Hosted by Arnold in partnership with the Philadelphia Fire Department, the sandwiches were judged by Davison, a personal fitness trainer as well as a firefighter, and Christine Palumbo, a registered dietician from the suburbs of Chicago.
Palumbo, who judged Arnold's Healthy Sandwich Challenge in Chicago, chose the three semi-finalists, based on the sandwiches' nutritional value. They needed to combine lean protein and veggies, be low-fat or high in healthy fats, and low sodium.
Two of the three semi-finalists, Hamlet and Andrea Amato of Upper Darby (the third, Tammy Budd of Pottstown, mysteriously did not show up for Tuesday's competition), stood in front of a fire truck in the sweltering heat, wrapped in Arnold Healthy Bread aprons, waiting for the judging to begin. Large speakers blared country music, provided by the radio station WXTU.
Mark Radziewicz, known as Razz on the Radio from 7 p.m to midnight on WXTU, announced the start of the judging.
Taking one bite of each of the three sandwiches - Curry Mayo and Apple, Mediterranean Tuna Salad, and Sprouts, Pepper, and Muenster - Davison and Palumbo chewed thoughtfully, marked their judging sheets, and took long sips of water between bites.
Hamlet stood in for her sister, Lauren Wood of Levittown, who entered the contest. The two work together and she said their boss introduced them to the curry mayo and apple sandwich.
"We frowned upon it until we tasted it," Hamlet said.
When they heard about the sandwich competition, they decided to enter their own version of the boss' sandwich. Wood and Hamlet substituted mesquite smoked turkey and put all the fillings between two slices of Arnold's Natural Wheat bread, as the contest mandated.
Arnold is donating $2,000 to the Philadelphia Fire Department's Citizens' Fire Prevention Committee as part of the promotion.
The three semi-finalists received a year's worth of bread and the winner was awarded a $500 gift card to Acme supermarket, a pair of tickets to Keith Urban and Toby Keith concerts. Hamlet and Wood will share the tickets, and Hamlet said she hopes maybe her sister will share some of the grocery money, too. And their boss? She may get some of the bread, Hamlet said.
CURRY MAYO AND APPLE SANDWICH
Mesquite smoked turkey
Curry mayonnaise (mix curry to taste)
Thinly sliced apple
Thinly sliced avocado
Spread mayonnaise on bread, then stack turkey, sprouts, apples and sliced avocado. Dig in.