Thursday, May 20, 2010

TLC Top Ten Favorite Sandwiches in America

by Edward Sandwichhands and Beau Cadiyo

Edward found an article called "America's Top 10 Favorite Sandwiches" by Echo Surina. ("Echo Surina" is one of those names that, for a girl, is pretty hot, and for a boy shows that your parents hoped you'd be gay.) Ed sent it to me expressing some skepticism about the list, and asked if the CSB should respond. He intimated that sandwich writing is not for amateurs, and when a novice enters into our world it's our job to make sure that they bring to the art of sandwich reviewing a suitable respect for Sandwich Science™. Naturally, I agreed. It's impossible to argue with truth like that.

Here is their list with our responses:

10: English Muffin Breakfast Sandwich

Ed's response: If it is one of America's favorite sandwiches, why is it made with CANADIAN bacon and an ENGLISH muffin? Clearly the writers of this post are Redcoats, Benedict Arnolds, or terrorists.

Beau's response: I don't share any of Ed's reservations about our neighbor to the north or former colonial master. I did, at first, question this as a choice of "America's Favorite" sandwiches. On some reflection, however, I could accept this, considering that so many fast food stores and breakfast restaurants have this or some variation on their breakfast menus. This gets a pass.

I noticed that there was no statistical evidence supporting the claim that this is the tenth favorite sandwich in America. Who made these determinations? Or is this Echo Surina's top ten?

9: Smokey Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

Beau's response: Yeawhat? This is totally out of left field; how did this make the cut? Perhaps, again, the author is looking to fast food menus for inspiration, but here, it fails. Without some sort of statistical evidence - much less some sort of logical argument - showing that it should be on the list, it should be pulled. Merely saying that it was "inspired" by Southern eating doesn't cut it. Amateur hour and, again, I suspect Echo Surina is letting his/her own biases get in the way of proper sandwich reporting.

Ed's response: Really? I'm pretty sure the pulled pork sandwich, which did not make this list, is much more popular.

8: Hot Beef Sandwich

Ed's response: So basically, this is the same as number 9 but it doesn't have bbq sauce?

Beau's response: Ed hit the nail on the head. I don't get this one at all. It takes up space which could have been used for, say, Tuna Salad or a standard Hero.

7: Ham and Cheese Stromboli

Beau's response: Sandwiches are two slices of bread with filling. Strombolis are not two slices of bread with filling. I have no idea why Echo Surina thought that this would somehow slip through. I'd like to chalk this up to amateurishness, but this seems to be a willful attempt to stretch the definition of a sandwich to any sort of food which involves baking and filling, and anyone purporting to report on sandwiches must know better. At this point, Echo Surina should have been fired from the job and an expert should have been brought in to replace him/her. It would have cost much, much more, but the list of America's top sandwiches would have at least included only sandwiches. What's #6 going to be - a chicken pot pie?

Ed's response: A Stromboli isn't a sandwich. Why not just throw pizza, apple pie, and chicken wings on the list? Don't quit your day-job, moron.

6: Classic grilled cheese sandwich

Ed's response: I'll give them this one. I don't appreciate their suggestion that I make my grilled cheese on whole wheat bread though (even though I usually do.)

Beau's response: I will echo Ed; the grilled cheese is a classic adored far and wide. This should definitely have been on the list.

5: Grilled Reubens with Cole Slaw

Beau's Response: I'll also give them this one; Reubens are pretty good. However, before this, why not go with the more wide-spread classic - a corned beef sandwich?

Ed's Response: Reuben's are grilled with sauerkraut. SANDWICH SCIENCE™, check it.

4: Philly Cheese Steak

Ed's response: I highly doubt that the majority of Philly Cheese Steak's in this country are made with rib-eye. Steak-umm's are not rib-eye. As a matter of fact, if you visit the Steak-umm's website at, you will notice that one of the first things to appear on your screen is, "Steak-umm's Recipe Ideas! "Philly Cheese Steak" Sandwich. "

Beau's response: With the success of Philly Cheese Steak chains across the country, this should probably have been included. However, again, I'd like to see something to back this up as one of the country's favorite sandwiches, rather than just Echo Surina's. I also doubt that it goes to #4 - a fried chicken patty would come ahead of a Philly Cheese Steak any day of the week.

3: Chicken Salad Sandwich

Beau's response: This was a bit of a shocker. Sure, they're in a lot of places, but I'm not sure it warrants placement at #3. In addition, they leave out egg salad sandwiches, which I would suspect are as popular and wide-spread as chicken salad. This should have been lower on the list, and these two sandwiches should have been a tie.

Ed's response: Gross, just gross. Where is the turkey club?

Beau's further response: good point, Ed. Perhaps we shouldn't read any more.

2: Sloppy Joes

Ed's response: Back in the old times when I lived in a frat house we had a humongous cook named "Kathy." She frequently made extra-sloppy sloppy joes. The sandwich itself will always remind me of her giant arms with huge tufts of fat pouring out like molasses.

Beau's response: I haven't had one of these since my days at W. D. Hall Elementary School. In fact, I don't know of a single place outside of elementary academia which serves sloppy joe's. This might be a kid's favorite, but kids also liked pikachu and slap bracelets. Kids are stupid. So is anyone who would put a Sloppy Joe at #2 of America's Favorite Sandwiches.

1: Po' Boys

Beau's response:
When I flipped through the list and saw #2, I naturally expected that #1 would be the quintessential American sandwich: the mighty Hamburger. Thus, seeing Po' Boys, I just stared in stunned, stupefied silence. I should have known that #1 would be totally incorrect, of course, considering the other sandwiches on this list. Are Po' Boys good? Yes. Are they one of America's Favorite Sandwiches? No. Is Echo Surina deliberately trying to make a list of not the Favorite Sandwiches in America? Is she trying to impose some skewed sandwich preference paradigm on the country? Is this like the plan Kurt Vonnegut described whereby humans made aliens feel inferior? (Someone help me out with the name of the book...) Is she just trying to beef-block burgers? Put PB&J here if you really want to keep burgers off of the list. Put a BLT. Put hot dogs. A Po' Boy as America's Favorite Sandwich? Surely you're joking. I would suggest to Echo Surina that he/she visit Afghanistan wearing either a kippah or bikini (or both) and wander into the mountains before he/she submits such absurdist filth, such ridiculous drivel, to an intelligent American public he/she obviously has no respect for.

Ed's response: They don't even say WHAT KIND of Po' Boy..... What is a Po' Boy anyhow but another word for hoagie, grinder, or sub? The writers might as well have put the number one sandwich as "sandwich".

It turns out that Echo Surina is a reasonably photogenic woman, an "award-winning journalist," and she now lives in San Diego. At last count she had 190 friends on Facebook. Neither Ed nor I are on that list.

She also owns a "writing studio" called Philanthropology, which describes itself thus: "Philanthropology is a boutique writing studio specifically for individuals with a cause." A professional, award-winning writer crafted that sentence. I guess we'll have to step up our game.

1 comment:

Earl S. said...

Beau, you and Ed are right on the money with your criticisms. I would argue that Echo Surina relatively smokin', however. A little Summer Glau-ish. Give credit where credit is due!

But honestly, this is the most worthless list ever. VH1's best 100 of whatever are better written than this! Sometimes I wonder if there is some sort of agenda for stories like this. Was this funded by some shadowy, clandestine Po' Boy syndicate out to destroy the hamburger? Mmmm. Hamburgers.