Today at lunch, I realized I might have a problem because it took me a ridiculous amount of time deciding how to eat my sandwich. It was nothing special, just your standard ham and swiss on white, but you’d think I was contemplating a war maneuver or something based on the thought I put into my strategy.
Yes, I have a sandwich-eating strategy. Doesn’t everybody?
First off, there’s the cut. When you slice your sandwich in half, do you make rectangles or triangles? I know I’m not the only one who has pondered this age-old question, because NPR weighed in a few years ago, as did Buzzfeed. If you aren’t inclined to follow the links, triangles are better, according to both articles. And I happen to agree, for a number of reasons. Triangles are more aesthetically pleasing than rectangles. You get a perfect little corner to hold onto, especially useful when you’re dipping your sandwich (think grilled cheese and tomato soup). Best of all, you get a longer crust-free zone in which to enjoy whatever tasty filling you’ve sandwiched between your bread. This is a mathematical fact: if you are using standard 4″ square slices of bread and cut them in half, you end up with 8″ of crustless surface area. But cut them on the diagonal, and you end up with nearly 11″ of crust-free bread. I don’t know about you, but when I’ve got a sandwich filled with something delicious, like a nice thinly-sliced medium-rare deli roast beef with havarti cheese, that extra 3″ of barrier-free surface area is like heaven. No doubt about it: diagonal cuts rule!
Then there’s the layering technique. Cheese always has to go on top of the mayonnaise, otherwise you end up with two sides of the sandwich that can potentially stick to the roof of your mouth. Mustard can go on either side, as it does not produce the same glue-like effect as mayo. Pickles should be added at the last minute, otherwise they make the bread too soggy. And for god’s sake, don’t put tomatoes on until you’re ready to eat the sandwich, either! Refrigeration kills their taste. Lettuce is usually okay, but I sometimes place it between the meat and bread to prevent unnecessary moisture absorption.
As for packaging, I prefer Saran Wrap (or generic plastic wrap), because sandwich-sized Ziploc bags are not sandwich-friendly, despite their name. They are too constricting. I will make an exception for PB&J, since a peanut butter and jelly sandwich should never be thick to begin with.
With all the thought I put into making a sandwich, you’d think that eating it would be the easy part. But, noooo. I mean, it’s obvious where to begin: with a diagonal cut, you bite off each corner until you end up with a house-shaped sandwich. Then you devour the roof, saving the main living area for last. All of that is basic. But today, I found myself staring at my sandwich and wondering, which side do I eat first?!
Surprisingly, this thought had never crossed my mind before. And for several minutes, I was stumped. I had sliced it so that one half contained the smooth, curved portion of crust found along the top of the loaf. The other half was all perfectly linear crust. There I was, debating the merits of which half of my sandwich to eat first as precious minutes of my lunch hour ticked by. Finally, after expending far too much mental energy on this dilemma, I chose sides. Yeah, pun intended.
I saved the half with the curvy, smooth crust for last. I’ve grown fond of that particular crusty bite, I guess, and wanted to end my sandwich eating experience on a high note.
I suppose I could have cut the crust off and spared myself such an agonizing decision, but come on…I’m not 4 years old!
Does anybody else spend as much time deliberating how to eat a sandwich, or am I going insane?