Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Sandwich Question

Sometimes I think it's funny how small things really are a big deal. Like making sandwiches, for example.

In my mom's family growing up, if I remember correctly, a whole sandwich was what my dad considered a half. You would make a sandwich by folding one piece of bread in half and that was a whole sandwich. So when my parents were dating...or first married...or something, my mom was making sandwiches and asked my dad if he wanted one sandwich or two. He answered one, so she came out with a half a sandwich for him.

Obviously his idea of "whole" won out in my family growing up because I think a whole sandwich is made from two pieces of bread.

I must admit, though, that I always thought that was kind of a funny difference. And surely nothing like that would ever transpire between my husband and I.

But, oh, it has, as I was reminded today when I was making grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

In my family you put mayo and cheese inside the sandwich. Then you butter the outsides and fry it.

In his family you put cheese and only cheese inside the sandwich. Then you butter the outsides and fry it. Some members of his family then choose to *gag* dip their sandwiches into little piles of mayonnaise. Apparently. I've never seen this done. And I'm kind of glad of it.

I can handle spreading mayo on bread, although I only have mayo with my grilled cheese sandwiches. I don't think I could handle it in a pile on my plate. Andrew thinks I'm weird because I put mayo in my grilled cheese sandwiches. I think he's weird because he doesn't.

But it doesn't stop there. We also can't agree on something as simple as peanut butter and jelly.

To me, a PB & J is just that: peanut butter + jam. I put peanut butter one one slice of bread, jam on the other slice of bread, then put those two together (faces in, of course), and, presto! I have my sandwich (or two sandwiches if you are in my mom's family).

Andrew spreads one slice with peanut butter, as is normal. Before jamming his second slice, though, he first butters it. So one slice of bread has peanut butter, solo, and the other piece has a layer of butter and a layer of jam. And then he puts those two together.

That kind of seems like overkill to me. More of a peanut butter butter sandwich. A PB & B & J.

Of course, he finds my butterless sandwiches a little strange as well.

I suppose we'll see which tradition will win out where.

At least we don't make peanut butter and pepperoni sandwiches (Auntie Em)!


  1. Explanation: When I was growing up, we NEVER put anything but cheese in our grilled cheese sandwiches. When I married Reid, he said he liked mayo on his, but I refused to even think about (gag) cooking mayo on a sandwich. So I allowed him to just dip his grilled cheese in a blob of mayo on his plate. It took me 20 years to warm up to the idea, but I actually do the same now. So Andrew's idea of a grilled cheese sandwich is, in itself, a compromise. As for the PB&J, my mom said we needed to butter the jam bread first because that way the jam wouldn't soak through the bread while the sandwich was sitting in our lunchboxes at school. Isn't it funny how traditions get started?

  2. My peanut butter and pepperoni sandwiches are so tasty!!! You should try it!

  3. And in my family growing up, we always buttered the bread before anything went on it, even peanut butter. Except for grilled cheese. For that, we put only cheese. So they way you grew up eating sandwiches was the Layton way entirely; I now think that extra butter is overkill (literally on that kill--hello, cholesterol!) and I don't care either way about mayo and grilled cheese. I just did it the way your dad liked it. It wasn't really important to me.

  4. Mayo on grilled cheese sounds gross. As does butter on pb&j. Ew. Just in case you're keeping score of what people think you should teach your child. Just sayin'. The best part about those sandwiches that the name is all inclusive. You don't need a recipe because the name says exactly what it calls for.

  5. My mom would butter the jam side of a PB&J for my brothers (I couldn't stand it) because it helped the jam from leaking onto the other side of the bread. It really did, too. But if you think THAT'S gross, you should have seen the sandwiches my baby brother used to make for himself, or insist that we make for him: peanut butter, jam, ketchup, pickles, ham. Yeah. Seriously. All-in-one, baby, all-in-one. I'm sure there's an ingredient or two I'm forgetting, as well...

  6. Mairyn's favorite variation: peanut butter & raspberry jelly & little chocolate chips. mmmm. PB & banana, yeahhhhh.

  7. I could easily be dissuaded from putting mayo on my grilled cheese sandwiches. Then the only thing we'd ever use mayo for is egg salad. And sometimes tuna.

    PB does go well with a lot of things: especially bananas and apples.

    I had a friend in school who would put pickles in her PB & J, but I reserve those specifically for non-peanut butter sandwiches.

  8. Wow, that all sounds crrrrraaazy to me. lol, jk but I did almost gag at the whole mayo section. Mayo gives me the willies.

  9. I can't believe mom didn't mention her mono-sodium-glutamate sandwiches... mom - how could you not!?!

    I like plain potato chips in my PB and J sandwiches.
    Billy thinks Mayo in grilled cheese is weird, but I only do it if I fry it on the stove, if I use the sandwich maker, I don't usually use anything but Pam.

  10. Why do you think I am such a well-preserved specimen? It was my MSG sandwiches! Any takers out there? Really yummy!

  11. I don't eat mayo at all, and until I read this post and the comments, I had no idea ppl put mayo in their grilled cheese sandwiches. *shudders* However, my dad does the butter thing too. We call him "butter king" at our house. He has it on practically everything. And if not butter, then mayo. He'll put a thick layer of mayo on both pieces of bread when he eats a sandwich. I have no idea how he can stomach them down!

  12. All I have to say is MAYO IS GROSS!

  13. Nancy,
    Thanks so much for your comments on my blog... your words of support mean a lot. :)

  14. Growing up, I didn't know about mayo on a grilled cheese OR butter on a pb&j, but when I got into high school, a boyfriend introduced me to the mayo on grilled cheese because that's how his family made it. I was into it for a while, but then it just got to be too much. When I was a kid, though, I had a friend who would put lettuce on her pb&j sandwiches.. she liked it.. no added flavor, but a little crunch. I never tried it.. I just said if you want the crunch, use crunchy peanut butter! I did do this weird thing with my waffles for a while, though, before my mom stamped it down as being unhealthy and demanded I stop: butter, peanut butter, and cream cheese, all together on my waffles on Saturday mornings! Mmmm.. haha actually, thinking about it now kind of makes me gag, but I thought it was a good idea at the time!

  15. Let's get this straight 1) if you get one slice of bread make your sandwich and fold it in half, it is half the size of two slices of bread made into a sandwich. In other words if you cut the the whole two sliced sandwich in half you get a half of sandwich which is the size of one slice folded. Make since? 2) if you don't put mayo on a cheese sandwich you have just dry fried toast with melted cheese between. By putting mayo on before cooking you can add other things like tomatoes, chips, pickles, and ham or pepperoni (and pb&j) if you want without having to try to add the mayo after everything is melted and gummed together. There is reasoning for my madness. Nancy, you have a couple of siblings that like mustard with cheese sandwiches.

  16. I don't put mayo on my cheese sandwiches and I dip mine in ketchup. I also have learned to make brown sugar sandwiches, from a friend who grew up with no peanut butter. You butter the bread and sprinkle brown sugar on the butter side. it's not bad.