This month, How to Eat is munching on a complex dish rarely discussed in polite society. Do you use butter or mayo? Is white bread essential? Do Wotsits work?
The crisp sandwich is food’s equivalent of picking your nose. We all do it. Yes, even you. And, particularly in private, it can be a source of profound pleasure. But only rarely do you find a few brave souls – chapeau!, Jack Monroe, Nadiya Hussain and Emma Freud – willing to talk about it in public.
This is a processed-food item so persuasive that even a chef as organically handcrafted as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cannot resist it (“It’s very hard to beat a good crisp sandwich.”), yet – bar that curious outbreak of crisp butty cafes in 2015 – we collectively neglect serious analysis of what makes it such a comfort-food classic. We are ashamed. Inhibited by snobbery. Waiting for a Spanish chef to deconstruct it or a hip Williamsburg diner to reassure us it is cool.