We Spoke to the Guy Who Spent Six Months and $1500 Making a Sandwich
Video blogger Andy George recently documented his attempts to make a sandwich entirely from scratch; killing a chicken, making salt, and even growing his own wheat.
Andy George's YouTube show How to Make Everything challenges how we take everyday things for granted by creating them from nothing. His most recent experiment was to make a sandwich entirely from scratch. And when we say "from scratch," we don't mean he went to Sainsbury's and bought ingredients instead of a Meal Deal. We mean he milked a cow to make his own cheese, killed a chicken to get meat, pickled his own homegrown vegetables using salt he'd made himself, and grew wheat for flour which he then turned into bread (relatively speaking, this was probably the easy part.) He even infiltrated a bee hive to get his own honey.
Despite the whole process taking six months and costing George $1500, the end result was slightly underwhelming. Apparently his chicken and cheese creation didn't taste as good as a store-bought sandwich.
MUNCHIES got in touch with George to find out what kind of person puts this much effort into a sandwich and what we can learn from his cheese-making, salt-harvesting, bread-baking experiment. MUNCHIES: Hi Andy. So what made you want to spend six months making a sandwich? Andy George: It started off as kind of a thought experiment. I'd really got into cooking at the time and was making more and more stuff from scratch. And I thought 'What if I take this all the way to scratch?' What if I make my own flour? Do every step. And the more I thought about it the more fascinated I got, because this is all the stuff we don't even think about that we use every day. Why six months? Was that a deadline you deadline you set yourself? Basically the time was dictated by the wheat. I had to grow that to make the flour and that's just how long it takes. How did you decide what kind of sandwich to make? Did you just pick your favourite kind? My first thought was actually to do a meal. Something easy, like meat and potatoes. Then I thought, why not do a sandwich, because it seems so simple. But really there's so much stuff you can put on it. So I thought about it and compiled a list of ingredients that'd be interesting, but at the same time feasible. What was the most difficult part to make? I think the salt was most difficult. There were unexpected challenges with that. I live in Minnesota, there's like nowhere to get salt naturally. There's some salt mines a little way away. Then there's the ocean, so I ended up having to travel.
How did airport security react when they found all your homemade salt? I mean, they were pretty professional about it. I just walked through, I didn't think it'd be an issue, but when I went through the scanner they stopped me. They opened up my bag and started pulling things out, then they took out the salt, my first thought was, OK I'm going to jail now. Were there any parts of the sandwich that you'd carry on making from scratch regularly? I really enjoyed the garden and growing my own vegetables. I would have liked to keep doing that but I don't really have any outdoor space. I had to use community gardens and commute there every day, it was a huge hassle. Hopefully I'll have some land some day. So you killed a chicken. Did anyone on the internet get pissed off with you about that? Yeah, a few people. There have been some people in the comments getting pretty upset about it. Some people suggesting I should have my head ripped off, that kind of thing. So how did the sandwich taste? It was OK. Just OK? It wasn't a bad sandwich. But I actually made one with store bought ingredients to compare it to. That's probably what made it seem worse. What would have made it better? The chicken and the bread I maybe could have prepared better. Mainly it was the cheese, which was kind of off what I wanted. It was mozzarella but it was more like rubber. If I had more time, I'd have tried to make an aged cheese.
We could be waiting a long time for your next sandwich, then. Thanks for talking with us, Andy!
- food production
- Andy George
- How to Make Everything