HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What have you made lately?

Cutting Sandwiches

uwsister Apr 21, 2011 10:12 AM

I think a sandwich tastes better if it's cut in half. Especially when it's done diagonally. Whether it be PB&J, grilled cheese, you name it.

Obviously it's irrational and my husband does not understand AT ALL (he's a total logic person) - but does anybody else feel this way? Surely I can't be the only one?

  1. m
    MonMauler Apr 21, 2011 10:19 AM

    It is irrational. And I totally agree.

    I prefer my sandwiches to be cut, as well, and the fact that the sandwich is cut does increase my enjoyment of it. I think I derive most of the utility of cut sandwiches from the increased ease of handling.

    That said, there are a few types of sandwiches I don't cut. I almost never cut my burritos in half. Same goes with subs less than, say, 8" or so, especially if cutting it would make it messier or more difficult to handle. Burgers I sometimes won't cut, but I often do.

    I also prefer the diagonal cut.

    13 Replies
    1. re: MonMauler
      ryansm Apr 21, 2011 11:13 AM

      I'm not so sure it's irrational!

      I always cut mine diagonally and attack them from the large exposed area created by the cut. That means you're starting directly with the bulk of the fillings, none of that working-through-the-crust-to-get-to-the-filling nonsense! For me, the sandwich filling--regardless of what it is--tastes much better than bread crust, so that's pretty close to a logical explanation :)

      1. re: ryansm
        MonMauler Apr 21, 2011 11:16 AM


        I actually thought that same thing, "It's not that irrational!" almost directly after I posted and it hit me -- hey, it does let me get at the filling first, and that's the best part.

        1. re: MonMauler
          mariacarmen Apr 21, 2011 01:04 PM

          exact same thoughts here, too.
          diagonal's just prettier.

          1. re: MonMauler
            uwsister Apr 21, 2011 04:07 PM

            I don't eat halved (or quartered) sandwiches any differently than a whole sandwich, so I don't think "getting to the filling" is a factor for me. It makes sense though for those of you want to attack the middle first!

          2. re: ryansm
            alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 07:50 PM

            Not only that, but when you bite into the thin edge of an uncut sandwich you tend to push the fillings toward the center and eventually out the other side. Bite into the cut edge, though, and you push the fillings toward the edge where they tend to be less plentiful. So the bread / filling ratio is better the whole way through.

            That may not be rational, but it's certainly a rationalization! ;-)

            1. re: alanbarnes
              Veggo Apr 21, 2011 08:24 PM

              Similar to the movement of tectonic plates, only MUCH faster. And friendlier, especially when russian dressing is a slip plane between pastrami or roast beef, and swiss cheese, on rye.

              1. re: Veggo
                I used to know how to cook... Apr 21, 2011 09:03 PM

                Hi Veggo,

                Good one!!


                1. re: Veggo
                  alanbarnes Apr 21, 2011 09:14 PM

                  But when the delicious tectonic dressing oozes out, it tends to burn your tongue when you try to lick it up. Goodbye, Kalapana.

                  1. re: alanbarnes
                    Tripeler Apr 21, 2011 09:15 PM

                    Sounds pretty high-tectonic to me...

              2. re: ryansm
                Will Owen Apr 22, 2011 05:17 PM

                Something about a Midwestern upbringing, maybe, but "Worst first, best last" was taught to me as one of life's primary rules. I carried it to extremes by nibbling off the crust all around my sandwiches, then having the center for dessert. The balloon bread we were using would pinch shut when I bit down on it, so the decrusted sandwich was a fat pillow of butter, mustard, mayo and bologna. Yum!

                When Mom cut sandwiches she always did it vertically, right down the middle. Triangular sandwiches were a "fancy" restaurant kind of thing. In our world, a sandwich was supposed to be rectangular or square, except for the party kind that were cut in shapes.

                1. re: Will Owen
                  jgg13 Apr 26, 2011 11:10 AM

                  I also go worst to best, so tend to eat my sandwiches in the same way. I always make sure the meatiest, fillingiest, tastiest morsel is the last bite.

                  The downside of this tactic when it comes to a full meal is sometimes I'm full before I'm ready to attack the best parts :(

              3. re: MonMauler
                cgfan Apr 23, 2011 11:02 AM

                I, too, differ and say that it is rational, and does change the taste.

                A very similar question arises in Sushi, with the exception that there the question has long been answered but perhaps its reason largely forgotten. Take the Hosomaki, or narrow rolls. They are all traditionally cut in 6 pieces except for the Kampyomaki (dried gourd roll), which is cut into 4.

                Why? I was first brought attention to this by my Itamae, who once presented me with two half-orders of a Kampyomaki with one half-order cut as if using the 6 cut, and the other half-order as if using the 4 cut. (Both half-orders were both cut from the same roll...) Presenting me with both half-orders, he asked me what I thought of them and asked me which one I preferred.

                They were indeed different, even though they were cut from the same roll. And sure enough I preferred the 4-cut roll because the ingredients were better balanced. I thought that the 6-cut roll was out of balance, with the Kampyo powering over the Shari.

                It was at this point that my Itamae explained to me that the Kamyomaki is the only traditional Hosomaki that's cut into 4 pieces.

                What a difference a cut, or in this case how a cut is made, can make!

                1. re: cgfan
                  mariacarmen Apr 23, 2011 10:39 PM

                  love this. and how you just know what feels right.

              4. h
                Harters Apr 21, 2011 10:29 AM

                And there was me thinking that everyone cut their sandwiches. I'm a straight across bloke.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Harters
                  buttertart Apr 21, 2011 11:02 AM

                  Is that English? My dad did that, my mom was a diagonal girl. Or diagonally in quarters for fancy, stand 2 up on the plate and buttress them with the other 2 quarters.

                  1. re: buttertart
                    Harters Apr 21, 2011 03:45 PM

                    Dunno. It's always diagonal for fancy - I'm just not fancy.

                2. dave_c Apr 21, 2011 11:09 AM

                  I cut diagonally... one reason for cutting a sandwich diagonally is to give a nice bite-sized corner wedge to start from (vs a 90 degree corner).

                  The reasoning is akin to how you put a roll of tp or paper towels on the holder. Should the paper roll over the top or roll from behind. Some people really care so much that they'll secretly change the orientation of the roll at a friend's house. lol!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: dave_c
                    Delucacheesemonger Apr 21, 2011 11:12 AM

                    Always wondered about folks who cut the sandwich diaper style, aka diagonally, and then took first bite from center.

                    1. re: dave_c
                      scubadoo97 Apr 21, 2011 05:44 PM

                      Agreed about the diagonal cut and starting at the tip to eat it. It exposes the ingredients and looks better as well.

                      1. re: dave_c
                        jujuthomas Apr 25, 2011 10:57 AM

                        "one reason for cutting a sandwich diagonally is to give a nice bite-sized corner wedge to start from (vs a 90 degree corner)."
                        my thoughts exactly! :)

                        1. re: jujuthomas
                          Chinon00 Apr 25, 2011 05:55 PM

                          Along with more exposed cross section versus cutting non-diagonal

                      2. c
                        cleobeach Apr 21, 2011 11:11 AM

                        You aren't the only one. Diagonally cut sandwiches just taste better and please keep the halves equal :)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cleobeach
                          jamieeats Apr 22, 2011 04:42 PM

                          i always prefer them unequal, so i can eat the smaller half first and have the better, bigger half to eat after. i'm always disappointed when i eat the bigger half first...

                        2. ipsedixit Apr 21, 2011 11:15 AM

                          I like mine to be trapezoidal.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: ipsedixit
                            cleobeach Apr 21, 2011 11:39 AM

                            The thought makes me shudder.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              ttoommyy Apr 21, 2011 02:19 PM

                              I'm a rhombus man myself. ;)

                            2. e
                              escondido123 Apr 21, 2011 11:47 AM

                              My favorite sandwich is also one someone else makes for me as long as they make it the way I like it.

                              1. mcf Apr 21, 2011 02:20 PM

                                I totally agree; must be in half, and diagonal is much more appealing and tastes better. Really.

                                1. onceadaylily Apr 21, 2011 02:28 PM

                                  Diagonal. When it's cut in half, I always feel the sandwich was *almost' perfect. And it's so much easier to dip into soup.

                                  1. r
                                    ricepad Apr 21, 2011 06:11 PM

                                    I don't understand my own sandwich cutting habits, but I never cut my own sandwiches, and I also never cut sandwiches I make for others that are going into baggies (that is, for lunches). I almost always cut sandwiches that I make for my family when they're going to be eaten at home, unless it's a fried egg sandwich (never cut!). When I cut them, it varies between identical rectangles, or diagonally, corner-to-corner.

                                    My mom used to cut on the diagonal, but not corner-to-corner. I have no idea why.

                                    1. I used to know how to cook... Apr 21, 2011 07:21 PM

                                      Hi all,

                                      I don't generally make a whole sandwich for myself. One slice of bread, cut across and filled. So I guess I do cut but just the bread so I end up with a half sandwich.

                                      BUT, BUT, BUT... If it's a whole sandwich to have with soup, as in grilled cheese and tomato soup, it gets cut into four strips. Much easier to dunk!

                                      For three grandchildren type people, I make two sandwiches. Cut them diagonally. The two bigger kids get three quarters, the littler one gets two. No waste that way.

                                      Edited to add... No, it's not irrational.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                        livetocook Apr 22, 2011 07:02 PM

                                        I did something so yummy I few years back that I can only eat grilled cheese one way. I MUST cut all the crust off first and dip those into the soup. Once all the crust is eaten I dive into the crustless, yummy, grilled cheese centre. Love, love love it this way. :D

                                        Every other sandwich, on the diagonal.

                                        1. re: livetocook
                                          I used to know how to cook... Apr 22, 2011 08:09 PM

                                          Hi livetocook,

                                          Now that's a great idea!

                                          Next grilled cheese/tomato soup lunch is getting that treatment.

                                          Do you cut the whole crustless middle or dunk the whole thing into your soup or just eat the middle?

                                          Ketchup ain't bad at all for dipping a grilled cheese either...


                                      2. j
                                        josephnl Apr 22, 2011 03:32 PM

                                        Not irrational at all. We taste with our eyes first! A diagonally cut sandwich looks good and reveals the contents before the first bite.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: josephnl
                                          twyst Apr 22, 2011 09:36 PM

                                          This. You eat with your eyes first.

                                        2. lilgi Apr 22, 2011 04:13 PM

                                          Whenever displeased with any of my children, the would NOT get their sandwich cut on the diagonal. Sort of has the same effect as "I am so disappointed", always worked too ;)

                                          We all seem to agree on eating grilled cheese whole.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: lilgi
                                            scubadoo97 Apr 22, 2011 05:33 PM

                                            You were a tyrant! ;)

                                            My daughter gives me a look if I don't cut her sandwich on the diagonal and prop one side up against the other. She's 21

                                            1. re: scubadoo97
                                              lilgi Apr 23, 2011 06:08 PM

                                              Hey had I thought of it, the propped triangle would have been great when they brought home 100's ;)

                                          2. j
                                            jbsiegel Apr 22, 2011 05:35 PM

                                            Cold Sandwiches - cut vertically
                                            Hot Sandwiches - cut diagonally

                                            Here's a real question - does ANYBODY cut horizontally?

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: jbsiegel
                                              ipsedixit Apr 22, 2011 09:32 PM

                                              If you are talking about a square piece of bread, does it make a difference if the cut is horizontal or vertical?

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                jbsiegel Apr 23, 2011 05:23 PM

                                                If you're using a loaf, the "top" part is curved. I cut vertically with this orientation....

                                            2. rworange Apr 22, 2011 05:44 PM


                                              While the diagnol cut is the most astheticaly pleasing to me, the ingredients play a factor, especially how the tomatoes are aligned.

                                              If they are not large tomato slices then I cut in half from the top of the slice to the bottom with the tomatoes arranged so they are evenly distributed on each half.

                                              It is rare that I would cut in half with one half the top and one half the bottom ... then you are stuck with a half of the less tasty crust to me, the bottom.

                                              Some sandwiches can't be cut ... the Thanksgiving turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing ... or the thick-sliced meatloaf.

                                              Flat cold square cold cuts such as ham take more kindly to the diagnol cut than round cold cuts such as liverwurst. With liverwurst, if you cut diagnolly then there are little odd pieces that tend to fall ot of the ends.

                                              Salads such as tuna and chicken do better with a top to bottom cut with the crust securing the filling better so it doesn't ooze out.

                                              Occasionally I'll go for the quartered sandwich which is usually squared and not triangled. Usually peanut butter and jelly are quartered ... don't know why.

                                              Grilled sandwiches almost always on the diagnol ... somehow though it strikes me that the triangle cut gives you less filling surrounded by more crust.

                                              And you thought you had problems.

                                              No one's mentioned de-crusting sandwiches. I was never into that even as a kid.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: rworange
                                                HillJ Apr 22, 2011 06:39 PM

                                                I was wondering if no crusts would come up as well. We would cut the crusts off white bread sold in the standard commercial loaf (ie Wonderbread) as kids because they were dry and the white stuff was fluffy. FI, Fluffernutter sandwiches no crust was a stable in our 60's house. But today there are so many delicious bakery choices in bread I wouldn't dream of cutting off the crust.

                                                Oh, and diagonal cuts if we want to dip the sandwich in soup or gravy and straight across if we don't.

                                                1. re: rworange
                                                  Veggo Apr 22, 2011 06:51 PM

                                                  Another sandwich where the cut is critical, and must be determined in advance, is a BLT, and how one arranges, weaves, or stacks the bacon strips.

                                                  1. re: Veggo
                                                    HillJ Apr 22, 2011 06:52 PM

                                                    So true; especially if you like crispy bacon....sometimes I cut the (in my case rye) bread then add the bacon strips.

                                                2. s
                                                  SherBel Apr 22, 2011 05:51 PM

                                                  When I had my restaurant, my cook used to cut sandwiches in three; she'd cut off one largish corner, then divide the remaining 2/3ds into two slices. I haven't seen this done before or since, but it is the perfect cut for clubhouse sandwiches, and I cut them that way to this day.

                                                  (My former cook is now my sister in law!)

                                                  1. letsindulge Apr 22, 2011 08:29 PM

                                                    Isn't the cut somewhat dependent on the shape of the bread?

                                                    1. srsone Apr 22, 2011 09:06 PM

                                                      i cut PB&J down the middle ..makes it easier to dunk in the round glass of milk...
                                                      GC..on the angle usually
                                                      butter sandwich ..middle again for dipping into tomato soup or chunky soup...

                                                      1. b
                                                        Bryan Pepperseed Apr 23, 2011 04:33 AM

                                                        The reason my cut sandwiches taste better is because the ones I cut are prepared differently than the ones I don't.
                                                        If I'm in a hurry and I'm just slapping a sandwich together so I can "eat and run" it doesn't get cut.
                                                        If I'm taking more care to make a "really good sandwich" (ie - with ALL the fixins') it always gets cut on the diagonal - I was taught that the diagoal forms more of a "pocket" to help "contain" the ingredients.

                                                        1. E Eto Apr 23, 2011 09:24 AM

                                                          Bagels especially need to be cut diagonally.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: E Eto
                                                            cgfan Apr 23, 2011 10:52 AM


                                                          2. Chinon00 Apr 24, 2011 01:17 AM

                                                            Cutting the sandwich adds to the anticipation. The sound of a bread knife slicing through a crisp hoagie roll just sounds delightful. Then the cross section of meat, cheese, or the filling of whatever sandwich you are having just looks appealing. And the smell. A croque-monsieur sliced open to release the pungent odor of the warm gruyere cheese is captivating.

                                                            1. p
                                                              pine time Apr 24, 2011 10:37 AM

                                                              Awhile back I read that Queen Elizabeth requires sandwiches to be cut diagonally, 'cause vertically cut ones look like tombstones. Now I can't look at a vertical-cut without thinking that, so we're diagonal in my house.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: pine time
                                                                uwsister Apr 24, 2011 11:42 PM

                                                                Thank you for that - I'll always remember it now!

                                                              2. jmcarthur8 Apr 24, 2011 11:07 AM

                                                                If the bread is square, I cut it in 'boats'.
                                                                That's all our family ever called it when it was cut diagonally when I was a kid, and that's what I called it with my own boys. Hmm. Never gave it a thought.

                                                                If it's rye or one of the other oval-ish bakery breads, it's cut in half widthwise. I like to have the second half fresh and not squished from handling.

                                                                1. u
                                                                  uwsister Apr 25, 2011 06:07 PM

                                                                  I proudly showed this thread to my husband to prove that I wasn't alone - he is not convinced and says we are crazy. Feh!

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: uwsister
                                                                    buttertart Apr 26, 2011 10:07 AM

                                                                    Feh indeed! Has he been talking to my husband? He calls my CH correspondents "your imaginary friends". (Of which he, not I, had one as a kid.)

                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                      mariacarmen Apr 26, 2011 11:17 AM

                                                                      Tell him I've met some of them! Live, in the flesh! They EXIST!

                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen
                                                                        buttertart Apr 26, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                                        But you're imaginary too! (He kids, we've met several corporeal representatives.)

                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                          mariacarmen Apr 26, 2011 01:19 PM

                                                                          it's true... just a pigment of your imagination, i am. Oink.

                                                                  2. i
                                                                    Isolda Apr 26, 2011 10:38 AM

                                                                    Not irrational at all, as others have said. It's my mother's explanation that's truly irrational: "Eating an uncut sandwich is tacky and tacky food doesn't taste good."

                                                                    1. m
                                                                      mmalmad Apr 26, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                                      My SO thinks that the fact that I cut her sandwiches diagonally is proof that I love her

                                                                      1. m
                                                                        msnm008 Apr 26, 2011 11:49 AM

                                                                        I cut mine diagonally, because I like eating the sharp corners of the sandwich first....and then work my way to the parts with the most filling.

                                                                        On another note, I also LOVE having the ends of loaves. My brother and I used to fight over them - we called them "bread butts". Bread butt sandwiches are the best!

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: msnm008
                                                                          cleobeach Apr 26, 2011 01:29 PM

                                                                          So does my son! I have no idea where this came from. He is 5yo and when he sees me cutting a new loaf of bread he yells "I want that piece!"

                                                                          I didn't learn to appreciate the "heel" until I was in my 30s.

                                                                        Show Hidden Posts