A Texas A&M University study shows that we Americans eat more than 200 sandwiches a year, which is a tribute to our creativity. Which naturally leads to this: It's time for the fourth annual Make That Sandwich Recipe Contest, sponsored by Mezzetta, a Napa Valley-based purveyor of olives, peppers and other condiments.
Home cooks, you can submit your original recipes at www.makethatsandwich.com in any (or all) of the categories - cold sandwich, hot sandwich and vegetarian sandwich - from now through Sept. 5 (Labor Day). The top prize is $25,000 and a "culinary trip and tour of the Napa Valley for two."
For inspiration, look at Mezzetta's database of sandwiches; click on "Sandwich Recipes" at the website. For still more inspiration, you might consult "The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches by Susan Russo (Quirk, $18.95, 300 pages).
This year, Mezzetta will invite the public to choose the grand-prize winner from the 10 contest finalists, via online voting. That is, after the Mezzetta judges have pick the finalists, based on certain criteria. Online voting will begin after the entry portion of the contest closes on Sept. 5.
Still more: The Celebrity Chef Sandwich Charity Challenge is a co-category involving "eight culinary masters" whose sandwiches are now in competition (voting is open at the website). The winner will get to choose a charity that will receive a $10,000 donation.
Among the chefs are two from San Francisco: David Bazirgan, executive chef at the Fifth Floor restaurant (with an open-face grilled eggplant tartine sandwich); and Jeffrey Saad, host of the Cooking Channel's "The United Tastes of America" (with a variation on the classic Cuban sandwich).
Specialty-foods producer Mezzetta opened its doors in 1935 in San Francisco's historic North Beach.