Sandwich Science: Secrets Unveiled

PHOTO COURTESY Mellisa Bube FLICKR.COM | The science of the sandwich has pondered scientist for millennia.
The science of the sandwich has pondered scientist for millennia.

From gravitational waves to the EM drive, I love staying on top of science. An innate passion for explaining the unexplained has driven man to the moon and back. Today, science tackles the eighth wonder of the world: Why are sandwiches so much better cut when cut diagonal versus vertically (aka triangles versus rectangles)?

I’m sure you’ve experienced it at some point, be it with grilled cheese or egg salad, the effect is universal.

Some of you may believe that it tastes exactly the same, regardless of slicing style. Well, you are in denial and I will kindly ask you to not drag the rest of us down as well. Some believe that triangle sandwiches are merely in the realm of fables, faith and future — beyond the understanding of man.

A constant of the universe that just is, without any real explanation. Well you may be able to happily toss them in a toaster oven and leave it at that, but this is a kitchen of science.

What if I were to tell you there was a quantifiable reason for the difference in taste?

“What could it possibly be?” You must be asking. “I must know! My life will not be complete until I do!” You implore.

Well I was getting to that, jeez. Through the power of the omniscient internet (thanks Reddit) there is such an answer. The problem is that people spend too much time trying to evaluate the components of the sandwich, rather than what’s actually changing: the structure.

Yes, the ingredients of the sandwich are exactly the same before and after the cut, but it now has a different orientation. The key, dear scholars, is in the crust. When you cut diagonally, there is a higher amount of crust-free surface area along the partition than when it is cut vertically. Science has recognized while crust is not necessarily bad, it is significantly worse than the rest of the bread.

Friends I think we have all learned something today. For you, it was the secret of the sandwich that has ever evaded man’s grasp. For me, it was that you can really pull a 400-word article out of just about anything. Whatever the lesson, we, as people, are better than we once were. Even if it’s only slightly, our view on the world is changed. At the end of the day, as long as we have science and the will to learn, it is as if we ourselves are the ones being cut diagonally.

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