Sandwich Style
December 15, 2003 5:35 PM   Subscribe

When I eat a sandwich, I tend to grasp it with my fingers underneath and thumb on top, and then I flip it around and eat it with my thumbs on bottom, thus eating the upside down (or far side first). Am I the only person who does this?
posted by oissubke to Food & Drink (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
well, I use the boring "fingers-on-top, thumbs underneath" method.
but yours sounds fun, I'll try
posted by matteo at 5:39 PM on December 15, 2003

Um... what's the difference between grabbing it with your thumbs on the bottom, and grabbing it with your thumbs on top then flipping it over? Are you talking about sandwiches with 2 pieces of identical bread? Hamburger bun top and bottom? What? Why do I care?

[bashes head against wall]
posted by scarabic at 5:41 PM on December 15, 2003

I don't know why I do it that way. I only really noticed it just a moment ago, as I enjoyed a nice "cheeseburger pie on wheat" (don't ask) sandwich.
posted by oissubke at 5:42 PM on December 15, 2003

This rule applies to all standard sandwich-style breads. I don't think I do it with hamburger bun sandwiches, though I could be mistaken.
posted by oissubke at 5:42 PM on December 15, 2003

define "standard sandwich-style breads."

In particular, do you mean breads where the top and bottom piece are identical, as in sliced rye bread, or breads that have a designated top and bottom, like rolls? Otherwise, I don't understand your question.
posted by scarabic at 5:45 PM on December 15, 2003

I'm specifically referring to sandwiches with loaf-based breads, with identical (or nearly so) pieces of bread.

The bread isn't so much the issue. It's more the contents of the sandwich that become "upside down" during the process, and therefore altered from their intended order of delivery to the taste buds.
posted by oissubke at 5:48 PM on December 15, 2003

I don't know if I do it with sandwiches made with symetrical bread, but I know i've caught myself doing it with burgers on rolls, thought "wtf?" and turned it over.
posted by duckstab at 5:59 PM on December 15, 2003

oissubke, the trouble with your method, as I see it, is that your sandwiches all taste upside-down. All the flavors and textures that you've planned for the roof of your mouth are on your tongue, and vice-versa. Whether it's a hot wet sandwich or a cold dry one, you build it with eating in mind. It's best to eat it as you built it, even if this requires a bit of doing.

Take peanut butter and jelly. Everyone knows that peanut butter belongs on the tongue-side. Or one of my favorites from childhood, dry salami on sliced fresh sourdough with just a bit of yellow mustard. The mustard belongs at the top because it tastes best on the top of your mouth.

Alternatively, you could build the sandwich upside-down, lettuce-first, as they say. I recommend against this.
posted by squirrel at 6:02 PM on December 15, 2003

I've been known to use the flip, but only with something like a really juicy burger. It's purely a survival technique, designed to prevent the thin juice-saturated bun bottom from tearing apart halfway between the plate and my mouth.
posted by Galvatron at 6:05 PM on December 15, 2003

I do this too.

Although I often end up flipping it around so that when I set it down on the plate it ends up upside down.
posted by bshort at 6:53 PM on December 15, 2003

My wife used to go out with a guy that would be embarrassed to be around her. She ate her cheeseburgers "upside down."
posted by ajpresto at 7:11 PM on December 15, 2003

Oissubke, fear not, you are not alone. I also eat sandwiches using the flip method. I firmly and heartily deny that there is any such thing as building a sandwich based on roof of mouth vs. tongue side considerations.

Of course, I have congenitally defected thumbs, so I do things weirdly. That might be a factor.
posted by Dreama at 7:27 PM on December 15, 2003

I build them upside down expressly so that I can eat them rightside up after doing the "oissubke" movement.
posted by y6y6y6 at 7:39 PM on December 15, 2003

I have a few fairly crooked fingers, and short stubby thumbs -- but I still eat a sandwich right-side-up. I do tilt tacos while eating them, though.
posted by majick at 8:26 PM on December 15, 2003

I build my sandwiches completely symmetrically. Bread-lettuce-cheese-turkey-turkey-cheese-lettuce-bread.

(I'm kidding, of course.)

I do do what Galvatron does -- if the burger is juicy and/or messy, I flip it over so the much smaller bottom of the bun doesn't get mangled.
posted by Vidiot at 10:04 PM on December 15, 2003

I thought that flipping a sandwich over would increase the mesiness of the sandwich and give it a chance to fall out of the bread. If a sandwich is particularly messy or overstuffed, I tend to just tilt it from the wrapper instead of holding it up in the air. I'm not particuarly convinced that doing the flip really adds anything.
posted by gyc at 10:12 PM on December 15, 2003

I'm not convinced that it doesn't anything either. It's not something I do consciously or with any particular intent. It's just a movement that always seemed "normal" to me.

I build them upside down expressly so that I can eat them rightside up after doing the "oissubke" movement.

Of all the things that could have been christened "the oissubke movement," I guess it could be worse than a sandwich flip. :-)
posted by oissubke at 10:56 PM on December 15, 2003

I eat hamburgers upside-down. Always.

But no trickery with regular sandwiches.
posted by tingley at 11:42 PM on December 15, 2003

My husband does some incredibly weird thing where he puts both his arms into his coat sleeves with the coat in front and facing him, then sort of "flips" it and ends up with his coat on. (Actually reminds of the Chinese "folding shirt trick" video"). Anyway, I can see that this might avoid that awkward reaching-behind-for-the-second-sleeve stage of putting on one's coat, but I think he really just does it because it is more fun. And I think oissubke's sandwich flip is just more fun, too. Also, the fingers-down, thumbs-up position is much more comfortable and efficient for "scooping" something up, so there's the sandwich ergonomics factor to consider as well.
posted by taz at 12:42 AM on December 16, 2003

ha! No you're not the only one. I've been eating hamburgers like that for years (sesame seed side on the bottom). I grab the burger exactly how you describe.
posted by dabitch at 3:52 AM on December 16, 2003

Anybody with me on this one: don't put the ketchup ON the hamburger. Instead, dip the hamburger in a little pile of ketchup before each bite. No drippies, no dry spots. Every bite has the perfect amount of ketchup.

Also, while I'm mentally out to lunch, so to speak, here's a special treat next time you find yourself in a diner with steak fries and those red plastic ketchup dispensers with the pointy tip:

Insert a straw into the french fry about 7/8ths of its length. Extract it. It will have removed the "core" of the fry, leaving the fry essentially hollow (the crispy outside is all you want, anyway). Then insert the tip of the ketchup bottle into the fry, and fill it up with ketchup.

Result: the perfect balance of french fry and ketchup, in one neat, self-contained package.

posted by luser at 5:29 AM on December 16, 2003

taz: The "coat flip" is how they are teaching preschoolers to put coats on these days. It's not too unusual if you think of the coat as a shirt with an open front.

I knew about it when I was little, but I've always been happy enough with the conventional method. I taught it to my daughter, but she also seems to prefer the standard approach.

As for food rituals, I think the only one I'm particularly fussy about is the application of butter and salt to my Wheatena [good grief, that's way down on page 4 of Google's results!]. I take a pat of butter, insert it sideways (as though inserting a coin) into the cereal, get down real close and shake some salt on the melting pat of butter. Once everything is melted I stir it all up. I can, however, fully justify this peculiar procedure: inserting the butter pat exposes the maximum surface area of butter to direct contact with the hot cereal, speeding melting time. Adding the salt directly on the butter gives the salt a medium for dissolution, so that when mixed in there are no loose grains and a much more even flavor.
posted by majick at 6:08 AM on December 16, 2003

The coat flip: Isn't that how Jed Bartlett puts on his suit coats? (West Wing)
posted by luser at 6:27 AM on December 16, 2003

Anybody with me on this one: don't put the ketchup ON the hamburger. Instead, dip the hamburger in a little pile of ketchup before each bite. No drippies, no dry spots. Every bite has the perfect amount of ketchup.

Well, that would be a good technique to mask the taste of the hamburger itself, good, say, if you were eating a McDonald's burger (and I use that technique all the time when eating crappy fast food burgers) but otherwise I find that the flavor of ketchup really predominates.
posted by gyc at 9:47 AM on December 16, 2003

oissubke: that's exactly how I eat sandwiches. Mind you, that's only if the top and bottom pieces of bread are identical (so it rules out proper burgers and submarines). I'll also usually abandon it if the sandwich contains any particularly bottom-heavy items that I wouldn't want sitting on top after the flip, especially with slippery condiments below. But it's a lot easier than trying to pick up a sandwich with only two thumbs.

And taz, that particular maneuvre was taught to me in nursery school as "flip, flop, and over the top", which, when said for the first time in twenty years, sounds like a style of political strategy.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:46 PM on December 16, 2003

I tried the coat flip just now (or what I imagine it to be) and whacked myself in the glasses with the zipper of my coat. Coordinated am I.

I'm aware of at least two options for putting on pullover sweaters, too. Jam your head through the hole first, settle the thing down around your shoulders, and then snake your arms up and into the sleeves, versus fitting your arms into the sleeves first, then sticking your head through the hole and pulling the body on. The second is how I learned and seems to have the drawback of the arms being twisted somewhat, requiring some tugging to set right. The first method actually seems to get a sweater on right first time, but feels really odd. Is that a male/female thing like zippers and buttons being on one side versus the other? Also, why the difference with buttons, etc.? I've never understood that. To re-rail, I've never eaten a hamburger upside down but I plan to give it a whirl. Don't try and stop me.
posted by cairnish at 1:43 PM on December 16, 2003

If the pieces of bread are identical, I still don't get what defines the "top" and "bottom" of a sandwich. I put both pieces of bread out, spread stuff on both, pile stuff onto one, and then flip the other piece of bread onto the pile. Is my sandwich now "right side up?" I don't see what partiuclarly changes if I pick it up and turn it over.

This has got to be one of the weirdest conversations ever.
posted by scarabic at 2:17 PM on December 16, 2003

carnish, I'm with you on the sweater maneuver, and I'm equally dumbfounded by the gender difference in buttons. That sounds like an Ask MeFi FPP. Stat.

scarabic, I would say that the side you pile the protein on is the bottom.

The notion of eating a hamburger upside-down bugs me more than it should, but the fact that eating a submarine on a hard roll upside-down is indisputable.

*Puts foot down*
posted by squirrel at 5:46 PM on December 16, 2003

I'm equally dumbfounded by the gender difference in buttons. That sounds like an Ask MeFi FPP.

I was about to comply until...

I'm still a little breathless because I found (and bought) a nice warm MEN'S lined corduroy overshirt that zips on the wrong side. I checked out every color and every rack in the MEN'S department and they all zipped on the "wrong" side. If called on it I 'm going to claim... well, I don't know exactly. Who cares, it's a comfy shirt. pH34r me.
posted by cairnish at 8:24 PM on December 16, 2003

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