If you thought perhaps that none other than the King himself, Elvis, invented the artery-clogging deep-fried sandwich, then you'll have to think again. It may be his hefty, burning, burning hunks of love - those deep-fried Peanut Butter and Banana favourites that he enjoyed before he left the building permanently that sticks in everyones suspicious minds, but their history seems to go way down back in time. According to Fanny, it was another kind of 'royalty' altogether, and possibly not who you'd be expecting. I won't be cruel, but the hot-headed woman in question, was Fanny's mother-with-the-wooden-heart, Bijou.
So the story goes, Fanny's mother was arranging another wedding (presumably this happened a great deal) at their humble house for an orphaned member of the family. Fanny was the Bridesmaid. Her mother and the cook were at logger-heads about the buffet, even though her mother had trained this 'country born cook' she appeared to have quite different ideas for catering. The cook insisted that Fanny's mothers plan would not contain enough food for the guests. Her mother was adamant it would. Rage ensued, until strangely Fanny's mother, not normally one to surrender, 'gave in' and trays of sandwiches were made...
Needless to say, a vast amount of disconsolate, curl-edged caviar sandwiches remained after the last guest had left. However, instead of crying in the chapel, Fanny's mother suggested to the crestfallen country cook 'it's now or never' so whip up a thinnish fritter batter, pass each sandwich through it, drop them into hot smoking fat to fry them, and serve them with a lemon sauce. Delicious. There we go, no wastage. Although, quite who they were being served to we will never know, presumably the 'household' the next day? That'll teach 'em.
Fanny of course is not suggesting that we must use caviar sandwiches here, any old residue from a mixed package will do. For example, Fanny herself made up sandwiches for one of the assistants who was out all day driving, but when they returned so did the sandwiches, untouched. Apparently during this long day of driving, he went into a pub for a glass of beer and happened to run into a friend who invited him for luncheon, so the sandwiches remained uneaten. Perhaps if a little less conversation had occurred, and a little more munching these sandwiches would not have been returned to sender. Fanny made Dianne and Sally cut them into small triangles and fry them up, just as Fanny's mother had for his latest flame.
I haven't catered for a wedding, or bumped into friends randomly in the pub, so I am lacking in a tray of curled-up sandwiches. So, supermarket versions will have to suffice. Fanny's batter is delightful. Whisk up an egg yolk, add the juice of a lemon, seasoning, melted butter and then some flour. Whisk up the egg white separately and fold it in for a thinnish and very light and airy batter. I cut my Cheese and Onion and slightly more upmarket Brie and Grape efforts into small triangles and fry until golden. They look smashing. I can't help falling in love with the Cheese and Onion ones. The Brie and Grape were perhaps a poor choice, who wants deep-fried lettuce? Fanny says that her mothers deep-fried sandwiches are like a 17th Century recipe for a cure for corns, which promised that they would 'swiftlie vanyshe'. It may not be the most appetising note to end on, but she was right. They are little devils in disguise, oh yes they are.