquisitely seasoned chicken sandwiches that I have ever had the good fortune to sample regularly for lunch or afternoon tea—in the company of my old friends Helen Bird and Kelly Read, to whom I shall be ever grateful for introducing me to them. Obviously, in some quite tangible way, Georges’s chicken sandwiches, now forever vanished, were then a still living relic of the Edwardian diet. Yet they were not too fat, not too thin; there were not too many chopped spring onions, nor too few; not too much mayonnaise, nor too little; the filling was pleasingly al dente, but not too lumpy, nor indeed chopped into a sort of slimy oblivion. Was there not a hint of tarragon also, as well as a welcome suggestion of chopped parsley—for texture? Meanwhile, the solid architecture afforded by the thinly sliced wholemeal bread was equally distinguished, not the tasteless, starchy, sugar-laden, industrially-manufactured foamy white rubbish one is so often obliged to endure here in America, but rather a bread of distinction, freshly baked, and with that hint of chewy, gluten-y resistance that actually improves the loaf through the course of those crucial first twenty-four hours. Also, by the way, it contained an appropriate amount of salt—a point upon which my late mother insisted—a vital ingredient, in harmlessly small quantities, that was yet to be targeted by the healthy-heart fundamentalists. In other words, Georges’s chicken sandwich was exactly right, a sandwich of genius, the Koh-i-noor, the Cotopaxi, the Rembrandt, the Concorde of chicken sandwiches. Who, I wonder, was responsible for the Georges chicken sandwich? Could she still be alive? How I miss her artistry, skill, dedication, and how often I have attempted—and failed—to recreate the whole effect in the mad, desperate privacy of my own kitchen, here in New Haven, Conn.


  1. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of post. I am glad that you simply shared with us. Thanks!

  2. Thanks. I am now craving just such a sandwich. :~)