The All-Time Best Movie Sandwiches

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

Slate has a wonderful compilation of the top ten movie sandwiches of all time.  But they left out my favorite, which was the inspiration for my 101 Must-See Movie Moments, the sandwich made by the daughter of the main character played by Van Johnson in “Wives and Lovers.” Here’s an excerpt from my book:

Can I make a tuna sandwich?” Julie (Claire Wilcox) asks her dad Bill (Van Johnson), who is working on his typewriter in their cramped tenement apartment. Julie is 7¾ years old. Bill distractedly gives her his permission, and then realizes, with horrified fascination, that her idea of making a tuna fish sandwich is to put four small plates on the table, place lettuce on one, tuna on one, mayonnaise on one, and bread on one, and then take a pinch of each with her fingers and put it in her mouth.

Any parent will identify with Bill’s inability to prevent himself from making the obvious comment and asking her what she is doing. She looks up at him as though he is a little slow and explains she is eating a tuna fish sandwich. Again, knowing he probably should not, he explains that most people combine the ingredients, and she tells him she does not like to have her foods touch each other. Like every parent going back to the cave days, when Cro-Magnon patiently explained that wooly mammoth tastes better when it is combined with some greens, Bill tells Julie that when it all gets to her stomach, it will be touching, and she says with a little shudder, “I don’t want to hear it.”

Later in the film, Bill takes Julie to Sardi’s. She does the same thing with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and it is just as charming.

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