National Stress Awareness Day is celebrated on Nov. 3 each year, though there’s little to celebrate about stress. You’ll occasionally hear procrastinating newspaper columnists say that “deadline stress” spurs writing creativity. That’s just an excuse to binge-watch sci-fi with the dog, then quickly throw together some half-baked hooey about unofficial holidays.

Congress has not declared Stress Awareness Day a national holiday. The International Stress Management Association, a registered charity, promotes the annual event to remind us that chronic stress leads to impaired cognitive and physiological functions.

We’ve all become aware of stress in the last 20 months. I need not list our litany of anxieties. Let’s just say that we all have faced unique challenges that have mangled our nerves, given us agita, and WE ALL COULD USE A LITTLE PEACE AND QUIET!

There. I feel better.

As it happens, today is also National Sandwich Day. There is something comforting about a sandwich. Many of us remember the daily PB&J and Oreo in our school lunch boxes.

Sandwiches are uncomplicated. No special equipment is needed, unless you’re making a fancy European sandwich like a croque monsieur or panini. The Almighty has already supplied us with the eating utensils. Sandwiches stimulate touch as well as taste.

The “Eat This” website lists America’s top 15 sandwiches, starting with grilled cheese, followed by grilled chicken, turkey, roast beef, ham, BLT, club, any sandwich containing bacon, PB&J, pulled pork, tuna, egg salad, meatball, Reuben, and French dip. It’s a mouthwatering list, but something’s missing. Isn’t a hamburger a sandwich?

A Massachusetts court had to decide what a sandwich is, in a case filed by Panera Bread against its strip-mall landlord. The lease gave Panera the exclusive right to sell sandwiches at the mall. When the landlord gave a lease to Qdoba, a Mexican fast food chain, Panera filed suit. Judge Jeffrey Locke looked in Webster’s Dictionary and took testimony from a Department of Agriculture official and a chef — like sandwiches require chefs — and ruled:

“A sandwich is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans.”

This proves once again that Massachusetts doesn’t know beans about Mexican food. What about tortas?

Qdoba was allowed to operate in the mall. On the bright side, the case was a small victory for diversity, equity and inclusion in mall cuisine.

Ethnically, the Massachusetts definition of “sandwich” is way too narrow. If you hold it to eat it and it has some form of bread on the outside, it should count as a sandwich. A torta is clearly a sandwich, as are falafel-stuffed pitas, hot dogs in buns, báhn mi, naan, shwarma, cheesesteaks, muffulattas, and wraps.

If you’re feeling stressed, and who isn’t, grab some bread and make a BLT, PB&J, or grilled cheese. The simplicity and nostalgia will help you remember better times. believes in the healing power of homemade food, but doesn’t want to overstress the point.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

More Stories