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Posts Tagged ‘sandwich

“Luncheon: as much food as one’s hand can hold”*…




This summer Pret A Manger, purveyor of sandwiches to desk-workers in the white-collar cities of the West, added lobster rolls to its menu. In Britain they cost £5.99 ($7.31); in America $9.99. In both countries they are filled with lobster from Maine, along with cucumber, mayonnaise and more. Rent and labour cost about the same in London as in downtown New York or Boston. Neither sticker price includes sales tax. Yet a Pret lobster roll in America is a third pricier than in Britain, even though the lobster comes from nearer by.

This Pret price gap is not limited to lobster rolls. According to data gathered by The Economist on the dozen Pret sandwiches that are most similar in the two countries, the American ones cost on average 74% more (see chart). An egg sandwich in New York costs $4.99 to London’s £1.79, more than double. A tuna baguette costs two-thirds more. The price mismatch is intriguing—the more so for The Economist, which publishes the Big Mac index, a cross-country comparison of burger prices, which shows a 43% transatlantic disparity…

sandwich prices

Find out “Why Americans pay more for lunch than Britons do.”

* Samuel Johnson


As we cogitate on the cost of comestibles, we might spare a thought for Luther Crowell; he died on this date in 1903.  A prolific inventor (he held over 280 patents), he invented and patented the first machine to manufacture accordion-sided, flat-bottomed paper bags.

(That said, Margaret E. Knight might more accurately be considered the”mother of the modern shopping bag”: she perfected square bottoms two years earlier.)



Written by LW

September 16, 2019 at 1:01 am

“Too few people understand a really good sandwich”*…


From @matttomic

* James Beard


As we reach for the mayo, we might recall that it was on this date in 1876, on the opening day of the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, that Quaker pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires introduced root beer to the world.  A committed member of the Temperance Movement, Hires saw his drink (the original formula included sarsaparilla, sasafras, ginger, pipsissewa, wintergreen, and juniper, among other flavor ingredients) as an alternative to alcohol, and called it “the temperance drink” and “the greatest health-giving beverage in the world.”



Written by LW

May 10, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards”*…


45 years ago, four eminences took the stage at the University of Toronto: Irish actor Jack MacGowran, best known for his interpretations of Samuel Beckett; English poet and dramatist W.H. Auden; American architect and theorist of humanity’s way of life Buckminster Fuller; and Canadian literary scholar turned media technology oracle Marshall McLuhan. Now only did all four men come from different countries, they came from very different points on the intellectual and cultural map. The CBC recorded them for broadcast on its long-running series Ideas, prefacing it with an announcement that “the ostensible subject of their discussion is theatre and the visual arts.”

Key word: ostensible. “That topic is soon forgotten as two modes of perception clash,” says the announcer, “that of Professor McLuhan, who is one of the most famous interpreters of contemporary 20th-century cultural trends, and that of W.H. Auden, who cheerfully admits to being ‘a 19th-century man’ and sees no reason to change.” And so, though Fuller and MacGowan do occasionally provide their perspective, the panel turns into a rollicking debate between McLuhan and Auden, more or less from the point where the former — making one of his characteristically compelling proclamations — declares that modern media brings us to a world in which “there is no audience. There are only actors.” But the latter objects: “I profoundly disapprove of audience participation.”…

The conversation is above; for more of the backstory: “Marshall McLuhan, W.H. Auden & Buckminster Fuller Debate the Virtues of Modern Technology & Media (1971).

* Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means


As we mind the message that is the medium, we might send tasty birthday wishes to John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich; he was born on this date in 1718.  Lore suggests that the Earl, an enthusiastic gambler, instructed his servants to skip the distraction of a served meal, asking instead for “meat between two pieces of bread” to be consumed as he remained at the gaming table.  While there’s no real historical support for the tale, the comestible is nonetheless still known as a “sandwich.”

Montagu also had a nautical edge, serving as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1771-1782.  He was sufficiently regarded that Captain Cook named the Sandwich Islands in his honor.  On the other hand, he was widely blamed for the sorry state of readiness displayed by the British Navy during the “Unpleasantness with the Colonies.”  (Indeed, it may in gratitude for Montagu’s help– however inadvertent– that American’s have adopted the sandwich as our national dish…)


“Enjoy every sandwich”*…


In late August, the U.S. District Court for The District of Puerto Rico dismissed an appeal on a civil suit filed there. The dispute, between Norberto Colón Lorenzana and South American Restaurant Corp., stemmed from a fried-chicken sandwich…

Both amusing and illuminating– the tale in its tasty entirety at “Can You Copyright a Sandwich?

[Special intellectual property bonus: “The International Fight Over Marcel Duchamp’s Chess Set,” featuring Scott Kildall, whose “Playing Duchamp” was featured here earlier.]

* Warren Zevon


As we ask for extra mayonnaise, we might note that this, the 20th day of National Chicken Month, is National Punch Day.



Written by LW

September 20, 2015 at 1:01 am

In re: the stomach on which an army marches…


Best if eaten before January, 2014

Readers may recall the announcement of caffeinated beef jerky as a battlefield snack for peckish soldiers.  Now the Pentagon’s developmental chefs are adding another staple: a sandwich that can be served fresh after sitting on the shelf for two years.

Why not? The “freeze-dried dreck” that constitutes most MREs has to last years at a time while supplying hurried soldiers with the energy they need, says Clay Dillow at Popular Science. And most of these air-sealed meals, typically little more than “gummy paste,” are in dire need of an upgrade. Enter “the world’s most cutting edge sandwich.”

“For food to rot, you usually need oxygen and water” to invite in bacteria, says Will Shanklin at Geek.com. “MREs that eliminate water have great shelf life, but horrible taste.” In order to keep these high tech sandwiches flavorful, scientists enlisted the preservation properties of a familiar condiment: jam.

Unlike freeze-dried food, preservatives like jam have high water content, says Shanklin. The high-tech sandwich’s jam-like filling — whether it tastes like PB&J or an Italian-style hoagie — “locks in the moisture,” creating a barrier around the water molecules that bacteria need to survive. A special “packet of iron fillings” is also inserted into the package, which “draws in excess moisture, converts it into rust, and traps it.” As for oxygen? The sandwich is packed tightly and vacuum sealed, like most other MREs.

“I’m a big fan. I love the bread,” one soldier tells BBC News in a TV interview. Another echoes his sentiments: “It’s definitely the best two-year-old sandwich I’ve ever had,” he says, smiling. “Better than a lot of new ones I’ve had, too.”

Read the full story in The Week.


As we reconsider discarding those week-old left-overs in the refrigerator, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967 that a young white woman brought her fiancee, an African-American doctor, home to meet her parents: Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner opened in theaters across the U.S.  The film was groundbreaking in its positive treatment of interracial marriage– which had been illegal in most of the United States, and was still illegal in 17 states, mostly Southern states, up until June 12 of the year of the film’s release, when anti-miscegenation laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia.

The film is also notable its pairing of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn as the parents.  It was their ninth– and last– turn as co-stars.  Tracy died 17 days after shooting wrapped; Hapburn never saw the finished film, explaining that the memories of Tracy were “just too painful.”  The doctor was played by Sidney Poitier; his fiance, by Katharine Houghton, Hepburn’s niece.



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