Sandwiches are a ubiquitous snack enjoyed by cultures across the globe, and for that reason it’s important to find out which sandwich is best. The internet is riddled with lists and rankings of sandwiches, however none take a rigorous scientific approach as the A.S.S. system does.
Many trace the modern idea of a sandwich (meat/toppings between sliced bread) back to 18th century Europe, where according to legend the Lord of Sandwich ordered his servants to serve sliced meat between bread. However the idea of using bread as functional and also delicious eating utensil predates this by hundreds of years. In the Middle Ages stale slabs of bread called ‘trenchers’ were often used as a plate, resembling a rudimentary open-faced sandwich. The ancient Jewish sage Hillel the Elder is said to have wrapped lamb and herbs between matzah, creating the first gyro. Flat breads have been used to scoop or wrap small amounts of food in cultures across Western Asia, India, and Africa for generations, evident in the flat, round shape of their bread (compared to the loaf traditionally baked in Europe).
Sandwich politics is a controversial issue and for the sake of this power rank, it’s important to definite what exactly a sandwich is. In 2006, a Boston court ruled that a sandwich included at least two slices of bread (the case was related to a non-compete clause dispute at the White City Shopping Center between Panera Bread and Qdoba). In any case, this is the only legal definition of a sandwich in existence. So stemming from this legal definition, for the purposes of this power ranking a sandwich can be defined as:
Two or more separate slices of bread surrounding some combination of meat, cheese, vegetable, or equivalent.
This definition is also designed to exclude subs, hoagies, gyros, burritos, and hot dogs. Although delicious, these handheld bread based treats are too subject to variation in toppings to be considered a traditional sandwich. Additionally, there is still much controversy surrounding the classification of many of these foods, specifically hot dogs and burritos, and for the purposes of this power ranking they will be excluded.
Schematically, this is how a traditional sandwich might be laid out:
As you can see in the diagram above, sandwich has four main parts:
Bread – the bread must sliced into two or more separate pieces. A hamburger bun or bulkie roll falls into the definition of bread. However a sub roll, pita, or tortilla does not.
Toppings – toppins is a catch-all term for anything on a sandwich that doesn’t fall into the bread, meat, or condiments category such as vegetables or cheese.
Meat – although not mandatory for a sandwich, most sandwiches utilize a specific type of meat.
Condiments – condiments will be included as a distinct topping. The identity of many sandwiches, such as the Reuben, are reliant on a specific combination of condiments. However for many sandwiches, the use of condiments is simply a matter of personal preference.
Sandwiches were ranked using a proprietary holistic rating system, called the A.S.S (aggregated sandwich score). The A.S.S. rates sandwiches across 3 different categories on a 1 to 10 scale in .5 unit increments. The scores are then added together to create the A.S.S. score.
Taste – How good is it? Unique flavors?
Versatility – Can you eat it all the time? Can you tweak it without compromising the integrity of the sandwich? How easy is it to customize?
Ingredients – Can you make it easily at home? Does it contains novel ingredients?
The list of sandwiches was adapted from wikipedias List of American Sandwiches, removing any that did not fit our previously defined definition of a sandwich. Additionally, duplicates were or slight variations were condensed into a more all-encompassing interpretation. For example, the PB&J and Fluffernutter were condensed into the wide-ranging ‘Peanut Butter Sandwich’.