300 Sandwiches


Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 10.31.38 PMOn Wednesday, much of Manhattan was horrified at a tawdry tale of love, exploitation, an edible version of Sex and the City, and social commentary.  My first reaction was the same as Melissa McEwan at Shakesville. It’s sick and abusive.  It is degrading.  The poor woman will do anything for her man, including sell her culinary skills for a diamond ring.  Is it a new kind of prostitution, a new front on the war on women?  I thought so, until I read the entire NY Post article.

Is this a way for poor Stephanie Smith to get Eric to marry her?

Is this a way for poor Stephanie Smith to come up with a way to silently and slowly deprive Eric of life and health by making him high calorie sandwiches?

Is this how poor Stephanie Smith panders for diamonds?

Or… is this the way Stephanie Smith goes from unknown cook to the next big thing on the Food Network.  If you take a look at her blog, Three Hundred Sandwiches, I think there is no abuse going on here.  This isn’t about Stephanie pandering for her diamond.  This is how the unknown fiance wannabe goes to the top, creating her own version of Julie and Julia?  New Yorker Julie Powell decided to cook all 524 of Julia Child’s Joy of Cooking recipes in exactly 1 year.  She kept a blog about her journey, snagged a book and a movie deal.

Is this a way for poor Stephanie Smith’s edible tale to truly expose a lack of a sense of humor and maybe a bit of feminist misogyny, and anti-male bias?

I suspect that it is.  We just need to check out a few blogs to realize that, indeed, some women are aghast.  How dare she lower herself to making sandwiches for an engagement ring? I’ll admit, it doesn’t exactly float my boat, but then again, my idea of a well made sandwich is some nearly stale old fashioned white bread, Miracle Whip, very cheap shredded cheddar cheese, and a few crushed BBQ potato chips on it, served inside a paper napkin.

Along the way, Smith’s blog is now attracting the attention of culinary superstars like Emeril Lagasse, Michael White and Ken Friedman.  She’s featured in the New York Post.  On a day when Ted Cruz seems to have sucked all the air out of the planet, Smith is holding her own.  Her sandwich recipes are now in demand.  If you scroll through her blog, you realize she’s also featuring other recipes, besides her sandwiches.  (The Messy House Ham & Cheese on a Roll looks incredible!)

Then, we learn that Smith is writer.  Her sandwiches are beautifully photographed and garnished.  No, this is not the rambling of an abused woman, but a writer who knows how to turn an idea into marketing genius.

  • Cookbook
  • Food Channel deal
  • Media appearances
  • Book
  • Marketing tie-ins
  • Movie deal

Well, Stephanie Smith has now been featured in just about every major publication.  She’s been written up in USA, Slate, Salon, Huffington Post, and Business Insider.  There are those who say it is a marriage hustle.  There are any number of people who think it is horrible, and that the poor woman is being exploited.

From her Facebook we learn that Eric is a gourmet cook, who does most of the cooking except for the sandwich making.   This is so not about a pathetic New York Career Woman being abused by her over-bearing boyfriend, wannabe fiance.  This is marketing genius.

Of course, if it were me, well, he’d be getting a Kitty Litter Sandwich.