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Is Sandwich Sexism Real?

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Feb 27, 2017
Is Sandwich Sexism Real?

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

A while back we had legendary food critic Mimi Sheraton on the show. She told a story about a time she had 104 pastrami sandwiches in her car. She was taking them to a scale to weigh them to see which Jewish deli gave you the biggest sandwich for your money.

Well a Sporkful listener named Bill in San Clemente, California, heard that episode and called in with a pretty provocative question...

Do places make smaller sandwiches for women?


This week on The Sporkful, we set off on a mission around New York City with our friend Laura "L.V." Anderson. We buy a bunch of sandwiches, weigh them, and crunch the numbers to see if the sandwiches made for her are smaller than the ones made for me.

(Actually, our friend Lauren Hale, a researcher at Stony Brook University, crunched our sandwich stats -- better to leave the fancy math to the experts!)

We carefully selected four places where the sandwich maker also takes your order. Laura and Dan went into each place, one after the other, and ordered the same sandwich from the same sandwich maker. Then we took our twin sandwiches back to WNYC and weighed them on the mail room scale.


There are SO MANY factors to consider in an experiment like this.

Like what if a sandwich maker is unconsciously discriminating against women? Or what if it's not gender that tips the scales of justice, but rather height or race or profession? (Would you bulk up a sandwich for a ballerina -- or a construction worker?) And what if the sandwich maker is a woman?

Is sandwich sexism real? Listen in to the full episode to hear the results of our investigation. (And be sure to check out Laura's companion piece on Slate!)

And you can contribute to sandwich science by going out your favorite sandwich place with someone of the opposite sex, buying two identical sandwiches at same time of day and made by the same person. (Make sure you weigh them before you take a bite.)

Email us your results, and Professor Hale will crunch the new numbers!

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

Connect with me on TwitterInstagram and Facebook!

This is a rebroadcast of an earlier episode. 

This show features the song "Let's Make A Sandwich" by the amazing Two Man Gentleman Band.

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

- "Scrambloid" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "Hip Hop Slidester" by Steve Pierson

- "Can You Dig It" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Midnight Grind" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Private Detective" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

Photos: FlickrCC/jeffreyww, FlickrCC/donkeyhoteyFlickrCC/bionicgrrrlFlickrCC/Maria-Marta Nemes

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