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Cookbook Review: Insanewiches... Are They?

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Thu, Aug 4, 2011 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge insanewiches_book.jpg
Insanewiches. Yeah, we know. The burger cover image with a tongue. The title. And the more than frightening recipes. Did we mention the subtitle? 101 Ways to Think Outside the Lunchbox. This is not a kid-centric sort of publication. Confused? So were we.

And yet, this just-released book is oddly (dare we admit?) addictive. One that seems happy to deserve that negative food adjective -- addiction -- because it's all about campy, ridiculous fun.

Or, fine. We really just like that Rubik's Cubewich (perfectly cubed pastrami, kielbasa, pork belly - for the white square - cheddar, and rye) that ignited the website by blogger Adrian Fiorino, founder of Insanewiches.com. And no, we're not going to eat that "cosmo martiniwich" with a soggy pureed cranberry muffin in the bottom of the glass and a cruller languishing on top as the garnish. Other than the toothpick-pierced cranberry and perfectly sliced lime wheel, it's really just your everyday crappy bar cocktail with a side Happy Hour sandwich.

click to enlarge Edible Games - INSANEWICHES.COM
  • insanewiches.com
  • Edible Games
Which is to say that no, you probably should not buy this book for your fantastically great home cook friend who frequents the weekday farmers market whenever the boss so happens to have an early morning meeting. Smart friend. But that the "flip-phone cellwich" (an oblong cell phone-shaped rye bread sandwich with pastrami and Swiss cheese rectangle "key pads" with a white bread sandwich flip-top), is still front and center in the 'Whichy Woman chapter (yeah, we're trying not to think too hard about any references there, either) is pretty hilarious. And the "married sausages" sandwich is the expected pigs-in-a-blanket composition (only here, the link sausages are resting on a pillowy white bread bed).

And "compositions" are exactly what these are. Not recipes. Sure, there are instructions for making that "dumbbell diet-wich" made of circular-cut whole grain bread, cheese and tofu (the dumbbell weights) speared with a breadstick "bar" through the center. But we're not exactly going to make an edible dumbbell, or a face-shaped "beaming carrot top sandwich" with the expected elementary school red bell pepper smile, cherry tomato nose, and olive green eyes.

Yeah, this is a hokey and sure, overdone, book. We're not even convinced we'd give it the luxury of a "campy" precursor. But hey, this is a blogger's cookbook based on a blog popular enough for a major publisher to take notice, "sumo sandwich," chubby meat patty and all. Suffice it to say the "Resource" reference section on the last page is all of ten sentences long.

And so we hope you enjoy that "spaghetti and greaseball" -- exactly what is sounds like. Homemade spaghetti and meatballs on Italian sourdough. Otherwise known as a meatball sandwich.

Yeah, another old-yet-suddenly-new novel concept. Welcome to the new cookbook/blog partnership publishing era.

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