Still a Sammich, Any Way You Slice It

So I’m just sitting here, faffing about on the Internet (how I love that phrase, “faffing about” – it sounds so inappropriate yet is innocuous compared to other words beginning with the letter “f”) in between working on other projects. Because it’s close to lunchtime I start thinking about sammiches, which is way more fun to say/type than “sandwich.” So many types of fillings, so many types of bread. But there’s really only two ways to cut a sammich, unless you’re like the mom in Mermaids who insists on using cookie cutters.

No, it’s either a vertical cut or diagonal, and in certain circles the cut makes all the difference. Margaret over at Nanny Goats in Panties, one of my favorite humor blogs written by one of my favorite people, wrote a post a few years ago how one cuts sandwiches. As a kid she was frustrated by her mother’s determination to cut sandwiches on the vertical, when everyone else had theirs cut on the diagonal.

sandwiches, diagonal cut, sandwich, Nanny Goats in Panties, lunch, lunchtime, school lunches

Photo courtesy nannygoatsinpanties.com

What’s funny is that when I was a kid, Momcat always cut my sandwiches on the diagonal, and I felt like the odd one out at lunchtime. To battle my insecurities, I decided in my little Moxie brain that the type of cut had to do with socioeconomic class. We were obviously upper middle class and I was obviously surrounded by peasants. (I also decided that the use of Wonder bread or grape jelly was also an indicator of income level. I was a weird, snobby kid.)

As an adult, I don’t eat as many sammiches anymore. But when I do, I always notice the cut and my ego starts railing about the rabble not knowing any better. Yeah, I’m now a weird, snobby adult. Quelle surprise.

Turns out there’s more to the diagonal vs. vertical debate than I thought. A 2009 NPR story suggests it’s about the appeal of triangles, and the illusion of a sandwich being bigger when cut on the diagonal. And apparently I’m not the only one who thinks it’s a class thing when it comes to sammiches. Here’s an excerpt from the NPR story:

But triangles aren’t just for haute foodies. You won’t catch short-order cook Nathan “Spanky” Lewis cutting a sandwich into rectangles. He’s been making sandwiches at the Tastee Diner in Bethesda, Md., for 16 years and has one word for why triangles rule: “Reputation.”

Especially on a BLT or a club sandwich, he says. “If it’s squared off, it doesn’t even look like a sandwich.” Tastee customers and waitresses rush to agree. “Sailboat sandwiches” are just the way to go.

So there you have it: a sammich is more of a sammich – or sandwich – when it’s cut on the diagonal. We’ll save the mayo vs. Miracle Whip debate for another post.