Recently my wife and I went to one of our favourite lunch spots; a place called Knead. They’re known for their pizzas, good home-made ginger beer and, most importantly, their coffee is quite tasty.
It was the end of the school term so I was starting to relax and unwind and, fatally, I allowed this to diminish my usual culinary vigilance. I was merrily meandering through the various options on the menu when my brain said to me “Hey, they do open sandwiches here. You haven’t had one of those in a while!” So I chose an over-enthusiastically described open sandwich which claimed would melt my brain with its tantalising tastes and take me to a new realm of deliciousness. Damn brain.
When my order arrived I immediately regretted my decision. Now my brain reminded me why I haven’t ordered an open sandwich in a while; they make me feel like a monkey that’s expected to write the complete works of Shakespeare on Windows Vista.
So whilst my wonderful wife tucked in to her open sandwich with glee and surgeon-like skill, I was busy staring at my quite beautiful meal and puzzling over how to eat it. Should I adopt the Gung-Ho approach and attack the middle? Do I employ the Caveman technique and use my hands? Or do I try not to embarrass my wife and copy her?
I decided on the latter and, armed with a fork and a blunt knife, I diligently copied Claire. What resulted was less meal and more war of attrition. I have never concentrated that hard whilst eating a meal before. It felt like I was back in school writing an impossible exam that the person sitting next to me had already finished. This obviously meant that I didn’t really enjoy the meal.
I only have two categories that I put a meal into. Either you eat it with your hands or you eat it with a knife and fork. For example, burgers and sandwiches are hand-food, pasta is cutlery-food but an open sandwich completely messes up my system, neither approach is really suitable but you have to choose one.
It was my wife who first introduced me to open sandwiches one day shortly after our wedding day when we were making ourselves some lunch. I had gone for a pretty regular sandwich and had almost finished eating it by the time Claire finally sat down with her exquisite-looking creation. I was a little confused and asked her why she was only having half a sandwich. She graciously told me that it was not, in fact, a half sandwich, it was an open sandwich and I was a philistine for not knowing this. After consulting my dictionary I was slightly offended but decided that, since I am a Modern Man, I could easily de-philistine myself and enjoy an open sandwich too. I was wrong.
Fortunately, last week I was able to defeat my flat foe, but my confidence took a bit of a knock so I soothed it with a nice coffee, which does not require much concentration. While I was waiting for the caffeine to hit my bloodstream I had an epiphany about open-sandwiches; they are for girls.
Let me explain my thinking before you accuse me of being an open-sandwichist. Open sandwiches are pretty sandwiches. They are not functional. You don’t order one simply because it tastes nice, you order it because it looks beautiful. Generally, women are into pretty things more than men. Men are quite functional: we just want a delicious, easy to eat meal and aren’t too bothered by how it looks, which is why we don’t mind eating at pubs.
Men, if you are reading this I advise you to steer clear of open sandwiches. Women, if you have a man and you don’t hate him then encourage him to go for the pizza if he’s ever tempted by one of these confusing culinary creations.