A sandwich test: does bread make a difference?


So the other day I found these “Thin Buns” in the cabinet. I had no idea where they came from, or what they were doing there, but I decided to do a test. I decided to use the layers and the inside ingredients as a control and use both a traditional bread and these interesting “thin buns” that made me question how much of a difference the bread makes when everything else is the same.

Well, what I did was measure out the ingredients and make two sandwiches. It went like this….

bread (untoasted, which is odd for me, but I didn’t want to burn a thin bun). 4 slices of thinly sliced deli turkey, about 15 baby spinach leaves, 2 crushed basil leaves, and 2 table spoons of raspberry preserves spread thinly on the top of the sandwich. A pretty basic sandwich, not too complex, but still enough flavors for the sandwich to be interesting.

The bread was the only difference in these sandwiches… and they were both whole wheat breads at that, so really it came down to size and density of the bread. I am somewhat biased towards full sized sandwiches, so in order to make sure that this test was a fair comparison, I needed someone else to give me a subjective response to which sandwich was better, but someone who would also be able to explain a little bit about why they liked said sandwich better.


The answer came on an airplane. I wrapped up both of the sandwiches in tin foil, and put them in the fridge for the time being. About 2 hours later, my wonderful mother showed up at my house, right off of an airplane, and complete with an appetite. I decided that she was the perfect candidate for the sandwich taste test.

I took out the sandwiches, cut them in half at a diagonal (well the thin bun was in half, but that is because it was a circle) and placed them in the oven for about 2 minutes to get them back up to room temperature and maybe a tad warmer. Then, I placed the sandwich on a plate. one half with the thin bun, one with the regular bread.

“what is this?” my mom says.
“it is a sandwich” i say.
“why are there 2 sandwiches?”
“because this is a test. The rule is, you have to tell me which sandwich is better, and why…”
My mom shakes her head and chuckles… “OK, yes dear….” and then she took a bite of each sandwich.

“which one do you like better mom?”
“they are both good sandwiches. I don’t think one is better than the other” she says very diplomatically, as if she didn’t want to hurt they other one’s feelings. “They are both good.”
“You didn’t answer the question. this is a test. Which one do YOU like better, and why?”

She looks at me with that look that only mothers can have. The one that shows you that she loves you, but she also still questions how you turned out to be like you did? That look that says… you were always a strange kid, but really? This might win it for you….
“I like this one…” she said, as she takes another bite out of the “Thin Bun” Sandwich.

Suprised, I ask “Really?”
“yeah. I mean, they are both good, but this one is better to me.”
“why?” I ask like an inquisitive 4 year old… “Why is it better?”

She takes another bite of the thin bun, and then she pauses. Then as any true subjective tester would do, she takes another bite of the regular bread and pauses again. “You can taste the jelly more in this one…. you really notice it more with the thinner bread. The jelly flavor is just not the same in the one with regular bread.”

My mom liked the Thin Buns

If it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be here eating sandwiches, but what is really great about her is that she not only humors me, but she actually seems to enjoy getting into these conversations about crazy things like this with me. For a brief moment, she stopped thinking about the sandwich test as a crazy idea, and she was ready to talk more about the sandwich theory with me. She could give me cognitive thoughts to back up her opinion, and had no problem actually telling me why she liked the thin buns… it did bring up some other questions, like what would have happened if the breads were toasted, so the jelly didn’t soak in, or if the sandwiches had been freshly made and not an hour old or so?

I was fully expecting her to go for the regular bread sandwich, but i was wrong. I tried the two sandwiches (just a bite of each) and I also liked the thin bun sandwich better, but I think it was because the jelly had soaked in too much on the more porous bread. If it had been toasted, I would have probably not gone with the thin bun, but at the time, the “Thin Bun” came up the winner. I don’t know where they came from, and I don’t know what they were doing in the cabinet… nor do I know why someone would want to market a flattened bun for sandwiches, but to each their own.

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