A tragedy of a sandwich

Too many sandwiches are still like this in the UK. This poor man paid the equivalent of U.S. $2.35 for this pathetic excuse for a sandwich, and he’s rightfully peeved. LOOK AT THAT THING!

I now hear there are Subway stores in the UK, which means you can get a big sandwich (and some of them are okay), but I’ve never been to one. Still, I can say with assurance that although I’ve bought many sandwiches in England in my time, I’ve never had a good one—or even a filling one.

Unfortunately, Mr. Coleman wouldn’t name the purveyor of this skimpy comestible, but maybe readers will know (there’s a clue below).

. . and he adds a coda about ingredients:

He gives a clue—anybody know?

Walk into a Boots, or any other place that purveys sandwiches in Britain, and this is what you’re likely to see (note that these are from a school). This may be a light snack, but it’s not LUNCH.

Also note that for virtually every one of these travesties, the thickness of the ingredients is less than that of a single slice of the enfolding bread.

Sandwiches freshly made by the kitchen staff at a Gloucestershire school

From Morrison’s. Can you spot the filling?

Boots’s “Brie and Cranberry Christmas sandwich”. Well merry fricking Christmas to you!

Now I know someone is going to say that these are “proper sandwiches” and they like them. That’s fine—they enjoy going hungry.

You call those sandwiches? Now this is a sandwich (pastrami from Harold’s New York Deli in Edison, New Jersey). You can get extra bread at a bread bar if you want.

h/t: Matthew


  1. Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Gethyn is horrified 😂

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I love a good sandwich, and each one above is a travesty wrapped in disappointment with an extra generous sprinkling of rip-off powder…

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 6, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        UK sandwiches are the healthiest in the world ,you are not meant to eat them .

        But you must need good health insurance if you eat too many of those New York Deli ones ,lots of fat and salt .

  2. Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    THIS is a proper sandwich.

    ….hoping I got the stoopid HTML right this time

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      *sad trombone*. Nope. Damn.

      *sigh* (aitch-tee-pee-pee-ess)://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/e0/2c/e8/katz-s-deli.jpg

  3. Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    But then American sandwiches, they’re so thick, how does one get ones mouth round them?

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      It’s a fact the whole world knows that Americans have big mouths.

    • Laurance
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Many sandwiches here in the US are nice and thick and big. But it’s also too easy to find sandwiches that are really skimpy on the filling. Often it’s the ready-made and cellophane wrapped things in the cooler that are skimpy.

    • Lurker111
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      What? You don’t eat your sandwiches with a knife and fork?


  4. busterggi
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    No wonder their empire fell.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      No, this is why it succeeded. ‘There must be somewhere we can get a good sandwich, lads. Let’s try the Americas.’

      • BJ
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        So brilliant. Would it be weird if I told you I love you?

      • Posted March 6, 2018 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        LOL! Wonderful!

  5. Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The Earl must be turning in his grave

  6. BobTerrace
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Any deli in NYC would laugh their heads off at those pathetic sandwiches.

  7. Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    It was invented to be one hand, yes? ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

  8. glen1davidson
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Urban eats.

    Clear from the rhyming “Durban meats.”

    Glen Davidson

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I always wondered why Elton sang, I’d rather have ham in my sandwich than cheese. Why not both?

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Damn you, Jerry Coyne. For posting that pastrami sandwich pic just as I was chowing down on some fruit and cottage cheese for lunch. 🙂

  11. Christopher
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    At what point will the U.K. Realize they won the war and no longer have to ration their foodstuffs?

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I think they’re still on wartime rations, and have been that way so long that they actually LIKE IT.

      And if you order coffee, NO FREE REFILLS FOR YOU!

      • dabertini
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Those sandwiches are no worse than my mcdonald’s oatmeal: oatmeal (when they haven’t run out), raisins (when they haven’t run out), chopped apple (when they haven’t run out) and hot water (presumably they never run out). This weekend I went to mcdonalds for my oatmeal and the computer kiosk warned me they were temporarily out of oatmeal! Next weekend I will bring my own dry ingredients and ask for hot water. How is that for rationing?

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 6, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        I think sandwiches over in GB are regarded as a snack ,not a main meal .

    • Nobody Special
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      At last! Somebody acknowledging who won that war rather than claiming – as per the U.S movie industry, whoch appeats to be the major source of history for most Americans – it was America that won it whilst the rest of the Allied forces played a bit-part at best.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        + 1!

        The number of times Hollywood has changed history to make USians the heroes makes your head spin!

      • David Evans
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        Alas, maybe not. In context, “they won the war” could just mean “the war is over and they were on the winning side”.

      • glen1davidson
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Um, wouldn’t the Soviets have the best claim to winning WWII in Europe? Certainly in terms of their lives lost along with associated costs, as well as in numbers of Germans killed and weapons destroyed, etc., they were the main players. Of course they did far too much to enable the Nazis in the first place, but at least once they were fighting them they appeared willing and able to pay any cost to defeat the Nazis.

        The Western Allies’ bombings prevented a dramatic recovery of European economies, which had been collapsed by Nazi conquest, into highly productive economies aided by slave labor under Albert Speer’s guidance. And of course the Normandy invasion and breakout starting with Operation Cobra seriously pressured the Nazis. But the huge force defeating the Nazis on the ground was on the Eastern Front, largely Soviet.

        Glen Davidson

        • Mark R.
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

          I’m no where near being a scholar on any subject, but from the half-dozen or so historical books I’ve read on the matter, I think historians agree that without Russia, the war would have been lost. Their vast resources such as steel and oil, and their supply lines out of reach by the Luftwaffe gave them a distinct advantage. They were the stop gap to Germany’s Eastern expansion and proved to be resourceful in every way, both civilians and the war machine. If Germany succeeded in conquering Russia, Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle would most likely not be fiction. Well, yes, it still would be, but you get my point.

          • Richard Bond
            Posted March 6, 2018 at 4:41 am | Permalink

            A major supply line was the convoy system from Britain (mostly), Iceland and the USA that took supplies to Archangel and Murmansk. These convoys were not out of range of the Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine. Thousands of British sailors lost their lives. Without the supplies from the earlier convoys, it is possible that Moscow would have fallen, which would have crippled Russian communications.

            • David Coxill
              Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

              It was the Divisions from the Far East that saved Moscow .

              And to their ever lasting shame British govt’s for a long time refused to let Soviet Russia honour the dead and surviving British sailors .

              • Richard Bond
                Posted March 6, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

                But what delayed the Nazis so that those divisions had time to arrive? Aircraft, artillery and lorries from the convoys. Moscow was actually under artillery bombardment when the Nazis were finally stopped. One of my uncles was a ship’s engineer on several of those conveys, an extremely dangerous occupation, and I get really annoyed at any disparagement of the effects of that supply line.

              • David Coxill
                Posted March 9, 2018 at 4:51 am | Permalink

                The Russian mud stopped their advance ,then the snow .

        • Posted March 6, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

          The Soviet Union suffered the most casualties, the US spent the most money (in absolute terms, anyway), Canada sent the most food (in relative terms), the UK did the most crucial code breaking (with an honorary award to the Poles who got it started), and because I’m being silly, Canada also made the most Russian-language communication equipment outside of the SU.

          (There’s an exhibit of that at the Canada War Museum – returned to honour the gift by the Russians at one point.)

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    As for Subway, I’ll grab a tuna sub from there every once in a blue moon when I’m walking by. But those cold-cuts in the display case look so sad and limp!

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

      The tuna is the only Subway sandwich I’ll get. Maybe once a year or so. Good tip though, add pepperoni (not as sad looking as the turkey and ham). I know it sounds strange but is surprisingly good.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

        I’ll give it a try next blue moon.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      I prefer Cousins subs, but you can only get them in Wisconsin and Phoenix AZ. They used to have some shops in the Chicago area, but they fell prey to the Great Recession.

      • BJ
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

        What a strange location map.

  13. Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    If you need cutlery to eat it, it is not a proper sandwich. Kind of defeats the purpose. And the food on the last picture is not a sandwich at all.
    Witch does not mean of course that I wouldn’t choose that over those measly things. It is a better food, but technically not a better sandwich.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      That’s how I feel. one of the best thing about sandwiches is being able to eat with your hands with no one looking at you sideways.

      I’ll never forget the way everyone looked at me in a French restaurant in Noumea, including my German companion, when I picked up my gourmet pizza and started eating it by hand!

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 7, 2018 at 1:22 am | Permalink

        Entirely agree with you Heather.

        The first ‘sandwich’ illustrated is a proper sandwich by definition, though I quite agree not a very good one – it could use a bit of butter or margarine for a start.

        But I like a cheese sandwich that doesn’t break my calorie limit for the day.

        The things Subway sells are not sandwiches, they should find a new name for them.


  14. Tigzington
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh you Americans, with your amusing parochialisms. All questions aside as to whether or a not a heap of nitrate preserved cow with some slices of bread on a plate actually constitutes a sandwich, allow me to present to you how the British have elevated the humble sandwich to a genuine work of art:

    Quite simply, the bacon and brown sauce sandwich.

    There. You got nothing.

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Oh sweet Jesus, that is disgusting. I bet they put SWEETCORN on it (as opposed to sour corn).

      • Nobody Special
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Sweetcorn on a bacon butty? Never.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          He’s an American. No further explanation necessary.

      • Tigzington
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

        >Tells American about the bacon and brown sauce sandwich.

        >’Ewww no,’ says American.

        >American comes to Britain, tries a bacon and brown sauce sandwich for the first time.


        That’s the way it usually goes. I look forward to your eventual retraction, Jerry.

        • Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          There are I am sure many examples of what reads like a travesty but is in fact the opposite of travesty.
          A egg sandwich? A peanut butter and sliced bananna sandwich? And yet they somehow work very, very well.

          • Tigzington
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            There may indeed be many examples. But none of them are as good as a bacon & HP sandwich. It’s as simple a fact as that.

            • KiwiInOz
              Posted March 5, 2018 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

              True. But I am also partial to a chip butty.

            • David Coxill
              Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

              Bacon sausage and a fried egg in a sandwich ,heaven .

          • Nobody Special
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

            A egg sandwich is a travesty. It’s an egg sandwich.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

              + 1 😀

            • Mark Sturtevant
              Posted March 5, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

              +1 from me too.

          • Ken Phelps
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            Peanut butter, honey, cheddar cheese, & baked beans – on fresh, heavy, whole grain bread.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

          Bacon butties are delicious.

          Chip butties are good too, as long as they’re made with proper chips and not the things the USians call french fries. (We call them shoestrings.)

          However, the thought of peanut butter and jelly leaves me cold, and I know our host likes those! He’s told us several times.

          • Graham Martin-Royle
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Mmmmm, chip butties. Another good one is a sausage and egg sarnie (gotta be fried egg), can’t wait to get home from the USofA and back to real chips and real milk!

    • Nobody Special
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Don’t forget a good chip butty.

      • Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Now THAT is worst travesty of all. A FRENCH FRY SANDWICH. You can occasionally see fries on sandwiches in the US, but never SOLELY FRIES.

        • rudolphpaul
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

          As a child, many years ago, I would eat four cold Oscar Mayer hot dogs set side by side and covered with ketchup on Wonder bread. Some things are best left in the past.

        • Nobody Special
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

          Chips are not French fries. Fries are those matchstick-thin abominations served by MacD’s and KFC. A real chip is a thing of beauty.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            Chip chipping machines should have blades at at least 1cm grid spacing (what’s that in inches? A microfurlong?) ; anything smaller and you get too much fat adhering, rather than the edges going properly crispy with the inside barely cooked.
            I’ve seen things called “wedges” on menus in the last few years. I suspect that these are proper chips, being differentiated from “French Fries”, though the “why” does rather escape me.

            • Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

              approximately 0.4 inch …

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

                Ummm, 33 ps, give or take a bit.

            • Nobody Special
              Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

              For spanners (wrenches), the imperial equivalent to 10mm is 3/8″.
              The secret to the best home-made chips is……a secret.
              I can be bribed!

          • Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

            If you think all American fries are thin like that, you haven’t been to America!

            • Graham Martin-Royle
              Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

              I’m in the USofA right now and so far have found it to be true, all usian fries are matchstick thin 😦

              • Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

                At fast food joints. Substantial fries/chips can be found at real restaurants. If you’re really lucky you’ll stumble upon waffle fries.

              • Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

                I’ll bet you $50 that I can find several places where the chips are thick.


            • John Ottaway
              Posted March 7, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

              The argument you are using for fries/chips in the US is exactly the one that can be used to defend sandwiches in the UK

              Most fast food outlets in the states will sell the thin fries, but you can find fatter ones in the more upmarket, or independent diners. (Though I doubt they are the soggy ones you get from a chip shop and put in a chip butty).

              Likewise, if you go to a supermarket for a sandwich, you will get the pathetic prepacked ones. However we do have some proper sandwich shops that use fresh, sliced in front of you bread, with a choice of fillings. However, as per the Earl’s original instructions, they can be eaten with one hand, unlike that butchers shop window, between two bits of bread that you showed 😉

              Please do not ever accept an invitation to The Palace. I dread the international incident when you react to cucumber sandwiches…

            • David Coxill
              Posted March 9, 2018 at 4:54 am | Permalink

              I had some thick chips in Mississippi ,i think they were called JOJO’s .

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          Now THAT is worst travesty of all.

          You raise a challenge like that in a thread on British food?
          This isn’t going to end in culinary delight.

        • Posted March 6, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

          Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

        • David Coxill
          Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          Oi ,cloth ears ,chips not French fries .

          Sorry ,but it need to be said.

      • Tigzington
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        A chip n curry sauce butty – has to be curry sauce from the chip shop or Chinese takeaway though. Bliss.

        • Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

          Fried potatoes (chips, if you like) are fantastic in curry. Common Thai thing, in my experience.

          • Posted March 6, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

            When I was last in the UK (2012, admittedly) it seemed that everything from Moroccan to Thai was labeled “curry”. I take it that was marketing, but …

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

        See your chip butty and raise (?) you a white pudding supper.
        One of the few bits of fast food which really is inedible when it’s cold and you’ve sobered up.

        • Tigzington
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Tried some white pudding at the behest of my Scottish ex. Once.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

            Well, when you’re a veggie, you don’t get a lot of choice at the average chippie.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      Before I retired I used to get a ‘breakfast bap’ from the nearby shop.

      Several rashers of bacon or sausages, a fried egg (pick your runny or harder egg), and then extras like baked beans (not for me), smashed tomatoes, or mushrooms – all on a half baton (but English bread rather than French). Plus a choice of brown sauce (of course) or tomato ketchup.

      And it was all hot, which probably moves it out of the ‘sandwich’ – it certainly couldn’t be prepared in advance.

      • Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Sounds a bit like an English version of an “Egg McMuffin” and it sounds sublime.

        We got the full English brekkie every day in the UK — unless smoked fish was on offer. I think the smoked Haddock breakfast we got every morning in Lyme Regis will never be forgotten by my wife and son (nor by me).

      • Nobody Special
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        I once worked near a little sandwich shop just off Eccleshall Road, Sheffield. The house speciality was the ‘BEST’ (bacon, egg, sausage, tomato), improved only by a sprinkle of white pepper. Served in a barm cake, which is a bread roll (bap, cob, etc) approximately 10 inches in diameter, it was a thing of beauty, and the reason I gained quite a bit of weight in a short space of time.

      • Posted March 6, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        I wonder: is that connected to bibimbap, the Korean dish – the reason I ask is the egg in both.

    • Posted March 6, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      The bacon sandwich is the main reason I will die an omnivore.

    • David Coxill
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Yum yum ,drool drool.

  15. Gareth Price
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    There used to be a TV show called “That’s Life” which dealt with, among other things, consumer issues. I remember a former employee of a rail company came on to demonstrate how they made their sandwiches. He took a square slice of bread and laid a couple of slices of cucumber and tomato along the diagonal. He placed the second slice of bread on top and then cut the sandwich along the aforementioned diagonal. THe sandwich was then wrapped with the cut edge on display, giving the impression that it was stuffed full of salad.

  16. rudolphpaul
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Subway? No, I don’t think so. Not after several friends and I at one time or another contracted food poisoning from there cold sandwiches.

  17. Nobody Special
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see what his problem is. He could see the sandwich through the packaging; it says ‘Cheese Sandwich’ on the label; it says ‘Cheddar cheese on white bread’ on the label. The ingredients list doesn’t mention butter. He got exactly what the label said he was getting, and what he clearly could see he was going to get.
    It seems to me that he bought the sandwich purely to complain about it.

    • Paul S
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think so. Bread with a slice of cheese sans anything else is so ridiculous that no one should be expected to believe there wasn’t something else be it butter, mayo, something to make it an actual sandwich.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        I agree. At least put butter or margarine on the bread. If only putting cheese on, preferably grate it and mix with a little mayo.

        • Nobody Special
          Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

          I agree that it was a terrible sandwich, my point was that he had to know what he was buying thanks to the label and transparent packaging. I can’t see why somebody would buy what is very clearly just bread and cheese, then complain that he got just bread and cheese.

  18. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Do it yourself. Bread and sausage. Or bread and cheese if you’re going light. Loaf of bread (small baton if you’re not hungry ; baguette if you are), lump of sausage, lump of cheese. Bite each as desired. If you keep it under the lid of your rucksack, you don’t even need to stop walking.
    I find store-brought sandwiches to be ridiculously over-priced and under-contented too. So I get something else. The “Polish goods” shelf in the fridge is usually good for sausage.
    If all else fails, there’s the Cornish pasty. Or the wee growler, if you like your unidentifiable pink pork bits.

    • David Coxill
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      A German supermarket over here in GB does a nice tiger loaf .
      Had some slices yesterday with clover and red Leicester cheese .

  19. Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Is that… white bread? I can’t even…*Sob*.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      And what other colour would bread be, in Britain?

      • Nobody Special
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Grey, if you buy the really cheap shit!

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        Green, if you leave it long enough .

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

          Someone somewhere, makes spinach bread.

  20. freiner
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Now I see why Philadelphia played such a large role in the American Revolution. Just when Benjamin Franklin invents the cheesesteak, the British send us this? And less than a century after William Penn discovered the hoagie?

    • David Coxill
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      And Mr Balboa invented Rocky Road Ice Cream .

  21. Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I would not call what Mr. Coleman is showing us “bread”.

    A nice brioche roll, some ciabatta, or some good focaccia, now you’re talking.

    Anyone here familiar with Deli Express? Who buys these things?

  22. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I could never knock the British food too much. Fish and Chips are a thing of beauty. I would pass up the hamburgers and chicken sandwiches anytime for the Cod and chips.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      In Scotland thy make haggis, which I liked a lot.

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Right on Randall! I think my son never ate anything for lunch or supper except fish and chips in the UK. It was WONDERFUL. He even got addicted to malt vinegar on the fish!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        I love malt vinegar on fried battered fish too, though when I made a fish butty with the fish, I’d use plum sauce, which is a delicious combination.

        However, I’ve recently taken to having a Steak burger on fish n chip night – a weekly Hastie family tradition from my childhood. Hamburger patty, steak, fried egg, lettuce, tomato relish, beetroot, mayonnaise. Dessert is, of course, a pineapple fritter.

        • Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

          You certainly won’t be short on protein with that meal!

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            Good for the brain!

  23. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    But nobody expects to find decent food in the UK. If it happens (it has to me) it is an enormous surprise.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      In Spain they say “no se pueden pedir peras al olmo”, which means more or less that you cannot ask an elm to give you pears.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        How ignorant! Have you even been to the UK? The quality of food obtainable throughout the country is excellent, and getting better all the time. My own fairly small town (50k people) has at least half a dozen restaurants whose food I would be proud to recommend, not to mention the excellent pub grub in a good 15 inns I can think of.

        Nobody who actually cares about sandwiches would think of buying one from the sad establishments featured above. In most towns you can find sandwich bars where you can choose the filling you want from a range of options – and get generous quantities as well.

        And, just to ramp up the temperature a bit, that pastrami “sandwich” is, I think, the most revolting photo I have ever seen on this site!

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      We ate very, very in the UK last time in 2015. In fact, I don’t remember a disappointing meal. And my standard is fairly high.

      I can only say: UK, you’ve come a long way, baby!

      • Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        very, very well that would be.

        We did have advice from relatives; but in London, the small Indian place near our first hotel was lovely. Same with the local fish shop. Excellent. King’s Cross, not Kensington!

      • Posted March 6, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Indeed – and it is all thanks to the EU and reverse colonialism from the Indian subcontinent. I wonder how Brexit will affect all the wonderful Italian food I had in both London and Birmingham, for example.

    • Nick260682
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Your view on British food is about 20 years out of date. I’ll happily concede back then it was largely poor, but it has changed beyond recognition since then.

      I’ve recently read pieces in the NYT and from prominent french food critics both declaring London to be the best restaurant destination on earth.

      I live in London so my view is obviously biased but it is great. The choice is vast, and the standard keeps going up, the different restaurants keep pushing each other to greater heights.

      • Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        Your dates match mine very closely. Yes, 20-25 years ago, much of the food was dire. Now, as I noted in a comment above, (in 2015) it was wonderful. (And very expensive! 🙂 )

  24. kieran
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I give you the breakfast roll http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIIWKA_h12Q

    Then’s there is the chicken fillet roll http://www.dailyedge.ie/tayto-chicken-fillet-roll-2304121-Sep2015/

    • Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      What is a jumbo breakfast roll?

      • Nobody Special
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

        It’s elephant meat.
        Well, it’s just a large bread roll filled with any or all of bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, mushrooms, tomatoes (pref. tinned plum), baked beans. Basically, a full English breakfast served in bread.

        • Posted March 6, 2018 at 12:43 am | Permalink

          Why not call it a Dumbo breakfast roll then?

          • kieran
            Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

            The Irish version is usually but not limited to, two sausages, two rashers, black and white puddling in a french baguette. Some places have hash browns, mushrooms.

            I’ve had a full english with the canned tomatoes…it didn’t end well.

            Prefer an ulster fry with potato farls

            • Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

              Holy Crap, that would be YUGE! 🙂 (And I mean that in the best possible way!)

  25. Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    If I’m going to eat a cheese sandwich, I prefer Tillamook cheddar cheese (from Oregon) on Dave’s Killer Bread (from Oregon) with condiments of my choice, if cold, and with butter or mayo if toasted.

  26. yiamcross
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    That pastrami sandwich does indeed look magnificent but now I understand why obesity is such a big problem in America. There are plenty of places where you can buy a decent sandwich in the UK, one which is tasty and made from proper bread with noce things in it but not artery furring and gut busting in size.

    • tubby
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      That’s really a multiple meal or multiple people sandwhich. I’ve those before, but never just for me or just one sitting!

  27. EliHershkovitz
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    The best sandwich I have ever enjoyed is the British Ploughman’s lunch made with malted bread, Stilton, and sexed up with Branston chutney. Twenty years later and nothing comes close.

  28. Nick260682
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    That pastrami “sandwich” is playing fast and lose with the term. It’s a pile of meat with some bread next to it.

    A good sandwich is all about ratios. That pastrami would no doubt be delicious with about 80% less pastrami and some pickles and dressing etc. But it has to be able to be eaten with your hands between bread, in normal sized bites, otherwise it’s a deconstructed sandwich. And if you deconstruct anything in food you are a tosser.

    Also, cheese sandwiches like the one shown have sated my drunken impatient hunger many a time, albeit with plenty of butter and Branston pickle, or if I’m lucky some of my mothers various chutneys.

    Although I have to agree, most supermarket sandwiches in U.K. are pretty poor. But you’re comparing top of the range deli sandwiches with bottom of the range crappy supermarket rubbish. Apples and oranges.

    • Nick260682
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm | Permalink


    • Dominic
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 3:32 am | Permalink

      “hold the pickle, hold the lettuce
      Special orders don’t upset us…”

  29. Robert Seidel
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    True that. I just moved to the UK, and while you can get palatable sandwiches here, more often than not it’s travesties like these.

    And you’ll never see what I consider a proper sandwich: A rye bread Fischbrötchen

    • Dominic
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 3:21 am | Permalink

      I refuse to pay extortionate amounts for something I can make at home far cheaper & better & bring in. Saves a fortune.

  30. Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    Subway!!! I’d rather bite the crutch out of a dead rat than eat anything from Subway. You can smell those awful shops from a quarter of a mile away. A horrible rancid, disgusting stink.

  31. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    At least in the U.K. You can buy decent cheese to put in a sarnie. I’ve been in the USofA for over two months now and I haven’t come across any decent US cheese, it’s all rubber, far more suited to putting on a wheel as a tyre.

    • Helen Hollis
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      People actually buy a sandwich that consists of fries inside it? Bread is a starch, potato also a starch. Both as white and bland as most Republicans.

      • Hemidactylus
        Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Cuban steak sandwiches are sprinkled heavily with shoe string potatoes.

      • Dominic
        Posted March 6, 2018 at 3:20 am | Permalink

        Where there is poverty, there people make poor food choices, opting for filling up over a balanced diet. PCC[E] eats sensibly, & I am sure does not skimp on veg the way some people do.

    • kieran
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      The butter isn’t that great either, went on a cheese binge when I got home from my holiday. There are some lovely places to eat in America but the generic take away/fast food is terrible quality compared to Ireland especially the quality of beef in burgers, tried a wendies the texture was weird and taste bland.

    • Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      You aren’t looking in the right places, I’m afraid. The US (particularly Washington State, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa) is producing many world-class cheeses now. (I am a serious cheese-head, addicted to French, Spanish, Italian, and UK cheeses.)

      You just need to avoid almost all of the basic yellow (“cheddar”, “colby”) or white (“mozzarella”, “jack”, etc.) as these generally, continue to be very boring.

      Absolutely avoid “American” cheese, which is usually labeled as “cheese food product” which alone should tell you all you need to know!

      Some good US cheeses:
      Amablue blue and gorgonzola
      Anything from Cypress Grove (CA), especially Humboldt Fog
      Anything from Cowgirl Creamery
      Anything from Laura Chenel

      Here’s a good place to start. I haven’t tried most of these; but the reviews sound great:


  32. Helen Hollis
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Someone mentioned Cousins, and that was my husbands favorite place from the past to go for a submarine. Now we go to Jimmy John’s if we are going to get a quick bite from a chain. My favorite sandwich is the classic BLT(Bacon, lettuce and tomato). I like a smear of mayo on the toasted bread when I am behaving myself, otherwise a healthy spread of mayo.
    In Iowa I had what they call a “loose meat” sandwich. It was different.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      The best (maybe only good) thing about returning to Milwaukee from Chicago is that I am a few minutes away from three different Cousins shops.

  33. Hemidactylus
    Posted March 5, 2018 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

    The only One True Sandwich is a Tripleta. It’s Puerto Rican but may be found at enlightened Cuban restaurants. Tripleta and congri is the perfect lunch. Add a batido and have a transcendent experience.

    Posted March 6, 2018 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    The first one is a travesty, but the rest are fine by me. The UK would rather not overtake the US as a world leader in obesity. I’ve always found US sandwiches to have too much meat, making them irresponsible from environmental and ethical points of view.

    • Dominic
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 3:17 am | Permalink

      Yes – meat is not good for the world. Talking of which, an interesting item on ending food waste here

    • Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your Sandwich Policing. I knew that people would use this lighthearted post as a chance to whale on the U.S. for its obesity.

      Any other complaints about America while you’re at it?

      Why not throw in Trump, too? He was, after all, elected by FAT PEOPLE.

        Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        No thanks. I’m happy to leave the anti-Trump posts to you (though I suspect some thin people voted for him too).

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Well how much time have you got hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

        I dislike the way you say LEVER ,when it should be pronounced LEVER .

        Well you have to admit a lot of Americans are XXXXXXX Large .

        I did hear that if they all moved to California it would put so much stress on the San Andreas Fault California would split off the rest of the US .

        As always just a little teasing .

  35. Posted March 6, 2018 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    The cheese with sliced bread is unacceptable (I won’t even call it a sandwich), but the others are what I normally see, and what I’m used to.

  36. Dominic
    Posted March 6, 2018 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    I have cheese rolls today with nothing but some butter substitute, largely because I forgot to purchase any additional ingredient like smoked salmon…

    Hancock: I am leaving this house, leaving society. I shall become a hermit.
    Reporter: But, er, what are you going to live on Mr Hancock?
    Hancock: Nature is bountiful, young man! I will eat the food she has provided! Berries, herbs, grass… he’s right you know, what am I going to live on?

  37. Posted March 6, 2018 at 5:02 am | Permalink

    Has no one been to Borough Market? Give Hobbs a try for a terrific — and filling– pork sandwich. And there are good fast-food sandwich shops like Pret a Manger, or E.A.T. all over London where you can purchase a thoroughly enjoyable sandwich on a variety of breads, wraps, or rolls. Why anyone would buy a sandwich at Boots –which is primarily a pharmacy– is completely baffling.

    • Posted March 6, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      Because once I had to hurry back to a meeting from a walk and Boots was the only nearby place where I could grab a sandwich. Are you happy now?

      • Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        Acually, I was just trying to point out that a good sandwich can be had in London.

    • David Coxill
      Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Benjy’s used to be ok.The one on Cannon st used to be packed with those city traders with their funny jackets .

  38. Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    So the problem with the pastrami sandwich in the photo is that it is a full meal in its own right. If you tried to call it a sandwich in Britain, people would laugh at you in your face and then make unfair comments about how overweight Americans are.

    Sandwiches in Britain are designed to be portable. You can put them in a bag and carry them around to eat at your convenience pretty much anywhere.

    If I have the inclination for a proper lunch, I’ll go to a pub or a restaurant and order a real meal and not two pounds of processed beef with a bread garnish.

      Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      What he said.

    • Posted March 6, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Well this is a sandwich in a sit-down deli. And, as I said, there’s a bread bar where you can take this behemoth and make five or six sandwiches. It’s designed not to be eaten by one person, but by a group or subdivided into sandwiches for later.

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Oh you say that now ,us Brits were under the impression that one person was going to polish the whole lot off .

      • Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Ah well, I stand partially corrected then, but it does mean you are not comparing like with like. There are plenty of sandwich shops in Britain that do allow you to order a custom sandwich with the bread and fillings of your choice, and they are not all called Subway.

  39. jhs
    Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    How much is the pastrami sandwich from Harold’s New York Deli?

  40. Posted March 6, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I love Harold’s. The matzoh ball soup is amazing (and each one is the size of a softball).

    Plus you have to mention the pickle bar.

    jhs – the pastrami clocks in at a little under $30. It’s really meant to be shared.

  41. Posted March 6, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I stayed at Russell Square in 2012. There was a small “corner store” style grocery (depaneur in my native Quebec English idiom). It had good sandwiches, though the price was outrageous, but that’s London.

    Why good? Cultural appropriation, man – these were with vaguely “Indian” ingredients – it was actually a very good curry (for one not prepared immediately) chicken and another (from another visit) with baked eggplant.

  42. revelator60
    Posted March 6, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Back in November the Guardian ran a fascinating long article titled “How the Sandwich Consumed Britain:

    Simply put, pre-made sandwiches are a very big business in the UK. There are several chains that specialize in them, like Pret a Manger and E.A.T, and in my experience their sandwiches are of far better quality than pre-made American sandwiches. They are also a Godsend for busy tourists like myself, who can get a cheap meal to eat on the go (thus saving time and money for dinner).

    • Posted March 6, 2018 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Pret a Manger has the best croissants I’ve eaten outside of France.

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