Photos by Claire Lower
There are many ways to make a sandwich, and many ways to wrap one. But which sandwich swaddling does the best job of keeping your brown-bagged lunch fresh? And does the wrapping material really matter that much?
The only thing sadder than opening your lunchbox to find a soggy sandwich is opening your kid's lunchbox at the end of the day to find a completely untouched one. Thankfully, you can prevent soggy, disappointing lunchbox sandwiches by making them with frozen bread.
To get to the bottom of this delicious dilemma, I wrapped four small ham and cheese sandwiches — actually, four portions of the same ham sandwich — in four common sandwich swathings: baking paper, wax paper, aluminium foil and a plastic sandwich bag. I then put them in the fridge overnight, and ate them for lunch the next day, for comparison.
As you can see from the above slideshow, the sandwich wrapped in baking paper seemed to keep its shape the best, but only slightly. The sandwiches that were wrapped in wax paper or put in a plastic bag were the soggiest, most likely due to the lack of porosity in the materials and the one wrapped in aluminium foil fell in the middle.
Not only was the sandwich wrapped in parchment less soggy, it tasted the best too. The lettuce seemed crisper and the ingredients tasted fresher.
It is worth noting that, besides altering the wrapping material, I did nothing else to prevent sandwich sogginess — in fact, I purposely used soft, cheap bread to invite it. Baking paper can help keep your sandwich fresher longer, but it's only one factor.
To stave off sandwich sog, you can apply a hydrophobic spread to the bread, keep watery condiments and fillings in the middle, or make them on frozen bread. You should probably also pick a sturdier bread than plain ol' white.
That helps a lot.