Book Review: 300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story . . . with Recipes

It seems that I missed the phenomena of a woman tasked with making 300 sandwiches for her then boyfriend – now husband – in order to get an engagement ring. When New York Post writer Stephanie Smith made a turkey and Swiss on white bread for her boyfriend, Eric (aka E), he took one bite and uttered the words “Honey, you are 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring. Stephanie took these words as a challenge and got to work creating 300 sandwiches to get her ring.

I’m one for a challenge, (hello, creating a sandwich a day for the ‘gram) but the task of creating the 300 sandwiches required in order for Stephanie to get engaged documented in her book “300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story . . . with Recipes” felt like some inside joke that the the reader (me) did not get and so I found myself reading the book like this:

via GIPHY

But since Stephanie and E (and their adorable kid “Q”) are happy, who cares what I think?

So the book is part memoir, part cookbook. The memoir part of the book is a quick and kind of bland read. I tore through the story rather quickly but it left me feeling unsatisfied. Before reading the book I did not know about her blog. The book seems to assume that the reader has followed Stephanie and E’s journey online so some of the narrative feels like only part of the story is told. But who cares? You’ll find yourself dedicating most of your time poring over the recipes and thinking, “She’s making a sandwich?!”

When I first started reading the book, I initially thought Stephanie was being dramatic about making a sandwich. It’s a sandwich! But as she went through this journey, she was gaining confidence in the kitchen and may stance softened. I think about *my* early days days in the kitchen, trying to juggle the balls in the air that is preparing a meal. When I think about a sandwich it’s two slices of bread with something slapped between it. When I am feeling fancy, I may add a piece of lettuce and cut the sandwich into triangles. Stephanie’s task of creating sandwiches was not a casual affair. She wasn’t just hitting up the deli counter at her local market for a pound of bologna, she was cooking; creating meals that happened to be between two pieces of bread. Stephanie took a simple thing, the sandwich, and created 300 different ways to make preparing them and eating them an event! Stephanie’s sandwich creations are quite fascinating and very creative. Instead of a simple breakfast sandwich she kicks it up a notch adding herbs and spice, ingredients that made me question what I was doing with the sandwiches in my life.

We tried Sandwich number 129, The tomato, mozzarella and scrambled egg.

It’s a simple sandwich, but the fresh veggies and herbs turn a quick breakfast sandwich into a filling meal.

I made this for breakfast and instead of a rushing through my morning routine, this breakfast sandwich was filling and satisfying. The heat from the muffin and egg caused the cheese to melt a bit, the basil adds a peppery touch and the tomato…so juicy and wonderful. The combination of flavors work beautifully!

One thing I would have liked for this book was a way to access the sandwiches easier. The recipes are not grouped together, not listed anywhere to be able to refer to them later and there is no appendix to easily find a particular sandwich. I peeked at her blog and samesies…the sandwiches (which ohmahgah look beautiful) have no rhyme or reason for how they are listed.

So, while a fun concept, the execution left me wishing for just a book of recipes.

Check out Stephanie’s blog, 300 sandwiches.
Get the book 300 Sandwiches: A Multilayered Love Story . . . with Recipes using my affiliate link from Amazon.

This post is part of Pinch Me, I’m Eating’s 2018 Novel Recipes series, a collaborative collection of posts from food bloggers highlighting recipes that are featured in fiction. Each post includes a book review and a recipe from the novel.

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