ants illo by lisa.loo77.
So, writers crave reubens and grilled cheese, while Paddington lives for marmalade (never mind that a sandwich stored under his hat for weeks could be misshapen, soggy and covered with fur).
Harriet the Spy favored tomato sandwiches, Wimpy scrounged hamburgers, and of course, Elvis noshed on peanut butter, banana and bacon.
A sandwich is a sandwich is a sandwich.
photo by keaggy.com.
Ever since John Montague, Fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), wanted to eat while gambling without getting his hands greasy (thereby indirectly "inventing" the modern-day sandwich), the ingenious practice of placing fillings of meat, veggies, or almost anything between slices of bread has captured the minds, hearts, and appetites of people all over the world.
In the U.S. alone, 300 million of these beauties are consumed each day, with cool names like hero, hoagie, monte cristo, croque-monsieur, butty, panini, fluffernutter, po’ boy, submarine, and mother-in-law. I’m willing to bet that if you thought about it for a moment, you could associate a type of sandwich for each stage of your life, or most every place you’ve ever been.
My childhood in Hawai’i was punctuated with tuna, bologna, and luncheon meat – white bread sandwiches with lots of mayo (mustard was reserved strictly for hot dogs). I remember the thrill of discovering the french dip in high school and meatball subs in college. It wasn’t until I moved to England that I encountered those dainty, crustless tea sandwiches, little mouthfuls so "civilized," I positively waxed poetic after each bite.
photo by SatrinaO.
When I ventured to Japan for the first time one summer, I happily devoured my fair share of vegetable sandwiches; they were so light and refreshing, a total surprise in a place where I expected nothing but white rice. A trip to Cape Cod (LOVE that place) yielded an ecstatic eyes-roll-back-in-the-head liaison with a sumptuous Provincetown "lobstah" roll. I can still remember that beautiful sunny day, the little restaurant full of chatter and chew, the lightly toasted bread, the fresh, succulent chunks of lobster married to creamy dreamy dressing. *swoon*
Just last November, when Len and I flew up to NYC to see Dylan, we wandered into the Stage Deli, where humongous sandwiches are named after famous patrons. Ah, the mountains of pastrami, corned beef, turkey, salami, swiss cheese, smoked ham and tongue (ergh)!
photo by mooshee85.
Seriously. Where would we be without the Italian sub, the Jewish deli, those post-Thanksgiving hot turkey sandwiches drowning in gravy, ballpark hotdogs, the all-American burger on the 4th of July, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches lovingly tucked into lunch boxes and brown bags? Could there be a more intimate way of eating — cradling fresh bread in hand, bread that encloses, caresses, complements, and protects its filling to the last bite?
photo by mooshee85.
Though one’s preferences are influenced to some extent by region, ethnicity, age, and family traditions, it’s fun to consider whether they could also be connected to something more emotional, like personality. Recently, Best Foods/Hellmann’s commissioned a study* conducted by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. About 2700 participants were given a battery of pychiatric/personality tests, and then asked which sandwich they preferred from among these eight: club, chicken salad, tuna, seafood salad, egg salad, BLT, turkey, and ham and cheese.
After the results were correlated, the following profiles were established by Dr. Alan Hirsch and his team. (Widely popular favorites like PB&J and grilled cheese were not among the choices, because they would skew results.) Select your fave of the eight listed, then see if the profile fits. Is it true that tuna lovers are aggressive and achievement oriented, or that egg salad people like to be the center of attention? And which other sandwich types are you most romantically compatible with?
THE CLUB: Individuals who prefer the Club sandwich are often agreeable and unselfish. Club sandwich eaters are reliable and strongly devoted to work as well as relationships. The best words to describe those who prefer the club sandwich: committed and loyal. They are most compatible with those who chose Club, BLT, or turkey.
photo by Quan Nyugen.
HAM & CHEESE: Ham and cheese lovers are curious and have a wide range of interests. They are most productive and creative when working alone without direct supervision. The best words to describe ham and cheese lovers: thoughtful and inquisitive. H&C people are often independent without strong romantic ties.
photo by justine.foong.
TURKEY: Those who prefer the turkey sandwich are free-thinkers. They function best when given space at work and in relationships. The best words to describe turkey lovers: creative and rebellious. They are often attracted to other turkey sandwich lovers.
photo by babythinkitover.
TUNA SALAD: Tuna salad eaters are generally aggressive and achievement-oriented. They are natural leaders and driven to succeed in both work and personal relationships. The best words to describe tuna lovers: competitive and successful. They are most romantically compatible with those who prefer egg salad and others who also like tuna salad.
photo by Accidental Hedonist.
EGG SALAD: Egg salad eaters are often the center of attention. They are entertaining and crave adventure. Best words to describe egg salad lovers: charming and energetic. Egg salad sandwich people are the "universal romantics" and are often compatible with all sandwich lovers.
photo by sameold2008.
CHICKEN SALAD: Individuals who prefer chicken salad sandwiches are well-adjusted and empathic. Best words to describe CS eaters: easy-going and understanding. Most romantically compatible with egg salad lovers.
photo by Adam Kuban.
SEAFOOD SALAD: Similar to those who prefer the Club, seafood salad fans are agreeable and unselfish. They seek comfort in close, secure relationships. Best words to describe them: commitment and loyalty. Most romantically compatible with BLT or other seafood salad eaters.
photo by Quasimondo.
BLT: Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich lovers are conscientious perfectionists. They are devoted in all areas of their lives: work, home and relationships. Best words to describe them: honest and full of integrity. BLT eaters are most compatible with seafood salad sandwich lovers.
photo by jasonperlow.
Well, that was quite a platterful. My fave? Chicken salad. Does the profile fit? Let’s see. Empathic? Yes. Well-adjusted? Questionable ☺. Problem is, though CS is my fave, and lobster (seafood) salad is my ideal sandwich, almost every single day I have the same lunch: smoked turkey on multi-grain with lettuce and mayo. I’d like to think I’m a free-thinker, and I can be shockingly rebellious (eating dessert first).
What are you having for lunch?
photo by mooshee85.
Thank you, my darlings, my sandwiches.
Between the Slices: Part One, featuring writers’ faves, can be found here.
a native of the Sandwich Isles
*study controls: those polled were predominantly from the Midwest; sandwich choices were mayo-oriented, understandable with Best Foods/Hellmann’s as the sponsor.
Copyright © 2009 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.