Half a Sandwich

Where’s my other half?

Over the weekend, we went for a coffee at Vlaamsch Broodhuys, a chain café with a few locations throughout Holland. It was lunchtime and people were ordering sandwiches, but these weren’t your ordinary American or British sandwiches.

Instead of having two slices of bread, these “open-faced” sandwiches had only one slice of bread, artfully garnished with cheese, meat, gherkins, vegetables, etc. and laid out on a flat plate which was almost like a cutting board. I always thought of open sandwiches as a typically Scandinavian thing, but apparently the Dutch like them, too.


About Home Strange Home

I first left the US in 1999, when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve spent 13 years living abroad - 3 in Canada, 7 in Europe, and 3 in Africa. Now I've finally returned to the US on a one-way plane ticket. I arrived home in late January 2014 and set foot in the US for the first time in nearly 2.5 years. In Home Strange Home, I blog about the ups and downs of my re-acculturation experience.
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4 Responses to Half a Sandwich

  1. Tibo says:

    You also usually get this kind of thing when you ask a “tartine” in a restaurant in Belgium (or in Northern France, if you get the chance to eat in an “estaminet”).

    And suprisingly (or not) enough, there is a Wikipedia page about the “Open sandwich” variations between countries ! :

  2. also popular in Germany.. A closed sandwich is a waste of bread if you ask me. You could have something totally different on that second slice. When my mom would ask what I want for dinner, “bread with stuff on it” would be my most likely reply (stuff being awesome cheese and sausage)… and now I have cravings. Great! 🙂

    • afterthought: you only get closed when you order a bread roll, because it has a bottom and a top. If it’s slices of bread it’s open, which I think works much better for the bread-to-stuff-on-it balance…

    • africagrows says:

      That is a really good point. I noticed that when we have our “team sandwich lunch” at work, while I’m busy building an American-style multi-layered double-breaded sandwich, most of my Dutch colleagues are putting various toppings on single slices of bread (e.g. one slice with egg salad, another slice with cheese, another slice with meat, and yet another slice with Nutella or peanut butter for dessert). It’s all about perfecting the bread-to-stuff balance, as you say. The American way of dealing with that is to sujff the sandwich two inches high with filling and secure it with a toothpick; evidently the European way is to have single-slice, open-faced sandwiches. (And the British way is just to put a thin layer of tuna and sweetcorn on bread and pack it in a triangular box.)

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