Sandwich Party 2: An important part of any sandwich experience.
So much like the last Sandwich Party, life conspired to keep me away from making anything truly innovative or memorable (though I did make a couple of really awesome fluffernutters the other day... got the peanut butter and fluff proportions just perfect, which is trickier than you'd think), so I figured I'd bring the chips.
unfulfilling experience, isn't it? Sure, the sandwich may still be okay, but you can never rid yourself of the feeling that something was missing. And if you wind up with bad chips - say they're stale, or they're just a kind you don't care for - that can ruin even the best of sandwiches, too, to the point where that's probably all you'll end up remembering about your lunch.
"How was your lunch, Bob?" a co-worker will ask, assuming your name is Bob.
"Well, Larry," you'll reply, which will be a lot less confusing if his or her name actually is Larry, "I ate just about the worst chips you could ever imagine." And Larry, having grown up in Maine and therefore knowing the misfortune awaiting in every bag of Humpty Dumpty brand Downeast Clam Dip favored potato chips, can imagine some pretty bad chips, and will nod his head knowingly in commiseration.
And I don't know how you folks live, but around my house, chips play sandwich ingredient just as often as they do sandwich sidekick. In fact, I would probably estimate that between the years of 1985 and 1992, almost every sandwich I ate had some variety of chip wedged into the middle, whether it be a fancy deli Italian* sandwich or a humble PB&J. It gives the sandwich a very satisfying crunchiness that it usually lacks; adds a little extra texture, too. It makes things a little more fun, and it's certainly efficient.** Choose your chip stuffing wisely, though, as poorly chosen chips can send a sandwich south pretty quickly. I find corn chips work really well with ham and bologna (Fritos working especially well with the balogna). Your better deli sandwiches really need good potato chips. And if you're brave enough to stuff chips into a peanut butter sandwich, also stick with potato. I always enjoyed using Cape Cod chips in peanut butter sandwiches, though I know some people who think it sounds too salty to even attempt. I recommend it, though.
(Never use Cool Ranch Doritos in a PB&J, though. If you learn nothing else from me, learn that.)
In short, there's a reason why every single sandwich joint in the world tries to sell you a bag of chips with their lunch (and why the better ones outright give you chips). If the parts of a sandwich are the Beatles, than the chips are Ringo. Not always the most visible member, nor the one known for making the greatest creative contributions, but possessing of a charm that some people really enjoy, does well on the rare occasion in the spotlight, and brings the rest of the ensemble together in a way that would be noticeably missing otherwise.
And face it, you can't have a party of any kind - especially not a sandwich party - without a big bowl of chips!
* Replace with sub, hero, hoagie, grinder, or whatever regional name you use as necessary.
** I'm pretty sure this is the thought process behind KFC Famous Bowls, too.