February 23, 2018 1:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm reading a letter from Berlin 1932 to America in which the writer refers to a post rehearsal meal: "Strenuous music, then conversation with two-thirds-sandwiches and beer". Two-thirds-sandwiches? The letter is in English, the author American, the phrase so off kilter that I have to wonder if it was a thing either in Germany or America in 1932.
posted by BWA to Food & Drink (10 answers total)
Possibly two sandwiches shared between three people (or four sandwiches for six, etc.)
posted by exogenous at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Or maybe 1/3 of the time was conversation, while 2/3 of the time was spent on the important business of sandwiches and beer, because they were tired out after all that strenuous music and didn’t want to talk much.
(This interpretation may be technically inconsistent with the hyphenation you give, but most people don’t use them that precisely anyway)
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:55 PM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Is it spelled out like you put it, or written in digits? I could see how eating "2/3 sandwiches" could indicate statistical variation from one rehearsal to the next, in whether he decided to consume 2 or 3 of them.
posted by aimedwander at 1:59 PM on February 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe open faced sandwiches? So it's like 2/3 of a full sandwich (1 piece of bread and then the fillings, missing the top piece of bread).
posted by paisley sheep at 2:27 PM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

It could be "Obatzda," but I don't actually know if it would ever be called that.
posted by Occula at 2:31 PM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Maybe it's like a club sandwich, with a slice of bread in the middle?
posted by pazazygeek at 2:46 PM on February 23, 2018

Spelled out, just as quoted, with hyphens. Weird, right? I'm liking the suggestions though. I'm thinking open faced is probably right. The author had excellent German, I'm wondering if this might be some regional variant on belegte Brote.
posted by BWA at 4:12 PM on February 23, 2018

My first association (having grown up in Germany, although in the south) would have been that it‘s sandwiches made from a bread that‘s 2/3 rye, 1/3 wheat. I can find a few references to ‚Drittelbrot‘, none to ‚Zweidrittelbrot‘, though, so that might not be it.

Typically, German sandwiches (belegte Brote, Stullen, Schnitten in regional dialect) would be open-faced, as described above, so it might indeed be a reference to that custom.

Definitely no connection to Obatzda (which is not a thing in Berlin).
posted by The Toad at 6:05 PM on February 23, 2018

We'll go with open faced then, and many thanks to all. (Never heard of Drittelbrot, so something else learned, for which also thanks.)
posted by BWA at 7:35 AM on February 24, 2018

with a slice of bread in the middle?

Close, that's a three-halves sandwich ;-)
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:49 AM on February 24, 2018 [2 favorites]

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