Why is it…

… that in the land of endless choices, where ordering a sandwich can take up to fifteen minutes (seven kinds of bread, five fillings, eight additional fillings on top of that, plus extras, and a side, and if you order salad for your side that needs a dressing, and whatever you do don’t order the raspberry vinaigrette because it’s so sweet it actually tasted better on my ice cream than on my salad), the waitress still has to make a special note to the chef to have someone butter my bread? I mean, if a sandwich doesn’t start with buttered bread (sourdough, if you’re interested) what does it start with?

It reminds me of the now legendary time I was ordering a sandwich somewhere in the midwest. ‘You want mayonnaise with that?’ ‘No thanks.’ ‘You want mustard?’ ‘No thanks.’ Pause. Look of horror. ‘You mean you want it DRY?’

For the record, he went ahead and put mayonnaise on it anyway.

9 Responses to Why is it…

  1. Rebecca says:

    “I mean, if a sandwich doesn’t start with buttered bread (sourdough, if you’re interested) what does it start with?”

    Anything from the most common mayo/mustard (as your midwestern experience taught you) to special dressings but, rarely – in this country, anyway – does it start with butter. In fact, don’t even ask for it in a Subway – where they, too, have all manner of breads & fillings to choose from. Because I’m not sure they even have butter on the premises. (They do, however, have pizza and huge white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, which should more than make up for any lack of butter.)

    As to raspberry dressing, well, they differ greatly from brand to brand and, I’m sure, from restaurant to restaurant. Personally, I adore the Ken Steakhouse one, but the Wishbone version is just plain yucky. And, yes, that is an acceptable gastronomical term.

    In any case, there’s always the possibility that you’ve put a little bee in the chef’s bonnet and next time you visit you will find sandwiches offered on bread that is buttered. Sometimes people bring ideas back with them from abroad, and sometimes ideas are brought to them. Good either way, all it takes is an open mind.

    Hope you’re enjoying your holiday and that the weather gods pass you by once more.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I’ve kind of got used to it now, although I still dislike mayonnaise & don’t see why it should be slathered on everything willy nilly. When I asked for butter and she wrote it down on her little slip I did wonder whether she was being sarcastic (a British waitress would definitely be) or humouring me, but the other half assures me that this was a special case.

    Oh well, each to their own. And there are probably Americans out there who wonder why the hell every sandwich in Britain has to be desecrated by butter. See also, ice (or the lack thereof) in drinks.

    You raise an interesting point about subway though. We have them in the UK & I’ve always had the meatball marinara (or the Pizza sub … mmmm) and never even thought about the butter issue. Shall have to look next time but even in Bigtown the Subway experience is so thoroughly standardised and Americanised I doubt they have it.

  3. Dom says:

    The conversation will go as such:

    You: 6″ meatball marinara on hearty Italian please
    Them: Would you like extra cheese?
    You: No, but could you butter the bread please?
    Them: *blank look* … Would you like extra cheese?

    The conversation will head south rapidly from there.

  4. disgruntled says:

    might have to try that

  5. WOL says:

    My mom makes sandwiches with butter for herself and her rellies from time to time, but that’s because she grew up on a farm, and they didn’t have mayo (you had to buy it, whereas butter was a byproduct of having milk cows). Butter won’t “curdle” if not refrigerated (as in taking your lunch out to the fields where it’s in the hot half the day) like mayo does (because of the eggs). Also, here we have the mayo/salad dressing controversy — “salad dressing” by Kraft is the poor man’s mayo — we always had it growing up because it was cheaper than mayo. (I loathe it!) I’d go to my aunt’s and she had real mayo, and I was in heaven. Here in the South, we even eat mayo on french fries (chips) instead of catsup. Chacun à son goût, I suppose.

  6. disgruntled says:

    my objection to mayo is that it tastes of mayo, and normally overpowers whatever else is in the sandwich. Whereas I don’t really taste the butter. But then that may just be what I’m used to.

    I think the belgians do that to their chips (fries) too.

  7. John Gibson says:

    The best place to eat these sandwiches is over the sink when it starts leaking, but I just cannot do it, and so get it all down my tee shirt as I like to read at the same time.
    John

    Have a look at this

  8. disgruntled says:

    Ah, but there was butter in the chicken salad sandwich…

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