Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Sandwich Manifesto: What is a Sandwich?

For: Switters and Tom Robbins and all who appreciate good, serious, and clean flapdoodle.

Because if there is a place where people go when they die, its proprietors have their hands full with the sandwich lovers.

We put forth the following rules as guidelines for determining exactly what it is that makes something a sandwich. Is a s’more a sandwich? Is a quesadilla a sandwich? These are the questions we are in a conquest to answer once and for all. The rules have been established as a result of many conversations with sandwich experts, and we would appreciate your expert opinion. These rules are subject to change to accommodate good suggestions.

There is no such thing as a typical sandwich. A sandwich can be many things and is defined as the sum of all its parts. There are no such things as mere similarities; all similarities have meaning and everything is mutable. This is the modernist’s view. Let’s apply it to the concept of the sandwich.

Historically speaking etc. etc., the category “sandwich” encompasses all enjoyably ingestible material (be it pita, bread, tortilla) that is symmetrically arranged around the inner ingredients. The unifying concept that gives this definition of a sandwich truth is symmetry. Symmetry, symmetry….

The inner ingredients vary from culture to culture. This is, however, not an argument about multi-culturalism. I will not allow THAT shoe to drop.

The sandwich is limited in size to that which can be handled SAFELY and feasibly eaten in one setting by a human not named Takeru Kobayashi. It should be able to serve as a meal and stand alone. Here we have managed to avoid the “then a ravioli is a sandwich” critique that has been proposed to weaken the argument.

The sandwich has tops, bottoms, and sides. The sandwich must be enclosed by the same substance on either two, three (e.g. a taco) or four (e.g. a wrap) of the sides. Otherwise you get the “The Open Faced Sandwich” or “Hot Pockets,” both of which violate the symmetry common to a true sandwich.

Sandwiches were invented by the Earl of Sandwich. Popcorn was invented by the Earl of Popcorn, and salad dressing by the Oil of Vinegar. The moon invented the tides of the ocean. The sun invented natural rhythms, but civilization uninvented (no, this is not a word) it.

We know those truths to be self-evident:

Having understood these basic premises,

Recognizing that we must set aside our love or hate of the sandwich, (which implies that we ourselves are sandwich lovers or haters) we must clear any bias in order to discover truth, Celebrating cures for cancer, nuclear bangs, killer bees, earthquakes in California that make LA fall into the ocean, UFOs on the White House Lawn, the failure of the dollar, the apocalypse and all sorts of general anarchy,

A brief history of this manifesto:

In the Deep of Time, in the month of December, in the year of our Lord 2003……..

A team of mad scientists set out to hear the opinions of the experts and the not-so-experts on the subject of the sandwich.

The data was obtained through high-tech, high-frequency, ultra radioactive, magnetically CLASSIFIED and where otherwise noted scientific techniques that have been a virtual black hole of government funding for the past twenty years. I hate to tell you this, but we have actually lost every single war we have been fighting during the past 20 years as well. Sad, but true. What did you expect when, as the poorest nation in the world, we have no money to spread our imperialist STD to the genitals of those “less fortunate than ourselves”( a.k.a those tied up, bent over, and handcuffed into more compromising positions than ourselves) when the U.S. should be binging on luxury, sitting back, and farting footballs at terrorists everywhere?


This research was undertaken by the use of what we scientists commonly call “AIM”.

We employed the ever-inspiring “away message” technique.

It began with a very poignant question.

More than a question, it was a philosophical quest!

What exactly is a sandwich???

A) two pieces of bread with some stuff in between

B) a wrap (think pita)

C) a burrito (think Mexican Sandwich)

D) two blue adderalls with an orange one in between (but wait that’s not a FOOD group….)

Correct Answer: all of the above

The scientific community responded in various ways that ultimately expressed every truth on the subject at hand:

xxxxxx: a sammich, spoken in silly terms (which are, sometimes, of the gravest importance) is ANYTHING in between two of ANYTHING ELSE of a similar appearance.

xxxxxx: a "sandwich", i suppose, must be food. or must be able to be ingested, be it through the esophogus or the larinx (whatever, either the food pipe or the breath pipe).

xxxxxx: oh, revision: the sillyness i spoke of earlier is usually if not always, of the gravest importance. and the two sides of the sammich may either be of similar appearance OR of similar substance.

xxxxxx: I believe that the two blue adderal with an orange one it between is just as nutritious as any other sandwhich.

xxxxxx: ok i wasn't going to respond, i didn't have any thoughts beyond what lyd already said (she told me some of it) but since i'm supposed to be doing a paper, my mind won't let the subject go. see i totally agree with the idea that a sandwich is two like things in substance with whatever in between. but there has to be some kind of limit imposed on this definition. if not, then the bookends on my shelf make a big vertical sandwich out of my books. and sandwiches can be vertical, i think. maybe a sandwich has to be something you can pick up with your hands, even if your arms have to be extended to their widest possible extension, like a ceiling high stack of bread and cheese, dagwood style. and if it's too big for hands, it's just a sandwich-like spectacle of ridiculousness, like enormous bread or people sandwiches. also, the two ends of the sandwich have to be substantial enough to contain the contents

xxxxxx: what i mean is, you can't have a piece of bread with peanut butter on both sides and say it's a sandwich just because there's the same substance enclosing a middle. the outer substance doesn't have enough substace to make it legitiamate sandwich outer material

xxxxxx: there ought to be technical terms we can discuss the sides and middle of a sandwich with, since it isnt always bread and meat. i won't take it upon myself to decide those terms, since i should get back to work soon i guess, but i propose, for purposes of discussion, that we refer to things as "sides and middle" "inner and outer" or "bread and meat" - of course, those are only a few possibilities . . . there has to be some consistent sandwich terminology though, you must agree

xxxxxx: i guess though, reviewing, i ought to properly respond to the original question. i don't agree that a wrap or a burrito is a sandwich. perhaps that's a very egocentric, WASPy way to view the situation, but i have to reject these other culture's attempts at sandwich greatness. they're nice on their own, but to call them a sandwich is to make a mockery of this fine institution which is defined by the "2 outies" model exeplified in the "slice of bread-slice of balony-slice of bread" formation

Is a football a type of ball used in football? YES, I think we would all agree. Is a birdee a type of ball used in badminton? YES, we would all agree. Do a football and a birdee share the exact same qualities? NO, it’s obvious. Do they share meaningful similarities? YES, they do. Do sandwiches, burritos, and wraps share similarities although different? YES! Are they all variations of the Classical sandwich? YES, they are. If you define a sandwich by only the “2-outies model” (which is fine if you do, but realize that is the Classical model), then by the same logical stem of flapdoodle a soccer ball is not a type of ball at all because it does not have a distinguishable “top and bottom” (as a football). However, a hockey puck (obviously not a ball) would be closer to a ball than a soccer ball because it too has the “top and bottom” qualities shared with the football.

xxxxxx: the adderall recipe though, is undoubtedly a sandwich, although the term can only be used metaphorically once you unstack them, as an oreo is no longer a sandwich once twisted apart, and even "bread-balony-bread" is no longer a sandwich if its fundamental order is in any way skewed

I can offer you one piece of good advice that applies to sandwiches (of course) and my life in general…

There are only two mantras,

Yum and Yuck.

Mine is Yum.

As Switters would say, “Send in the clowns.”



Of course when you begin discussing the "classical model" you propose in your manifesto we must also look at the other "models" of sandwich. By your terms, wouldn't an open-faced sandwich also count if it is surrounded by a piece of bread and...dare I say, air? I believe that the sandwich models of the pita/wrap, gyro/taco, and similar "sandwiches" fall into an entirely different "model":

1) Classical Model: two pieces of bread, be it wheat, rye, white, sourdough, pumpernickel, garlic bread, etc. The bathroom cleaner sandwich (Drano on white) would apply to the classical model.

2) Local Model: Po-Boys, Philly Cheese Steaks, Heroes, Submarines, Stromboli, Muffelatta, etc.

3) Foriegn Model: Burrito, Gyro, Quesadilla, etc.

4) Improvisational Model: your open-faced, your dorito sandwiches, your adderal burgers

biohaz said...

i would like to take a moment to focus our attention on the importance and utility of the metaphorical sandwich, as it seems to have fallen into a state of ill repute in the present discussion.

take into consideration the following examples:

1) when there are three people sitting on a couch, and one of the people on the ends wishes to inform the person on the other end that the person in the middle is about to be squished, how else is the person to do this but yell out "[middle person] sandwich!!"

2) if i am sleeping on the couch, and someone jumps on top of me, what better terminology is there to describe that action than recognizing its similarity to an open face sandwich, with myself as the middle substance?

(side note: i think open face sandwiches count. because a slice of delicious bread with tuna, topped with delicious cheese and popped into the toaster is a very delicious sandwich, but would certainly not be the same with a second slice of delicious bread atop of it. it would ruin EVERYTHING. however, in light of the previous example, the top layer need not be the same as the bottom. in the "Me" sandwich, the couch is functioning as the top to the upsidedown sandwich, and in the tuna example, the cheese may be said to function as the top to the sandwich.)

3) consider how useful and apt it is to describe things as sandwiched in between two other things. for example, i could say that my film viewing on thursday evening is sandwiched between my dance rehersal, which ends as the film viewing begins, and my job, which begins as the film viewing ends. the significance here is that the three (or more) items are forced together without space (at least any sort of relevant measure of space) between them. i would even dare to reference the aforementioned Bookcase Dilemma. my books on my bookshelf are quite literally sandwiched between my two different "book ends" (that is, they're not really book ends, but they function as such).

i think i am going to make another point here: the sandwich must be enclosed on (at least) two sides, but the substance enclosing the two opposite sides must not necessarily be the same. therefore, open face sandwiches (arguably with air as the second side, as "zombitron" has proposed) and metaphorical sandwiches are not limited by the proposed diametrical borders, and are ultimately made to be inclusions into the sandwich family.


ERM said...

a stromboli is NOT A sandwich.
more to come later.
now it is 7 in the morning and i am still studying for midterms. BUT this Mrs. Walt Jocketty whole-heartedly disagrees (Justin w.t.f...i thought we discussed this, and maybe the overly loose Chicago-ites have swayed you on the subject?)

A SANDWICH must be assembled from completely cooked/ baked ingredients prior to dough involved in the process post-assembly. if this is not true then EVERYTHING IS practically a sandwich...which is obviously untrue. this is the major critique of the Manifesto made by those classical sandwich lovers out there. lets not fuel THAT argument any further. so a stromboli is a sandwich?? then a pizza may also be a type of is..i dunno... chicken pot pies, pumpkin pie etc.


Vault on Tap said...

in response to Biohaz, if someone jumps on you while sleeping that is a steamroller. further, if one jumps on you, then the open part is below you. This is equvalent to taking your open faced Manwich sandwich and turning it upside down. also, i agree, as does joel and kenny that a stromboli is not a sandwich.