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‘Wich Plot: Conquer the world with delicious sandwiches

Analysis is love. I love sandwiches. Ergo, I analyze Sandwiches.

This is the first version of an attempt to better understand sandwiches. All good analysis is easily summarized into a 2×2 plot that somehow includes everything. For sandwiches this manifests as the “‘Wich PlotĀ©” and shows all sandwiches in the context of “Strategy” and “Execution”.

The plot:
Blank Wich Map
Execution is a scale of how well the sandwich is made, in reality. This is the simpler axis as it’s directly observable by eating the sandwich! Some factors that influence the execution axis:

  • How well is the sandwich made? Does it fall apart when you eat it?
  • What is the quality of the ingredients? (Is the bread hard and nasty? Are the meats unnatural square shapes?)
  • How appetizing does the sandwich look?
  • How much love went into building the sandwich?

Strategy is a rating of the sandwich recipe complexity. It’s the rating of the sandwich in theory. Kind of like how each performance in the Olympics gets a difficulty rating. Some factors that influence sandwich strategy ranking include:

  • Are there lots of ingredients?
  • Does each ingredient require special preparation (roasting, skinning, cooking, etc.)?
  • Does the sandwich require a very delicate or specific construction process to be properly made (like a croque monsieur)?

Here’s some samples of how common sandwiches fall on the strategy axis:
wich complexity

By combining the two axis we can start to get a feel for what it means when a sandwich falls in each of the four quadrants. In counter-clockwise from the bottom left:

  • Poor execution of low strategy sandwiches: You must be hungry; you are making the simplest of sandwiches without regard to quality or love for sandwiches. Skip these sandwiches, and go have some pasta. Seriously, don’t bother.
  • Good execution of low strategy sandwiches: Now we’re talking! You’re practicing the basic sandwiches because you love them. The sandwiches are simple, but delicious and don’t deserve any harassment for their imbalance.
  • Good execution of high strategy sandwiches: Now we’re REALLY talking! These are the special sandwiches that allow the whole category to rival the rest of the food world. In extremes, these are the tiny open faced sandwiches that you can find at some of the best restaurants in the world.
  • Poor execution of high strategy sandwiches: This is just silly. Why bother making a complicated sandwich if you aren’t going to put any love into it? Some kind of a sick ingredient fetish? More processed meats and cheeses do not a better sandwich make!

Recap:
Wich Map With Labels

Let’s plot some sandwiches! I put 5 on the chart, though you can ask yourself “Where would the last sandwich I had fall?” The actual plotting is rather fuzzy since this is not math and there are no numbers.

Wich map with samples

To really get value out of this analysis, we have to draw some conclusions about certain groups of sandwiches and get some information that might help us in reality. I tried to aggregate some common groups of sandwiches and highlighted them on the chart below with colored circles. You can see that the chain sandwich shops generally, use poor quality ingredients (I hate that shredded lettuce!) and that if you have a few fancy ingredients leftover from dinner, you can whip up a tasty sandwich (though they are usually fairly simple). Specialty sandwich shops are where the love is: decent construction with decent strategy! Now when someone asks why you don’t like Subway or Quizno’s you can say “Oh, yuck, you eat low execution sandwiches?” That is love.

Wich map with circles

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10 Comments

  1. Courtney wrote:

    This is wonderful! I am an avid sandwich lover and think this is something I’m going to have to start thinking about when I construct, order, and eat sandwiches. I love the relativity of it all, too – for instance, my personal favorite grilled cheese goes waaaay over on the high end of execution and farther up on the strategy (fresh harvati, fontina, and mozarella cheeses, grilled open face, adding honey and balsamic glaze and finishing with fresh home-grown tomatos and basil)! Anyway, thanks for doing this and sharing – I’m sending to all my fellow sammy lovers now.

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 1:28 pm | Permalink
  2. Jeff wrote:

    Hi Sandwich man! this is just the kind of analysis I need to visually categorize my eating habits.
    Although it would be fantastic if a third axis showing price could be attached to show value. A delicious reuben for $5 is worth much more than a equally delicious reuben for $15. What do you think? Maybe it could be factored into the execution axis?

    Friday, September 5, 2008 at 9:17 am | Permalink
  3. Wich wrote:

    Hi Jeff! Thanks for the feedback.

    Price is a great addition, but tough to place since everything is qualitative and price is quantitative. The third axis is a good idea, but 3d objects are tough to visualize. I think it makes a lot of sense to qualify any discussion of a plot with the associated price. For example, Courtney’s high strategy, high execution grilled cheese may cost $17 and can be compared with a $23 high strategy, high execution open-faced pate on bruschetta from an expensive restaurant (that is [HS, HE, 17] is better than [HS, HE, 23], but now it looks like math and seems less tasty!)

    Friday, September 5, 2008 at 10:05 am | Permalink
  4. Jeff wrote:

    I’m searching for the [HS, HE, 5]. Does it even exist? I guess you can’t compare a HS grill cheese with a HS kobe burger

    Friday, September 5, 2008 at 11:06 am | Permalink
  5. Greg wrote:

    I believe that the croque monsieur is actually easier to construct than the croque madame. As the madame is an egg [extra] on top of the monsieur.

    Noted this was just an example you provided in your scale, however I think correcting it would provide avid sandwich fans who really do focus exclusively on french sandwich construction to connect better with your blog.

    Thanks!

    Tuesday, September 9, 2008 at 1:44 pm | Permalink
  6. Sean wrote:

    great site and brilliant idea to bring the sandwich to 4 quadrants. if ever in seattle, there is a [HS, HE, $7] at a little place called paseo.

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 1:39 am | Permalink
  7. Danny wrote:

    Amazing website for sandwich lovers! I am setting up an Asian inspired sandwich shop and came across your website on my research.

    Technical, well executed, and simply delicious blog : ).

    Friday, July 13, 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  8. May be this may stand you being an authority yet others will refer to you
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    Friday, August 22, 2014 at 11:10 am | Permalink
  9. First of all I want to say wonderful blog! I haad a quick question in which I’d like to askk if you don’t mind.

    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I’ve haad a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my
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    Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 4:30 am | Permalink
  10. Latesha wrote:

    There is definately a lott to learn about this issue. I like all the points you have made.

    Sunday, January 18, 2015 at 5:56 am | Permalink

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Helloo Roasted Pork-o-Vision | Simply Sandwiches on Friday, December 12, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    [...] this review, all sandwich reviews will be plotted on the ‘wich plot (for background see the ‘wich plot primer). It should be no surprise that this one falls under very high execution (amazing pork and decent [...]

  2. ecoloblue molecule on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    ecoloblue molecule…

    ‘Wich Plot: Conquer the world with delicious sandwiches | Simply Sandwiches…

  3. Shiv Nair on Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 10:12 am

    Shiv Nair…

    ‘Wich Plot: Conquer the world with delicious sandwiches | Simply Sandwiches…