LUV – Any variation of the fare on offer at your local branch of INGEST or Acheter à Déjeuner is a boon, isn’t it?
Rather than settling for latex cheese and silken lettuce within a palate-shredding baguette, you spy a red box bearing a concoction that offers not turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce – oh no – but free range, British turkey; artisanal, herb-festooned stuffing; and organic, port-enlivened cranberry sauce.
For once, you approach the ceaselessly flamboyant Macarena-ing sandwichistas behind the counter with something less than twitching rage. Cosy Christmas mastications are mere seconds away!
You repair to the dining area where, giddy, you barely register that you must eat at a table seemingly decorated in the very same crumbs you left yesterday. You know you’ll need to delicately peel apart the two halves of sandwich while praying that the bread doesn’t rip, but today, oh holy day, you look forward to it.
And then, as you revel in the glory of a dubstep Jingle Bells that threatens to prize apart your coronal suture, you tuck in.
It tastes so good (or is it just different? You decide not to dwell) you forget that, with the heating set to Brazilian and the door mystifyingly wedged open, you are somehow simultaneously sweaty hot and shivery cold.
An amphetamine-charged maitre de sandwich lurches into your personal space, grabs your spent red box and Lambadas away, clearing not a single crumb. Just for today, you don’t even fantasise about severing his hamstrings with secateurs.
– Stuart Waterman
HAT – What rot. The sandwich shop Christmas special is an insidious prick. It turns up in mid-September, looming in Pret way too early like a creepy uncle at a 16th birthday party, flaunting its prickish gaudy festive packaging and dripping its prickish poultry transfats into the salad nicoises. Worse, it’s a charming prick; we puny humans don’t stand a chance against its solid meat sex appeal, so end up with three months of a sage-and-onion-fragranced sweat-sheen and the complexion and loose stools of a medieval king.
But don’t hate them for that. Or because of the endless lifestyle supplement kooky comparison taste tests culminating in Vice testing their durability as projectiles on a whimsical trebuchet. Don’t even hate them because they taste like someone’s spread some jam on cardboard, wrapped it in a damp flannel and spunked in it.
Hate them because you’re probably eating one right now, and where are you? At your desk? Slumped in Greggs? About to trudge round a shopping centre trying not to make eye contact with a borderline psychotic wanting to sell you nPower or an exfoliator made of beaks? Feel warm and festive, do you? No. Every bite is a weak squirt of Christmas homoeopathy, a shadow of better times, a bitter reminder that you’ve still got the whole of December ahead of you and that means at some point you’re going to have to deal with Yodel. It’s not Christmas yet. Eat some quinoa and simmer down.
– Julia Blyth