The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches: Recipes, History, and Trivia for Everything Between Sliced Bread , by Susan Russo. Published by Quirk Books, 2011.
First impressions: Although sandwiches aren't typically something I'd consult a cookbook to make, the variety of options in this book definitely gets my creative juices flowing. From classic recipes to dessert sandwiches and retro ideas, I couldn't help but read the blurbs about each one. Primanti sandwiches, the classic Pittsburgh beef, cheese and fries combination, were named after its creator Joe Primanti. Egg salad sandwiches started showing up in cookbooks as early as 1896. Who knew?
Number of recipes: 110
The angle: Each sandwich is presented with a description blurb covering its origins, a recipe, and a close-up photograph. Some are more informative than others; while it's helpful to know what a tea sandwich is, for example, there isn't space in this book to cover more than one variety.
The other stuff: The book also details recipes for homemade accompaniments to sandwiches like homemade tartar sauce and olive salad for Muffulettas.
Strengths: The bright photos for each sandwich are a big plus for me: they show each recipe in all its stacked glory. Recipes are straight forward and this book is great way to look up those sandwiches you've heard of but never quite known how to make. In my case, I was interested to see the pepper and egg and Cubano sandwiches.
Recipes for right now: The Elvis, the classic peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwich, is a recipe for anytime in my life. I'm also looking forward to making the open faced prosciutto and fig and the pulled pork sandwiches. And what's not to love about an old fashioned Sloppy Joe?
Recommended? This is a great book for anyone stumped for lunch ideas. While I'm still unsure I'll use it frequently, as soon as I picked it up I had ideas for lunch (and dinner and snack!) sandwiches that will keep me cooking for weeks.
• Buy the book: The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches: Recipes, History, and Trivia for Everything Between Sliced Bread by Susan Russo , $12.39 (Amazon)
• Related: Celebrate Sandwiches! Scanwiches' Unique Perspective
(Images: Matt Armendariz)