In the children’s story of the Little Red Hen, the hardworking chicken plants the wheat, harvests the wheat, grinds the flour and bakes the bread. But her odyssey is nothing compared to that of Andy George, who took six months and $1,500 to make a sandwich from scratch for his Youtube series, How to Make Everything.
Every day, about half of all Americans eat a sandwich. But as Casey Chan for Gizmodo points out, when most people make a sandwich they simply assemble pre-made pieces. But before that putting together, a whole lot happens. To make a simple chicken sandwich, a whole host of agricultural activities are involved: vegetable growing, cow milking, honey collecting, and chicken killing.
The raw ingredient list includes wheat, lettuce, tomato, onion, sunflower, cucumber, dill, pepper, garlic, salt, chicken, milk, eggs and honey. Unsurprisingly it appears that the vegetables were the easiest part of the sandwich to make.
George has a whole series on the exhaustive process and it includes interested historical facts about the food he prepares. But here’s the overview:
No short cuts here. George takes a plane flight to the ocean to collect seawater that can be used to make salt. He milks a cow to make cheese. He builds a press to extract oil from sunflower seeds to make mayonnaise. He harvests wheat by hand, separates out the chaff using a fan in his apartment and grinds it to make flour.
The result? "It’s not bad," George says, before hanging his head and laughing. His friends and family however, were perhaps a little less biased by the months of work; they don’t say much but their faces tell the truth. Comments on the bread video point out that it appears that the bread may not have risen and was probably fairly dense. So there is value in relying on those who know their craft it comes to producing food. As George explains, the same sandwich would have cost roughly $15 to buy expertly prepared ingredients and taken six minutes to assemble.