Types of People and their Avocado Toast Topping of choice, Types of Sconnies (and their choice of cheese curd)...What about the food-of-choice for Types of Dads? We all know dads have their strengths and quirks, from the Football Dad who masters the grill to the Poet-Professor Dad who is perpetually holding a bottomless cup of coffee. What would their favorite sandwiches be? Below are six re-imagined sandwiches and the dads that would make them. 

The Overworked Dad [for the one time he has to make lunch]

Overworked Dad knows how to use two kitchen appliances: the microwave and the toaster, but he is resourceful, and determined to use these appliances to maximal potential. This weekend he and his long-gone-college-daughter are picnicking after a hike, so he sacks the refrigerator for whatever his wife has left him by the end of the week. He emerges with half a loaf of bread, some rosemary ham and provolone.

bacon, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce, bread, sandwich
Jocelyn Hsu

Halfway through the construction, he’ll realize he doesn’t have enough ham for two sandwiches and decides to substitute with lettuce (after all, he knows his millennial daughter will approve of the vegetarian-friendly, fat-free alternative). He might even throw the bread into the toaster to impress her. The bread, by the way, is Trader Joe’s Organic Multigrain Bread. He makes no fuss with mayonnaise or mustard.

The sandwich is more bread than filling. A thin slice of ham. A thin slice of provolone. A blocky swatch of lettuce. His daughter still loves it, anyway.

The Handy Dad [built his own car when he was 18 years old]

meat, barbecue, pork, chicken
Christin Urso

Handy Dad knows how to fix anything. He has great thick palms and short stubs for fingers, yet knows his ways around the finest, tiniest circuit boards. Handy Dad buys ciabatta from Costco in the bulk. Sometimes he swings by Costco to swipe the whole-roasted rotisserie chicken, which he brings home and shreds with incredible brusqueness, so different from how he handles his household appliances. Handy Dad then layers the chicken along with roasted red peppers from a jar, Swiss cheese, and spinach onto one slice of ciabatta and throws it open-faced into the toaster oven. When the cheese is all oozy, he places the other slice of ciabatta on top, cuts the sandwich diagonally, and his children whisk the hot sandwiches away.

For his 45th birthday, Handy Dad’s kids buy him a panini press. Sometimes he wraps his sandwich in parchment and tucks it into his panini press instead of placing it into the toaster oven. His kids love the crispiness of the bread and the scored marks made by the panini press. Handy Dad prefers his old rustic style. Back in my day...he begins (the kids groan)...We didn’t have panini presses. We had good ole’ fire stoves.

Get with the times, Dad, says the eldest. Handy Dad smiles and tucks into his sandwich, reply stayed for the moment.

The Looks-20-Years-Younger-Than-He-Is Fit Dad [he doesn’t swear by kombucha but he does make a mean summer roll]

farmer's market, Fresh, natural, Green, Herbs
Caroline Ingalls

Fit Dad loves to run. In the morning when the air has just crisped, before the first line of cars has begun to sprout at the busy intersection at the bridge, Fit Dad is emerging from the woods like they are his original home.

Fit Dad is a quiet photographer. He tends to his herb garden just after he races the morning wind and captures dew on mint leaves in his mechanical lens. Mint is an eager one: the real waiting game is for the basil, which grows hesitantly. When the basil has gone wild, stalks so tall they’ve flopped over, underleaves beginning to rot, he quickly scythes them away, snip snip snip and runs inside to boil some shrimp to make summer rolls.

He never does anything in excess. When he wets the rice paper to make his famous summer roll, he does a quick dip, that is all. When he boils his shrimp he watches for the earliest showings of pink veins and quickly lobs the shrimp out before they toughen, overcooked. He peels ginger with a spoon so as not to waste any of the yellow flesh.

In they go to the food processor: the ginger, the garlic, soy sauce, honey, peanut butter and lime juice. Fit Dad has made this recipe hundreds of times but still tastes as he goes. This time, the lime is milder because it is not in season. He squeezes more into the processor. He blends. He dips a finger in for a second tasting. He nods in satisfaction.

lettuce, salad, vegetable, rice, spring rolls
Jillian Rogers

Fit Dad begins constructing. He lays down lettuce and six different kinds of herbs, some that reminisce of French cooking, like cilantro, others that are Vietnamese, like garlic chives, and some that are an East-West fusion, like Thai Basil. Then he lays down rice noodles, bean sprouts, and rolls everything over once. Against the sticky film of the rice paper he lines shrimp and pork, then rolls again until everything is encased in a translucent wrapper.

Fit Dad sneaks a taste test before he calls his kids into the kitchen, but often they arrive before he’s done chewing, anyway. They know the routine. One dip into peanut sauce and up to the mouth...the crunch of bean sprout and tearing of minty freshness...holding it upright so that the contents don’t spill out. This is how Fit Dad and his kids enjoy Saturday morning.

The Football Dad [the only kitchen appliance he knows how to use is the grill]

lettuce, salad
Izzi Clark

Football Dad makes a mean burger. The key to a good patty? Flavor and a deep meaty undertone. Football Dad doesn’t skimp on the spices or the grease. He uses ground beef with at least 15% of the fat retained, heavily peppers and garlic-ifies the meat, sometimes including cayenne for a kick or Worcestershire for depth of flavor. All these he mixes into the meat before shaping the patty and flipping it onto the grill. Grilling (charring) adds a crispy caramelization that intensifies the smoky flavor.

Kara Schiaparelli

Sometimes Football Dad enlists his sons and daughters to make the caramelized onion that balances out the earthy pattie in tang and in texture. In Kid World, food is always cooked past its prime, but with caramelized goods that is OK—a little charring couldn’t hurt. Some brown sugar here, some vinegar there, and continual stirring fill the kitchen with a sweet oniony fragrance. “How’s the caramelized onions coming along, kids?” he yells from the patio. “Great, Dad,” they say, scraping bits off the bottom of the pan. Football Dad comes inside to layer up the buns (toasted) with mayonnaise, pattie, caramelized onion and arugula or lettuce. He always whizzes up his own mayonnaise. It is easy, takes three ingredients, and tastes much better than the store-bought stuff.

Football Dad loves weekends like Superbowl Sunday when he can invite a crowd and flip burgers all afternoon. Through the screen that leads to the patio, he strains to hear the cries and yelps of dismay or joy echoing from the TV room. You realize that Football Dad spends all his time at the grill to feed his guests and doesn’t actually get to see what’s going on on the football field. For Football Dad, it seems, giving others a good time and good food is more rewarding than any touchdown.

The Stay-At-Home Dad [you’ve never had a TV dinner because dad's basic sandwich recipe is everyone else’s fancy]

butter, fried egg, toast, egg yolk, dairy product, bread, croque madame, egg
Hui Lin

Stay-At-Home Dad owns seven different kinds of cupcake silicone molds for every occasion: heart-shaped, fluted, rose-shaped, skull-shaped, which really come in handy during school bake sales. You could probably use his pantry as the Cutthroat Kitchen™ pre-shop grocery store.

Stay-At-Home Dad enjoys being excessive in simple recipes, such as when egg-on-toast becomes an open-faced Croque Monsieur with arugula salad and black forest ham, complete with a bay-leaf onion infused bechamel sauce [pronounced BÉ-chamel with full-on honey-thick French throat action].

dairy product, milk
Kai Huang

In Stay-At-Home Dad’s construction of the croque monsieur, he uses his same-day home-baked multigrain bread because, in his words, “the texture and nuttiness of the bread complements the smoothness of the bechamel and the richness of the runny yolk.” His bechamel is an infused milk thickened with time on the stove and a tablespoon of flour, which he alternates with slices of forest ham. He tops it off with a crispy fried egg, yolk still soft, and serves some fresh peppery arugula on the side and a bright translucent wedge of lemon.

The Writer-Poet-Professor Dad [left hand permanently glued to a cup of coffee]

black coffee, tea, milk, mocha, cappuccino, espresso, coffee
Rebecca Buechler

In the morning, Poet-professor Dad requires two amenities: a strong black coffee and his breakfast sandwich. It begins with a buttery croissant from the local bakery which his wife stocks up on the weekend before. He slices this in half with a tall knife and layers it with bacon, eggs, and pan-roasted tomatoes.

The whole process is as fine as art, as routine as Poet-professor Dad’s life. The butterflying and laying bare of the croissant: The unfolding of newspaper and daily perusal of the Book Review section of the Times. The frying of the bacon in a hot pan, no extra oil: The opening of the email and the perennial flooded feeling of seeing twenty unread emails accumulated in the inbox. The whipping and scrambling of farm-fresh eggs: The rapidly flying fingers racing at the keyboard to reply to invitations, schedule appointments, and entertain clueless students. The tomatoes browning and plumping up in the corner of the bacon pan: The poems that lay waiting in his moleskin, maturing in the back of his mind as he attends to more urgent things.

buttery, flaky, basket, bread, sweet, pastry, croissant, dough, butter
Julia Gilman

Poet-professor Dad always cuts his croissant-sandwich in half so that the tomato leaks its juices, and he demolishes sandwich from center to end. He always ends up with a little egg dribbled down his shirt. Sometimes he forgets to check for it. The students that notice it say nothing. The students that are too sleep-deprived to notice it he tells to get some rest, though everyone knows that the cup of coffee in his hand is bottomless. Poet-Professor Dad never strays from his breakfast sandwich. Twenty-five years and it has been the same croissant, the same bacon, the same vine-ripened tomatoes. Sometimes he changes up the eggs, fries them sunny-side up. This, his daughter tells him as she snaps pictures of his sandwich deconstructed, lends better aesthetic. He nods, though his mind is full of epics, words, and poetry.