It’s hot out. Which means we’re anxious to play hooky and eat ice cream on the beach. Or float in the pool for a few hours, cocktail in hand. Really we’ll take any combination of water, sun and frozen drinks.

One thing that doesn’t sound particularly awesome: turning the oven on.

To that end, the sandwich has become a staple of our diet. And The Banh Mi Handbook, which came out last month from Andrea Nguyen, has become our bible.

We’ve long loved the powerful balance of flavors that this Vietnamese classic provides: a perfect blend of fat, meat, pickles and veggies, and pungent seasoning. Nguyen’s tome explodes that formula, in combinations that have given us fodder for endless beach picnics. This week’s roll was slathered with butter, piled high with pickled red cabbage and sliced peppers, and loaded up with squid from this week’s box, which we sautéed and dosed in Maggi sauce; next week, we’ll be sandwiching slices of steak with pickled shallots and fresh mayonnaise made according to Nguyen’s recipes.

From spreads to fillings and back again, this beautifully photographed and efficiently designed title is a helpful muse for the oven-off season.

Buy The Banh Mi Handbook

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