Since 2010, November has always brought with it the first opportunity since the previous December to wrap my chubby little chops around a Christmas-themed sandwich during my lunch hour. As you can tell, I'm something of a lunchtime gourmet when I venture into the office.
Imagine my delight when today, after two weeks of eagerly looking, I finally spotted the Christmas butties
neatly haphazardly displayed on the chiller shelf in Sainsbury's Local. There was just one Turkey Feast left which I quickly discounted; I never fancy the 'last turkey' of anything in a shop. Thankfully, my greedy little eyes spotted a few boxes of turkey with pigs under blankets left, so I practically shoulder-barged out of the way the dithering shopper in front of me and made a grab for one.
I thought it would be a good choice with which to open my Christmas sandwich account for 2017. Turkey with pigs under blankets has been one of my go-to Christmas sandwiches for the last two or three years and it's always a safe(ish) bet (to the extent that any of them are).
I noticed that the box design has received an overhaul for this year; it now sports a bright pink exterior with a few seasonal stars (of Bethlehem perhaps?) which, I thought at the time, gave it a hint of cheeky sophistication and sass. (Incidentally - I've always been a sucker for nicely-presented tat.) So, as I mooched my way towards the self-service checkouts -- I mean, why interact with another human if you can possibly avoid it? -- I thought: “oooooh – this is going to be a belter of a sandwich”. Or, as I saw on a pub sign in the run-up to Christmas last year, "It's [going to be] like Christmas in your mouth!!". Whatever that means.
Note: this box is last year’s get-up. I couldn’t find a picture of the new one and I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo of the box myself.
However, my excitement was short-lived. Once I got back to the office and finally made a start on my eagerly-anticipated lunch, I was disappointed. The sandwich wasn't sassy. It was stale.
The disappointment that hit me when I finally wrapped my chops around what turned out to be a miserable excuse for a sandwich is hard to convey. It's a truly galling experience when, after a fortnight of excited anticipation, you realise after the first gobfull that your supposed Christmassy sandwich is utter shite.
So, what was wrong exactly? Well - the sausages weren't flavoursome, the cranberry sauce was insipid being neither sweet nor sharp, the turkey was largely absent and to the extent it was there, was dry, the bacon was rubbery and un-bacon-like and the bread might have been fresh sometime last week, but it certainly wasn't today. Put frankly, it was wrong in just about every way a turkey, bacon and sausage sandwich could be wrong. And, to add insult to injury, I was left with a few pence of the tawdry excuse for meat stuck in my lower left third molar for the rest of the afternoon.
Trying to force that sandwich down was somewhat akin to, I should imagine, eating a curious assortment of flavourless cardboard pieces squidged lazily between two slices of stale bread. And it cost me £2.35.
Let's hope things improve when I try a 2017 version of the Turkey Feast. Because one thing's for sure: I won't be giving the pigs under blankets a second chance this year.