6.2.08

THE GREAT BRITISH SANDWICH


Italy has paninis, France freshly filled baguettes, reports Gregg Wallace for BBC Good Food, bemoaning the state of 'Cold sandwiches' in Britain today...

...and what does Sweden have? DINNER. DINNER for LUNCH. It's fucked up.

Gregg Wallace, m8, you don't know you're BORN. I do understand that English people love to moan. It's one of the cute things about them (I'm not sure exactly why it's cute, it just... is. Fuck, you have no idea how much I miss moaning. I was wandering around my super-deluxe Swedish office today, taking a rest from writing some incredibly taxing blog posts, looking out at the sea, eating a free cream bun that work bought us because it's Semmeldag, thinking about how it was nearly time to pay my £200 monthly rent on my massive one-bedroom apartment that would take me 30 minutes to commute back to when the day was over, and all I could think of was 'God, I want someone to moan to SO MUCH.'

And there's no one. They take moaning really fucking seriously here. They furrow their brows and then advise you to speak to whoever it is that you're bitching about, try to sort things out. Like, no way dudes! That's not the way to do things. You just huddle in a corner, slag someone or something off for 10 minutes, then exit, feeling closely bonded to whoever you bitched to, and hugely empowered despite having done precisely fuck all to change the situation that was pissing you off. THAT's how we do things in fucking Britain thank you very much, so why can't they do that here?)

Anyway. Swedes may not know how to moan, but Gregg certainly does, for he is daring to slag off... SANDWICHES.

Oh, sure. Sandwiches. Boring old bread with some boring slimy stuff in the middle. Ooh, Mother's Pride, curling up at the corners. Ooh, British Rail sandwiches ha ha ha. Ooh, rubbish. SHUT THE FUCK UP. You think sandwiches suck? Imagine A WORLD WITHOUT SANDWICHES.

That world, ladies and gents, is Sweden. They have dinner for lunch. And then they have dinner for dinner. Somehow, miraculously, they all remain thin, fit, and healthy looking. I don't know how. I think it's because they like 'training' so much. There's a Stadium (sportswear store) on every single block. They all go 'train' together at lunchtimes, and play tennis and squash in the evenings for kicks. That definitely must have something to do with it. I've heard rumours that there's a correlation between physical activity and slenderness, though I'm loath to believe it myself.

Nonetheless. At 12.00 every day they go out to lunch and they pay approx 90SEK (about £8.00) for a massive lunchtime dinner. We're talking 'pitt y panna' (oily fried potato and ham) with beetroot and a fried egg. We're talking thick yellow pea soup (with oil pooling on the surface) and ham with pancakes on Thursdays. We're talking platefuls of wild mushroom ravioli in a creamy sauce. We're talking tagliatelle with chicken, and shrimps, and creme fraiche, and LOBSTER. For lunch. Every day.

And this is no leisurely, decadent kind of lunch - the kind of olde-skoole publishing or journalism lunch that would start at 1 and meander on towards 4pm, lubricated with red wine, port and a G&T. Nonono. This shit is rushed down at 12.00pm, and they're back at their desks by, hm, 12.43, smiling and thinking about the awesome 'training' they're going to do when they chip off at 5. THIS IS NOT NORMAL. THIS CANNOT BE HEALTHY (apart from the fact that, judging by the lardy English and the svelte Swedes, it blatantly is).

But, Swedes - No. THIS IS NORMAL:

Skip breakfast due to hangover and lateness (nobody here drinks, so nobody is ever hungover. And the transport system is perfect, so nobody is ever late)
Nip to Pret at 11am for breakfast sandwich of sausage, ketchup, bacon, salad - or to greasy spoon for FRIED EGG SANDWICH mmmmmm
Nearly vomit at lunchtime
Feel miraculous by 2pm due to combination of Coke, sandwich and Paramol (they don't do proper painkillers here btw... because that might be FUN. Swedes HATE fun.)
Nip out to Pret or Eat or deli for another sandwich
Finish work, go to pub. DO NOT 'TRAIN'. DO NOT EAT DINNER. GO STRAIGHT TO PUB.

Fucking hell I miss England.

I miss England. I miss sandwiches. I miss moaning. I miss hangovers. (I almost miss fat unattractive men, but not quite. And if I ever do I can always look at those pictures of YOUR DAD that he keeps sending me hahaha just kidding). The sandwich, you see, facilitates the British lifestyle of drunkenness, sobbing, and debauchery. You can't eat DINNER for LUNCH when you feel the way most British people do most of the time. Without this slender snackette (just thin enough to ease down the oesophageus without inciting gagging... just dry enough to soak up the remnants of last night's booze before it can reappear too hurriedly from either orifice) where would the British be? The sandwich is the very substance that makes Britain great. Without it we'd be... we'd be just like the Swedes. NORMAL. HAPPY. HEALTHY. AND INCREDIBLY, AMAZINGLY, ASTOUNDINGLY, COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY FUCKING SHIT-ASS YAWNY-YAWNO BORING.

And, believe me - you don't want that.

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