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The American art of sandwich making

BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,737
I read on Quora this morning that when Americans make sandwiches they do not butter the bread. Is this true? Surely not, it flies in the face of nature.

What other culinary peccadilloes have folk encountered on their travels? I have never had it so cannot speak from experience but friends tell me the American dish called grits has a rare distinction of actually tasting worse than it sounds.


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 16,156
    Green jelly(jello) on the help yourself salad bar, in California.
    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,057
    The first time I went to the US was to New York to stay with a friend.  She made the most amazing sandwhich - layers, stacked high with cheese, salad, pastrami (can't remember if the bread was buttered but I think it must have been or I would have noticed that) and they would last us the whole day as we went out and about.
    But the next visit, to Colorado and then Boston, when I ate out more (work trips), I couldn't believe the size of the portions!
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,544
    Many years ago I was lucky enough to find a remaindered copy of James Beard’s American Cookery. He wrote it from the point of view of both a food historian and a gourmand. The book was published in 1972.

    He says there that bread should be buttered with unsalted butter and that mayo ruins the flavours of the ingredients. He devotes 15 pages of the 839 pages to giving thoughts on and recipes for sandwiches.

    Some of the names of dishes are amusing to British ears. How about a side dish of Hush Puppies? Not to be confused with suede shoes. Or perhaps, in the wrong hands, they could be. Or a slice of Martha Washington pie? Poor woman. Or even worse, Sloppy Joes?

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • SYinUSASYinUSA Georgia, USAPosts: 70
    Sandwich bread is typically not buttered here, but we tend to use other condiments like mayonnaise and mustard. The only exception I can think of is that some hamburger places will toast the buns with garlic butter.

    Grits don't have much flavor on their own - it's just cornmeal porridge. Butter and salt are needed, and Southerners also add a little bacon fat for flavor (but we add bacon fat to everything). The texture is a little off-putting, I'll grant you that.

    I think portion sizes are probably going to steadily decrease simply because of inflation and the choice between smaller portions or higher menu price.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,544
    Here is James Beard on grits and hominy grits and hominy.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,057
    Ah, thanks for that @SYinUSA - now I come to think of it, the sandwiches my friend made were more than likely to have had mayo rather than butter.  And as it was August when I went, butter would more quickly have gone off.  
  • ErgatesErgates Devon, east of ExeterPosts: 1,676
    I do have a weakness for American food, never lost for choice when we have travelled there. I did find the ‘jello’ served with savoury foods very odd. Funny to see scones being called biscuits, and served with gravy. I did enjoy the German pancakes, which seemed to be identical to Yorkshire puddings, served with spiced apple sauce. The quantities were often alarming though. We never had more than one course at meals, although I did notice some families filling up with huge bowls from the salad bar, and then taking most of the main courses home in ‘doggy bags’.
    OH was often disappointed though, when he ordered a meal that came with chips and had forgotten that if he didn’t want crisps, he had to ask for french fries.
  • SYinUSASYinUSA Georgia, USAPosts: 70
    America is quite large and has a lot of variety in the food traditions. San Francisco and NYC are about 3k miles apart. If you go that far from Cardiff, you end up somewhere along the Russia/Kazakhstan border. I'm guessing Welsh food is quite different from the food in Kazakhstan? 
  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 3,737
    What about all those street food vendors of bara brith and laverbread in Astana (or whatever it is called these days)? 😉
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