February 18, 2015

Since I think the whole point of a sandwich is that the bread keeps the tasty stuff from making a mess...

... I'm picking Japan as the best of the sandwiches from around the world.

A photo posted by miho (@mu_tan345) on


I explained my position on sandwiches on August 3, 2008 in "The Sandwich Manifesto":
We have gone too long and too far with the evolving meaning of the sandwich. It is time to return to the original intent. John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, may not have been the first person to want his food inside 2 slices of bread, but the thing is certainly named after him, and we know his specific purpose: He didn't want to have to stop what he was doing and he didn't want to get any sloppy meat grease on his playing cards or his books and papers....

[T]he original intent of the sandwich is clear: To take messy food and make it neat and convenient. You want a substantial meal, but you want to have it on a plate over to the side, so you can continue doing something else. You want to be able to reach over without paying attention, pick it up in one hand, and easily take a bite and put it down again. You shouldn't have to use your fingers to poke stray pieces in before you pick it up. No sauce should drip out. You shouldn't have to use both hands and lean over the plate and expect your bite to eject miscellaneous items from the other side of the bread. You hands should remain clean.

Sandwich makers, quit trying to impress me with piles of slippery ingredients uncontrolled by inadequate bread. The bread must be in charge of the filling. Nothing should be falling out. I don't want to struggle with these slovenly concoctions anymore. I don't want the job of reassembling what you have assembled. I want to sit here and type on my laptop keyboard, use my mouse, and eat a meal at the same time without even thinking about grease and drips. This desire traces back through the whole noble tradition of Sandwich, which you need to respect and value.

In the name of the fourth Earl of Sandwich, return to the original intent.
August 3, 2008... that was exactly one year before Meade and I got married. It was our -1 anniversary. The August 3, 2009 post announcing the surprise fact of a just-completed wedding is one of the 89 posts on this blog with the tag "sandwich." ("And now, we're here at Yeti's Grind on Broadway, in Eagle, eating our first food (sandwiches)... as husband and wife.")

And isn't a sandwich the perfect wedding food — the ideal metaphor for marriage. Please reread my "Sandwich Manifesto" in that light.

32 comments:

surfed said...

The "Sandwich Manifesto" sounds like a movie title right out of 1968/69.

Ann Althouse said...

Like "The Strawberry Statement."

The Drill SGT said...

had cold roast beef with cheese, mustard, greens, and tomato on baguette last night for dinner

yum

BDNYC said...

Althouse, that's not the WHOLE point of a sandwich, unless you've been eating bland tasteless bread. Go to a bakery sometime and take in the smells.

Sure, the bread provided structure and stability. But the bread should also contribute flavor and texture.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse, that's not the WHOLE point of a sandwich, unless you've been eating bland tasteless bread. Go to a bakery sometime and take in the smells."

1. I have anosmia, so the suggestion is inapt.

2. I'm not disputing the value of bread — texture, temperature, and taste — but discussing the structure of the combined materials and how the bread should function.

Ann Althouse said...

3. I'm, in fact, putting more value on the bread in proportion to the filling. It's the people who overwhelm the bread who are bothering me.

surfed said...

I'm a bread lover. I've tried to go cold turkey. Cigarettes were easy compared to bread.

BDNYC said...

Tacos aren't exactly the same as sandwiches, but the same issue exists. It's extremely annoying to have to eat a taco with a knife and fork because the taco lacks structural integrity.

But as with overly bready sandwiches, it's possible for the tortilla to overwhelm the fillings, affecting the overall flavor, texture, etc.

Also, anyone who knows anything about tacos will tell you it makes a HUGE difference whether you use store bought or fresh made flour tortillas. It's not even the same league.

The tortilla flavor is crucial. If it's bad, the taco is ruined.

I wouldn't expect a Midwesterner to understand.

Ann Althouse said...

I love bread too, but it doesn't fit the low-carb approach to weight control, which seems nearly essential at this point in life.

Maybe about once a month I have a sandwich, and it's a big treat. Inevitably, I gain a pound that day. So, no more sandwiches for a while.

To me, a sandwich is a very special occasion!

Laslo Spatula said...

The BLT is not a sandwich.

I am Laslo.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

And isn't a sandwich the ... ideal metaphor for marriage.

We have gone too long and too far with the evolving meaning of the sandwich.

This.

Ann Althouse said...

You know what's not a sandwich? The "hot turkey sandwich," that old diner special, with a couple slices of white bread on the plate, then slices of turkey on top and gravy over the whole thing.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So...you're saying an open marriage is not a real marriage?

Laslo Spatula said...

"Open face sandwich' is like 'legless pants'.

I am Laslo.

traditionalguy said...

Shredded donkey meat sandwiches sound good.

Balfegor said...

If you don't want the filling spilling out, a sandwich is not the way to go -- stuff will spill out the sides. That's what dumplings are for. Nikuman and baozi! Or empanadas, I guess, although I don't eat those. You can pick empanadas up with your hands right?

Anonymous said...

People with anosmia should not be opining about how food tastes.

The Japanese sandwich is sushi. It was created for the same purpose as the sandwich.

The BLT is #4 on the list of Great American Sandwiches:
Hamburger, hot dog, hoagie/sub/grinder, BLT, grilled cheese are the top five.
Everyone knows this, so straighten up and fly right, Laslo

JimT Utah said...

Fifty-nine years, ten months, and twenty days ago my bride and I, together with our maid of honor and best man, went from the church on the island to the sandwich shop on Main Street in Potsdam, NY, for our four-person, ten dollar wedding feast.

MadisonMan said...

The problem with non-meat on a sandwich is people load up on it, thinking that they're putting on vegetables and making the sandwich more "healthy" when all they're doing is making a mess.

Meat, mustard and bread. That's all you need. Maybe a dusting of shredded cabbage for a crunch.

Ann Althouse said...

"People with anosmia should not be opining about how food tastes."

I can remember how things taste. I didn't opine on any given food. My topic here is the structure of the object and various practical matters having to do with things falling apart and making a mess.

Also, I didn't have anosmia when I wrote the manifesto.

Meade said...

Now, I've been happy lately,
Thinkin' about the good things to come
And I believe it could be;
Something good has begun.
Oh, I've been smilin' lately,
Dreamin' about the country as one
And I believe it could be;
Some day it's going to come
'Cause out on the edge of darkness,
There rides a Scott train.
Oh, Scott train take this country.
Come take me home again.
Now, I've been smiling lately,
Thinkin' about the good things to come
And I believe it could be;
Something good has begun.
Oh, Scott train soundin' louder.
Glide on the Scott train.
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah.
Come on, now Scott train.
Yes, Scott train holy roller.
Everyone jump on the Scott train.
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah.
Come on, now Scott train.
Get your bags together.
Go bring your good friends too
Because it's gettin' nearer;
It soon will be with you.
Now, come and join the livin'.
It's not so far from you
And it's gettin' nearer;
Soon it will all be true.
Oh, Scott train soundin' louder.
Glide on the Scott train.
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah.
Come on, now Scott train.
Scott train.
Now, I've been cryin' lately,
Thinkin' about the country as it is.
Why must we go on hating?
Why can't we live in bliss?
'Cause out on the edge of darkness,
There rides a Scott train.
Oh, Scott train take this country.
Come take me home again.
Oh, Scott train soundin' louder.
Glide on the Scott train.
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah.
Come on, now Scott train.
Yes, Scott train holy roller.
Everyone jump on the Scott train.
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah.
Come on, come on, come on.
Yeah, come on, Scott train.
Yes, it's the Scott train.
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah.
Come on, now Scott train.
Scott train.
Ooh, ah, ee, ah, ooh, ah.

-by Yusuf Ismeade

Anonymous said...

I guess developing anosmia is like going blind after many years of sighted living... you can remember the taste just as the blind can remember the colors. However, I would not ask that blind person to mix paint for me.

I am truly sorry you have that. I am the opposite. I am a super-taster, a trait that has served me well in my wine-making and cooking activities.

Does anosmia make it easier to diet?

And a sandwich is not a perfect metaphor for marriage. It is a perfect metaphor for a great bachelor's party.

Rusty said...

There's a place in Costa Mesa where you can get your sandwich made between two waffles.
Good stuff.

Ann Althouse said...

"Does anosmia make it easier to diet?"

No. To take that route would be to try to lose interest in food, and I don't want that to happen to me. I look for what works and is good for me, just as a blind person might enjoy movies. Remember that blind film critic guy? He was thrilled with delight about movies. He noticed the sound and could also respond to the way other people responded.

In my case, I have the tastes, just not the smells, so sweet, salty, etc. work. And the feeling of food and drink is very strongly appreciated: texture, temperature, etc.

Alex said...

Ann - if you start lifting heavy weights 5x5, you'll be able to eat all the carbs you want. Now get into the gym and start doing squats, deadlifts, overhead press, compound row and benchpress.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

I call bullshit on your Earl of Sandwich story, Ann.

What we know as a sandwich today was actually invented by the Earl of Shrewsbury and the dastardly Earl of Sandwich stole the idea from him and attached his own name to it.

I learned that back in the 60s from listening to Dick Summers on WBZ.

I sometimes get thrown out of Subways and Quiznos today for demanding that they call their products by the proper name. Submarine Shrewsburies.

I AM NOT A ROBOT!!!! I AM

John Henry

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann - if you start lifting heavy weights 5x5, you'll be able to eat all the carbs you want. Now get into the gym and start doing squats, deadlifts, overhead press, compound row and benchpress."

I'll get right on that....

I'm about pleasure, enjoyment, and beauty... and saving time. I'll walk or ski or skate or something, and I'm willing to do the specific exercises I was given by a physical therapist after an injury, but I'm not going to put my time into burning calories. It's so much more efficient to eat less.

If I wanted to eat more bread, I'd go to the trouble of counting calories. But I don't want that trouble, so I just follow a few rules, and that's it.

Meade said...

Scientific fact: one of the best ways to burn more calories? Stay in bed longer.

Julie C said...

I took my younger son to eat at the Carnegie Deli in New York (home of crazy big sandwiches).

He was probably six years old and dutifully ordered a turkey sandwich. He hadn't noticed the size of the sandwiches at that point.

The look on his face when they put the sandwich in front of him was great. Shock and awe!

Kieth Nissen said...

"Nothing should be falling out." Until a few years ago I would have agreed... then I had a Cuban Pork Sandwich with fried onions. Some rules are made to be broken.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Meade said...

Scientific fact: one of the best ways to burn more calories? Stay in bed longer.

Meade- You Dog!

Douglas said...

Vietnam has awesome sandwiches - perfect French bread combined with Vietnamese flavored pork and veggies and condiments, all heated together, yum.
But a corned beef-on-rye from the Carnegie Deli is hard to beat.