Sep 26, 2013

300 (Posts About) Sandwiches

I think that I've just become pragmatic in my old(ish?) age. My Facebook feed has exploded with the story about the sandwich blog. If you haven't seen the story, you can find it here. The commentary I've seen about it is anywhere from "really, do we need that much help making a sandwich?" to feminists decrying the whole endeavor as the worst thing ever, to folks saying that if she wants to get engaged faster, she should just make sandwiches more than a couple days a week.

On one hand, I'll admit, I'm falling down on the job here. I have not actually read her blog yet. I have heard that her photography is phenomenal, and I've read the article that started off the furor. How this woman's boyfriend's demand of sandwiches lead to a blog, and how the whole blog is a countdown until she has made enough sandwiches for him to propose. It's both an awful and great premise for a blog, right? To some, it can be this romantic gesture, raising the common sandwich to the level of devotion from the Notebook (I'm really hoping that I'm wrong on that one, but I can see how some could think so). To others, it's an anti feminist example of everything that is wrong with this country, nay the world! To food photographers, it's an interesting point of skill. To every Simpsons fan out there, I know you're thinking of the same scene I am:

But no matter how you look at it, it has a catch. People who have never read the blog are talking about it. She has created a story that has people talking. There could be not one single true point in the story, other than that she has a blog about sandwiches.  And if she's a quality writer, it won't matter. The craziness got them in the door, and she ended up with a readership. Am I jealous that I haven't found such a hook?  Maybe.

One thought I had, though, is this: would there be the same amount of uproar if the whole thing wasn't about sandwiches? The simple act of putting food between two pieces of bread has a really weird connection to sexism in the American culture. I mean, the phrase isn't "Get in the kitchen and make me a fillet mignon, woman!", it's a sandwich. And if you pay attention to media, it would appear that men are the only ones who eat them. From Jared at Subway, to the great ad blitz around the Super Bowl, to Dr. Cliff Huxtable's quest for a hoagie, they seem to be portrayed as a fairly masculine food. I'm sure that, if I really wanted to dig, there are probably many academic papers that go into this. But honestly, I can rarely stomach feminist blog entries, let alone 22 year olds trying to create enough novel ties in a thesis to get it accepted by whatever college they are in.

My pragmatism kicks in at a different point, however. I love food, and I love to make food. I've been in relationships with folks who are the same. I have been served foods that I would consider being deserving of, um, forms of physical gratification best not discussed when I know that one out of the 5 or so readers I have is my mother. I also understand the concept of an "in joke" in a relationship. If I remove what I consider is the narrative sheen of the story behind the blog, I can see an interaction something like this:

Considering how often he makes food for her, and the fact that she knows that he loves sandwiches, she opts to make a sandwich for him as a nice gesture.

Him: (in a sweet, playful tone) mmm, you keep making things like this, and I may be forced to marry you.
Her: Oh really? So, how many sandwiches gets me a diamond then, huh?
Him: I dunno, um, how about 300?

Which, became an inside joke that could be spun into the crazy tale that has the internet in an uproar. Personally, I think that I would be the most impressed if this was just a ploy to get their wedding paid for. Boars Head? Oscar Mayer? What do you think? The wienermobile could make great transportation from a wedding to a reception.


  1. My main objections to their post:
    I'm tired of the "make me a sandwich" meme. It's pathetic. People should be able to make a certain number of foods, and a put down should have more imagination and sting than that.

    An "inside joke" ceases to be an "inside joke" when you make it blog of it.

    Let's face it, these sweeties played the internet perfectly. They posted their story, it's blown up, and we'll see if it goes all the way to them getting a TV show about making sandwiches or guest shots on the Food Network, a movie, or books out of it.

  2. I agree- if all press is good press, this woman is winning the internet. She's found the combination of "Juile and Julia" meets food porn meets rile up everyone on the internet.

    It's also no longer an inside joke, you're right there. But seeing where all of this could have come from (without requiring them to be awful, awful people) makes it really hard for me to assume too many bad things about them, other than their marketing skills.