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Set just about anything on any type of bread and you've made a sandwich. But credit for "inventing" the sandwich goes to the Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792). It is said that he couldn't bear to leave the gambling table, so he brought his meals right to the table between slices of bread. It caught on. Today sandwiches are one of the world's most popular forms of food.

To make an easy-to-eat sandwich, just make sure that all the ingredients are securely enclosed by 2 slices of bread, wrapped in a tortilla, or stuffed into a pita. If the sandwich is made of many small ingredients, spread the bread with a thick dressing such as mayonnaise or mustard to help "glue" the ingredients together. Toasting the bread can prevent a soggy sandwich.

When required to make sandwiches ahead, spread bread with butter or cream cheese to keep wet ingredients from making the bread soggy. Also, pack high-moisture ingredients, such as tomato, lettuce, and cucumber, separately. Add them to the sandwich just before eating. To keep moist sandwich spreads such as tuna or chicken salad from touching the bread until just before eating, place a sheet of plastic wrap between the filling and the bread on both sides. Just before eating, remove each slice of bread and peel off the plastic.

Sometimes, sandwiches need to be frozen. Wrap them in individual sandwich bags or plastic wrap, then wrap them again in bundles of no more than 3 or 4 in a freezer bag or foil marked with the contents and date. Freeze up to 2 weeks. Avoid freezing sandwiches that include mayonnaise, cheese, or fresh vegetables because these ingredients may separate during thawing. To use frozen sandwiches for lunch, just remove individual sandwiches from the freezer in the morning. Do not refrigerate. They will thaw by lunchtime.

Leftover cooked meats, fish, or grains make quick sandwich fillings. Grains such as rice work particularly well in wrap sandwiches, using pita as the bread. Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped cored apple and 2 chopped toasted walnuts to 3/4 cup chicken salad to flavor a chicken salad sandwich.

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