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By the time the third G+ chat window came up from some well intentioned friend asking if I’d yet to BEAR WITNESS TO THE MISOGYNY of 300Sandwiches.com, I knew I needed to take a break and lay my peepers upon this travesty.
I figured “sandwiches” was some weird douchebag analogy for female anatomy and maybe this was the tale of some bro who was posting about the women he’s banged, comparing them to bread and meat. (If I now spawn such a blog, let's agree in advance to blame Tumblr).
“I don’t get it. It's like… sandwiches. Did chicken become misogynistic since we last spoke?” I asked, wondering if one of my more militantly female friends had decided the link to “chicks” was too much to bear.
“The about page. READ THE ABOUT PAGE.”.
If you’ve not READ THE ABOUT PAGE, let me catch you up. Stephanie Smith, a New York Post reporter, has written a blog in which she makes a sandwich a day for her boyfriend. If she makes him 300 sandwiches, he’ll propose to her.
And in response, the Internet went to orange alert because My Sweet Jeebus, what kind of woman wants to marry a man who makes a woman work for his love ? What kind of man wants a woman to slave in the kitchen? WHAT ABOUT THE YOUNG GIRLS? What kind of example are these two setting?
We’ll get to all that, but first, can we talk sandwiches? Cause these are some pretty fancy sandwiches, and that alone excites me. I’m not a big sandwich person as it goes -- a BLT here or there and the occasional grilled cheese meet my fancy, but there’s nothing about slapping things between bread that tickles my flibertywidget. It's bread. Get over it.
But these sandwiches are sumthin else. A Pepper Steak Wrap speaks to me. A “Three P’s” Prosciutto, Parmesan and Pesto Croissant sandwich rings my bell. An “I Forgot About It” Lamb Meatball Sandwich makes me swoon. Forget anything else, these are some damn good sandwiches.
The blog itself? A simply designed, easy to read, beautifully photographed ode to all things stacked. It comes complete with bio, contact and well…. you get the point.
YOU’VE BEEN MUSTARDED.
Ms. Smith is no fool. She’s an editor at a NYC paper, not writing from a farm in outer bumblefuck. The boyfriend is a mobile developer. I suspect they both know exactly what they’re doing, and if so, they’re doing it right because here we are discussing it.
This is not a story of chauvinism or misogyny or keeping women barefoot in the kitchen. It's not about a tool lording an engagement ring over a woman like a toy or a woman overvaluing a relationship above her own person. Ms. Smith has placed all the disclaimers necessary to keep Schulte from assuming the role of douchebag boyfriend. He cooks most of the elaborate meals in the house, they both work, there is no race to the altar, they are equals, there is no real “goal,” etc. The story is, THERE'S NO STORY. It's shtick.
Delicious, stacked, occasionally toasted and slathered with horseradish sauce schtick.
It made me think of my friend Tamar. Writer of a ridiculously charming blog and insightful food articles, but without a big story. And the slew of amazingly talented food writers striving for a cookbook deal. The writers of just honest, good recipes with a bit of humor or story or history - without the willingness to make themselves the ringmaster of a well-orchestrated three ring circus.
I don’t think Smith is malicious or badly intentioned. I think she’s treading the path laid by the Julie Powells and Nie Nies of the world and navigating it well. It's not enough to just do a job well -- we need the big story.
And it made me think about us. Are we this simple? Do we really need the narrative? The buzz? The controversy? In this case, the fake one?
Can’t we just enjoy the damn sammiches?
The Top Five Misogynistic (and Delicious!) Travesties of 300 Sandwiches
Let me mansplain you some honey and goat cheese fabulousness. 'Cause honey makes cheese sing. Pecan you feel me?
2. Sandwich #102–"Russ & Daughters or Bust” Smoked Salmon Smørrebrød
There’s no Blurred Lines here. Lox, capers, pumpernickel -- it's everything this Good Girl wanted out of Hebrew School and more. The onions are a strong statement of female independence (because no one is going to want you with that breath).
This lamb is oppressed. Well, pressed, anyways, between baguette after being roasted. Not like roasted in a mocking, make you feel bad about your womanness way, just in the “bake at 350 way.”
4. Sandwich #122: “You Butchered It!” Duck Pastrami on Rye
Most fowl hits a glass ceiling before it can aspire to the greatness of duck. I’ve got some serious confirmation bias when it comes to duck pastrami, it's like the ultimate privilege of duckdom. Add some sweetness of currants and throw it all on rye and its a barn burner.
5. Sandwich #175–"Indian Summer” Oven-Baked Fried Green Tomatoes with Feta and Pesto
Green tomatoes are your bitch when you batter and broil them. But you cannot objectify the tomatoes on their own - with melty feta and creamy, crunchy pesto, this sucker achieves some intersectionality worth a thesis or two.