The making of a sandwich, the dawn of a sandwich-y revolution

Right about noon on Thursday, I found myself knee-deep in a familiar predicament: I’d forgotten to bring anything to work with me suitable for lunch-time consumption.  What was I do? Scrounge from desk to desk, begging for ancient granola bars ferretted away in desk drawers for emergency use only?  Ignore the roiling pangs of hunger growling in my stomach until they reached such a cacophony that my coworkers might have to ask who brought the Big Bad Wolf to work? Or should I have inflicted my righteous state of “hangry” (hungry + angry) upon unsuspecting passers-by,  indistinguishable from Joe Pesci from that Snickers commercial?  Well, indistinguishable except, I guess, that I’m taller and a little more, um, stout.

Anyway, since none of those options seemed like a good plan for either my career or human society as a whole, I decided my best choice was to walk a block down the street and pick up a sandwich.  Satisfied that I’d settled on a reasonable course of action, I acquired a sandwich of my liking: turkey on rye, tomato, lettuce, and a healthy smear of strong mustard.  Yes, mustard. Because mayo is gloopy and wrong, dammit. Wrong, I say.

Mayo is for the weak.

Anyway, when I returned to my desk with said goodness-between-sliced-bread, I unwrapped it with glee in joyful anticipating of slaying my beastly early afternoon hunger.

And then I was wracked with disappointment.  Because, like so many times in the past, my sandwich was fundamentally flawed.  Sure, sure, it’d probably taste fine, but some bites would be so enormous I wouldn’t be able to fit my mouth around them, while others would be little but a mouthful of dry, toasted bread.  And that assumes the thing didn’t disintegrate in my hands two bites in, meat and tomatoes exploding out the rear triangular flap like a tube of toothpaste squeezed via Sledge-O-Matic.

So, of course, I did what most any normal person does in 2013. I took my privileged, whiny, #firstworldproblems complaint immediately to twitter:

Of course, I was not surprised that the interwebs flocked to support my rant against sandwich tyranny.  Many, many people agreed and spread my message of sandwich-building hope. Like, probably even 5 altogether. I’m disappointed, though, that as of yet, no one has contacted me to discuss plans to open such a delicatessen. But it’s only been a couple of days, I guess. These things probably take time. Like winemaking. And publishing.

Man, I should probably get some hobbies that don’t require patience. Anybody have any suggestions?

At any rate, tweet-enable tirade aside, I had planned to use this topic for a Weekend Debate, but now that I think about it, there’s obviously nothing to debate here. Poor deli sandwich construction is a travesty. Thoughts and/or opinions to the contrary are invalid.

With that in mind, then, let’s all go out this weekend and make ourselves some awesome, well-built sandwiches.

And try not to break anything.


4 thoughts on “The making of a sandwich, the dawn of a sandwich-y revolution

  1. I’m on your band wagon, my friend. As a former professional sub sandwich maker (and not at one of those cheap-assed chain “sub” stores–we’re talking a real, independent, college town sub shop), I feel your pain. As a witness to your recent lunch rant, I’m here to say to you, “I’m annoyed as heck and I may not take it any more.”
    But that’s probably more about having to go on a low-carb diet due to recent cardiac events than any kind of real willingness to step up and do something, like write to congress, or apply for a small business loan, or anything. But at any rate, I’ll probably just wad up my salami and eat it with my fingers for a while in support of your mission, okay?


    1. Your salami-based contribution to the “Rebuild the Sandwich” campaign is not greatly appreciated, it’s just as likely to result in any actual change as any of that other stuff you mentioned. Because, you know, reality. But your support is invaluable. Now, then, can I get a piece of that salami?


  2. Jason, you know I’m a fan, so I’ll keep this short and sweet… I grew up among a number of New York-style kosher delicatessens in my hometown of Pittsburgh and all sandwiches were always served with the construction you describe.

    The thinking is that the diner will bite at the middle of the bread slice and that the filling will be re-distributed across the slice by the pressure of that force. In other words, the force generated by your jaws is intended to spread it uniformly across the bread.

    If you want to get REALLY cultural, folks in my neighborhood tended to grow up frugal and one learned at an early age to guard one’s food. Since the protein is the most essential fuel component, one learns to consume it first. No delicate nibbles at the outside crust like they do at an English tea, we’re talkin’ about the peasant classes here: you scarf it down before somebody comes along and threatens to tear it out of your grasp!

    It’s about the cultural mindset and the fact that some of these places were run by folks who were barely more than 1 generation removed from the Old Country…

    I trust this answers your question. Please enjoy your Summer!


    1. I have to tell you, your comment completely mad my day! I love learning that practices that otherwise seem strange and illogical to be actual have a very reasonable, significant basis in cultural history. Thanks for enlightening me. Of course, I still want a more stable sandwich. 🙂


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