Why do deli sandwiches taste better when they’re from the deli vs when you make them at home? It shouldn’t be that hard, right? Bread, mayo, olive oil, meats, cheese, whatever you want, and then you slap it together. Wrong!
Whether it's a Cuban, an Italian Hero, or a BEC, it always tastes better when it’s made for you by a place that specializes in making sandwiches. For example, Big Mike’s Little Red Store in New Jersey, THAT is where you go for the infamous BEC – or any sandwich. Unless you’re Chef Mike himself, there is no way that can be recreated at home.
Unfortunately, we live in a time when ordering out is becoming more expensive, and eating at home is the more cost-effective option – yet it still doesn’t stack up to having it made for you by the pros. In all fairness, maybe you’re an extraordinary chef, and you crush it with every meal you prepare.
Regardless, there are a few undeniable reasons why deli sandwiches taste better when you don’t make them yourself.
How it’s sliced - How a sandwich is sliced and presented makes a sandwich more appealing and appetizing. If a sandwich is poorly sliced, it’s falling apart and it’s likely to look less like something you’d want to eat. When sliced properly, not only does the sandwich look more appetizing, but it allows the layers of the sandwich to stay in place so the flavors can meld together.
How it’s constructed - Presentation is key, yes, but the layering of a sandwich is equally as important – in terms of flavor.
The freshness of meat used - Cold cuts go bad. Delis and restaurants are given priority when buying sandwich meats, so a sandwich prepared for you is almost guaranteed to be fresher than one you’d make yourself with the cold cuts sitting in your refrigerator.
Quality of bread used - This is almost non-negotiable. The quality of bread makes or breaks a sandwich. Certain types of bread are perfect for certain sandwiches. For example, wraps require very thin bread, and a Reuben requires rye bread. Furthermore, when and where the bread is made will also set prepared sandwiches above the sandwiches you prepare yourself – fresh is best!
Condiments and add-ons - Depending on what’s on the sandwich, it makes all the difference. That can even be influenced by your mood or a specific craving when you’re hungry. What tastes yummy to you on one day may not float your boat another day.
Who makes it - Scientifically, a sandwich made by someone else tastes better. “When you make your own sandwich, you anticipate its taste as you’re working on it. And when you think of a particular food for a while, you become less hungry for it later. It’s a kind of specific satiation, just as most people find room for dessert when they couldn’t have another bite of their steak. The sandwich that another person prepares is not 'preconsumed' in the same way.” – Daniel Kahneman, Psychologist with NY Times 'Food and Drink,' & Researcher with Carnegie Mellon University
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