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squish! chomp! yum!
March 22, 2007 10:40 AM   Subscribe

Help me squish my food!

I've got a thing for squished food, especially sandwiches. I'll make a sandwich and knead it with my fist to make it very flat and dense. I've always wished for a simple roller device with a crank that I could feed sandwiches into to get max flattening capabilities. Bonus points for ideas on compressing my food into dense cubes (much like a trash compactor). I've been doing this with bread since I was a kid.

Sometimes, I sit around and fantasize about compressing an entire salad into a tiny dense cube or a sandwich into an extremely dense and flat brick and eating it by taking little nibbles. If I could do this, I would be the happiest human in the universe!

How could I best achieve these goals?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Food & Drink (46 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
 
You would need something like a pasta maker with more space between the rollers. I have seen machines designed to roll out pizza dough, though that may be a bit complicated for your needs.

have you tried cramming your food through a Play-doh Fun Factory?

Or you could start with something like this can crusher, and perhaps build something to contain the food better.
posted by bondcliff at 10:51 AM on March 22, 2007


A slab roller could handle just about any food, but might be a little overkill.
posted by MtDewd at 10:59 AM on March 22, 2007


A tortilla press would make flat things flatter.
posted by contessa at 11:00 AM on March 22, 2007


I'm not sure a roller would give you the effect you're after; it seems like the sandwich filling would get squeezed out the back. What about a pair of small steel baking pans that nest? Put the sandwich or other food item in pan 1, then set pan 2 on top and compress by applying weight.

Rather than making sandwiches out of 2 fullsized slices of bread, you could stack alternating layers of bread and filling to create an impossibly tall sandwich, then squish it down to eatable dimensions.

I don't know what to tell you about the salad, but it's good to see someone pursuing their dreams. Weirdo.
posted by contraption at 11:06 AM on March 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


You could try a panini grill (heat optional but mmmhotgrilledsammichs) or a sushi press (you'll have to trim the bread a bit for a proper fit).
posted by jamaro at 11:09 AM on March 22, 2007


What about going low tech and using a rolling pin? That way you could push and pull the bread (or whatever) into the thickness and shape you want and make sure the filling doesn't smoosh out.
posted by hollygoheavy at 11:10 AM on March 22, 2007


I always used the biggest book in the encyclopedia to squish my peanut butter sandwiches when I was a kid, but I grew out of it.
posted by terrapin at 11:14 AM on March 22, 2007


sushi press?
posted by nanojath at 11:16 AM on March 22, 2007


jamaro's idea of a sushi press would be the best way to get a compressed brick-like shape. Flatten the food in one direction, then turn it. Perhaps use a (clean!) sponge to take up the excess space, and then flatten again.

Flattening and flipping 90 degrees like that should accomplish what a multi-axis trash-compactor does.
posted by CKmtl at 11:17 AM on March 22, 2007


What you need is a vacuum press :) This will put about 3000lb of pressure onto your sammie. SQUISH!

http://www.woodcraft.com/family.aspx?FamilyID=5200
posted by zeoslap at 11:18 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


And for when you're ready to get really serious about this bizarre fetish...
posted by nanojath at 11:20 AM on March 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


As an added benefit the vacuum press will keep your food fresh, and it is right there in a little bag for you to take to work.
posted by zeoslap at 11:24 AM on March 22, 2007


oops. missed jamaro's answer. What about a paper press? Between a couple sheets of wax paper, you'll show that sandwich who's boss.
posted by nanojath at 11:24 AM on March 22, 2007


You, my odd little friend, want a Hamburger Press. It'll keep all the goods intact, but smoosh the heck out of it.
posted by FlamingBore at 11:40 AM on March 22, 2007


Egg Cuber.
posted by Caviar at 11:46 AM on March 22, 2007


If you're ever in New York, check out Press Toast. They just use a panini press (I think- I've never watched them that closely) but they get those puppies super-compact. Incredibly yummy.
posted by chickletworks at 12:08 PM on March 22, 2007


Contraption's right; you're just going to squoosh out the filling.

But. Just attacking the bread works. When I was a little weirdo, I liked sandwiches tightly rolled jelly-roll-style, with the bread first flattened with a rolling pin.

Usually filled with Cheez Whiz and alfalfa sprouts. I do not eat them now.
posted by kmennie at 12:08 PM on March 22, 2007


For best compression, as has been said earlier, you want to distribute the pressure evenly over the surface of the food. Running a rolling pin across a sandwich will just squirt all the insides out the back. As for technique, I'd like to see you squash a sandwich, fold it in half, squash it again, fold it again, and repeat until it's a uniform mass. Damascened sandwich!

(Oh, and is this question eponysterical or what?)
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:09 PM on March 22, 2007


Homer tried doing this with pasta. It didn't go well.
posted by Merlyn at 12:15 PM on March 22, 2007


I don't have a helpful answer, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this post and the way you expressed the JOY! you seem to get from squished foods. Good for you!
posted by srah at 12:16 PM on March 22, 2007


I've always wanted to see if I could squish an entire pan of brownies into one delectable bite-sized morsel.
posted by asuprenant at 12:16 PM on March 22, 2007


Forgot to add, if you do go with a panini grill, get one with a floating hinge. This will allow you to position the top plate directly over the fixin's and smush straight down. The grills with the fixed hinge at the back tend to force fillings toward one end of the sammich.

I also like these little toasters. Super cheap and small, they seal the edges of the bread for maximum filling retention. p.s. check out the customer reviews, the 2nd one down. "The end result was ok, but I felt the sandwiches were too 'squashed' but edible." Sounds like they made it just for you.
posted by jamaro at 12:30 PM on March 22, 2007


I like your style, I think I'll try it out with my next sandwich. Sounds smashing.

I'll be here 'til Tuesday.
posted by lostburner at 1:33 PM on March 22, 2007


I'm guessing a cheese press would be useful for random food constricting play.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:48 PM on March 22, 2007


How about some play-doh (or other clay-type toy) accessories?
posted by necessitas at 2:04 PM on March 22, 2007


Yeah, a plastic bag with a one-way valve and as powerful a vacuum pump as you can buy. You'll achieve prodigious food density!
posted by phrontist at 2:25 PM on March 22, 2007


I put Snickers bars in triple-bagged Zip-locs and roll over 'em with my car.
They are strangely satisfying, and my friends agree.
I thought I was the only one.
I am completely serious.
posted by Dizzy at 2:46 PM on March 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


You could put your salad in a pastry tube.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:00 PM on March 22, 2007


I don't know if you have access to this kind of machinery, but what's been done with peanut butter could be done with a peanut butter sandwich. You'd probably chip a tooth on it, though.
posted by breezeway at 3:18 PM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I eat my sandwiches like that too! I, however, let my hands do the work.
posted by crayolarabbit at 4:05 PM on March 22, 2007


If you ever visit Hoboken, NJ, stop by for a Bagel Smash.
posted by bink at 5:07 PM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have access to a 40Hp vacuum pump- I'll see if vacuum bagging does anything interesting to a pb&j and report back.
posted by wzcx at 6:53 PM on March 22, 2007


Made a cheese, sprout and mustard sandwich when I got home from work, and squished it by hand in your honor. Not bad at all.
posted by contraption at 7:01 PM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Forget rollers, they will just slide over your sandwich and the contents will suffer.

Vacuum bag is not a bad idea. A book or paper press should be available second hand if you look around. If you want to DIY, a couple of blocks of hardwood or boilerplate attached to a heavy duty bench vice should work wonders.

Or - compound the pressure! Vacuum seal your sandwich, then press the hell out of it. This should really help maintain the integrity of the sandwich, while flattening it to maximum effect. Keep in mind you can't compress liquids, so a sandwich with lots of tomato or thick meat won't compress all that well.

If you know someone with a machine shop, you could make an attachment for a vice. A block of steel with a hole in it, and a matching block to go into that hole. A plate at the back of the hole so you can push the food out. This mould press style thing will stop your food from getting wider as it gets flatter!

Queue Homer Simpson.

"I only eat food in bar form. When you concentrate food, you unleash its awesome power, I'm told. That's why I'm compressing 5 pounds of spaghetti into one handy mouth sized bar."

[He eats the bar and swallows. He then dials the phone.]

"Hospital, please."

posted by tomble at 10:02 PM on March 22, 2007


So many amazing answers have put me in my own little kind of heaven of ideas!

I like the idea of the sushi press, but I want something to apply mechanical force - I think the cheese press may be the winner ..its mate is surely Dizzy's drive-smoosh method (going to try that tonight!). One thought just occurred to me: combine the tortilla press and the car!

I don't need the compression to happen all in one shot. I usually fold the food in half and squish again and again (ever since I learned about the concept of folding steel when forging swords, I've thought of this as forging a sandwich!)

nanojath - you should have heard the gasp that escaped my lips when I clicked on the compressor link.

bink - Bagel Smash is in my future. A whole restaurant dedicated to squoosh? *moan*

phrontist - Plastic bag w/ one way valve: I've thought about getting Space Bags to do this. Over the years, I have become very good at closing a ziploc bag most of the way, sucking out as much air as I could and closing the bag with my teeth and lips.

I'm very happy to see that I'm not alone in this!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:04 AM on March 23, 2007


tomble - I must have missed that Simpsons episode! Homer went about it all wrong...joy pt.2 (post squish) comes in the nibbling!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:05 AM on March 23, 2007


Aw how come phrontist gets a shoutout when I suggested the same thing (with a link to buy one) ages ago! The vacuum bag will put lots more pressure on the sammy than any of the presses mentioned and it will do it all in one shot.

How did it turn out wzcx?
posted by zeoslap at 7:26 AM on March 23, 2007


Because life isn't fair, zeoslap.
posted by FlamingBore at 7:49 AM on March 23, 2007


Cat Pie Hurts: if you get that cheese press, try filling it with fresh popcorn. I wonder if you could turn it into a warm, dense, salty disc?
posted by contraption at 8:43 AM on March 23, 2007


waaaah ;-)
posted by zeoslap at 9:18 AM on March 23, 2007


zeoslap: life is now fair :) (I confused myself...favorited your comment, but forgot to best it)

contraption - I've done that using 2 cans, one a bit larger than the other. You basically get a popcorn rice cake!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:08 AM on March 23, 2007


Woo Hoo :)
posted by zeoslap at 11:23 AM on March 23, 2007


Popcorn kevorked with a Snickers bar--THAT would be heaven!
(Call it a "Black/Red{enbacher"}!)
Please send me two dozen by parcel post.
I got cash.
I'm jonesing.
Rush it, babe!
posted by Dizzy at 2:27 PM on March 23, 2007


Old-fashioned washing machine wringer?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:53 PM on March 23, 2007


You could also go with an IronRite, if you wanted to grill your sandwich as you flattened it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:55 PM on March 23, 2007


Check out this Martha Stewart recipe for a brick-pressed sandwich. I've made this a couple of times. Dense and tasty!
posted by bmarklein at 1:03 AM on April 6, 2007


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