The Sandwich Factory: A Gastrocultural Podcast – Episode 02 – Pinkies Out – Food and Social Status

Paul Green March 23, 2021


A weekly podcast centered around food and culture in America. The host prepares and serves a different sandwich for every episode, and the conversation with guests begins with a discussion of food before moving on to its impacts on cultural identity, social stability, and culinary diversity in the USA. 


Paul Green | KWU Student Media


In this episode our intrepid gastrocultural explorers ask the question “What does food have to do with social status?” 

What is the relationship between class and the food you eat? Historically, sandwiches themselves were considered food for the “upper crust”, the nobility and landed gentry. In addition to the societal definitions that helped shape social status, the gender-specific roles which were deemed as “acceptable” in antiquity through the renaissance and later bear some examination. Why is it that cooking was considered the providence of women in the household, but out in “the world” the titles of “chef” and the idea of a “professional cook” all centered around men? How did the idea of “proper” table manners come into being, and why are there so many differences between them as we move around the world?

The transformation of the sandwich from being the food of the wealthy elite into the realm of the working class didn’t “just happen”. What kind of processes were involved, and what has been the historical impact once the dainty “tea sandwich” transformed itself to the balogna on bread lunchbox staple?


Click below to listen!


This Episode’s Fare

The Low Tea! A smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich on crustless white bread, served with traditional tea biscuits (cookies), a variety of finger cakes, and piping hot Earl Grey tea. 


KWU Student MediaPaul Green | KWU Student Media

Crustless smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches on English Toasting Bread. Denser and less sweet than American style white bread, this was the main filling component of this particularly high-culture lunch. The flavor of the salmon was highlighted by the relative neutral tones of both the bread and cheese. It sets the stage for the real stars of the show…the cakes, tarts and other heavily-sweetened fare.


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Lemon bars along the outside, surround lemon tea cake and pecan tarts. This display of sugar-rich food was a rather plain-spoken illustration that whomever was serving possessed the status and wealth to afford an expensive luxury item such as sugar. A definite announcement to the guest that you were enjoying an afternoon’s repast with a person of substance.


KWU Student MediaPaul Green | KWU Student Media

Decadent cheesecake bites with a Graham cracker crust. Inspired by the teetotaling message of Presbyterian temperance-movement minister Sylvester Graham, the style of rough cut grains later became the base of the crackers that bear his name. He neither invented, nor did he profit off of them.


Our guests for this episode:

Dr. Anita Specht

Professor of History, Kansas Wesleyan University

Amber Benning

KWU Alumna, B.A., M.B.A., Creative Director, Fili Creative 


The Low Tea


Paul Green | KWU Student Media

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