That’s what Henry Hung, writing for the Baltimore City Paper, wants to know. When I read this article, I knew immediately that I had to post about it. Rarely do I read articles that speak so directly to both my heart and mind. Hung’s opening paragraph is a thought that has raced through my brain hundreds of times:
“I order the sandwich, make a quick assay, and am forced to conclude that the person who assembled it doesn’t much care about sandwiches or sandwich eaters. I resign myself to rebuilding it. You see, as an irredeemably obsessed food freak, I take sandwiches quite seriously, and I demand uniform meat distribution.”
Amen Henry Hung. Amen. I am known amongst my friends for making incredible sandwiches, but as Hung notes, sandwiches generally do not involve cooking:
“Assembly is the only step over which end users have any control.”
So if the ingredients you use are high quality, you can’t possibly screw-up a sandwich can you? Oh you bet you can. My first real job as a 15 year-old was as a “Sandwich Artist” at the local Subway shop in my neighborhood. I learned back then that the difference between a perfect sandwich and a mediocre sandwich is the manner in which the ingredients are assembled. Hung recognizes the importance of this as well, complaining:
“The professional to whom I paid $9 apparently felt that arranging meat into a spheroid mound was a superior strategy. Clearly, mounded sandwiches result in some bites having too much meat and others too little.”
If meat, cheese, condiments and vegetables are placed on the bread in BOTH the proper quantity and the proper positioning, it makes a tremendous difference in how much each individual bite, and the sandwich as a whole, are enjoyed.
Hung goes on to analyze subjects such as “cheese tessellation” and even goes so far as to create diagrams of sandwiches to determine the “golden ratio” between meat and bread that will make the perfect sandwich.
The word “hero” is bandied about a bit too liberally these days, but after reading this article, I can say that you, Henry Hung, are a true American hero. Please keep fighting the good fight with me to ensure that America’s sandwiches are as perfectly assembled as they can possibly be.