Tag Archives: sandwich

When is a kanapka not a sandwich?

Look in any Polish-English dictionary and you will find the following entry:

kanapka sandwich

Lies, deception, subterfuge, trickery! Flagrant misdirection and fibbing! It must stop and I’m the man who’s going to stop it. Polish food is generally pretty tasty. I’m not convinced it’s as great as a lot of people seem to think it is, you can please a lot of simpletons with meat, cream, and salt, but there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with it. The one thing the Poles can’t do, however, is make a sandwich. They know how to start making a sandwich but always fall down at the last hurdle. Two pieces of bread. You need two pieces of bread to make a sandwich, not one. I’m sorry, but I refuse to be dissuaded on this point.


A sandwich. Count the pieces of bread. If the total is divisible by two you’ve got a sandwich, if not it’s just some food near bread.

I’m willing to allow a kanapka may be formed using just one measly piece of bread. If that’s the way you want to do it go ahead, it’s your funeral, but I will not stand for such an object being translated as a sandwich. It isn’t one. It’s flagrant bread theft. What’s the problem here anyway—national bread shortage? Bread phobia? A morbid fetish for the insides of sandwiches? Sandwich-related Attention Deficit Disorder? How are you supposed to eat those ridiculous semi-formed things? Tomato slices are tricky enough to manage when you’ve got the advantage of a top layer of bread for gripping purposes, without it you’re doomed to sticky-shirt syndrome. I’ve seen people eating kanapkas with knives and forks, it’s just wrong I tell you. The clue is in the verb “to sandwich” meaning to put something between two other things as in the sentence “I spent a happy few hours sandwiched between Halle Berry and Megan Fox before waking up in jail.”


The beginnings of a damn good sandwich,
sadly never to be finished.

I felt so strongly about this that I decided to write an earnest letter to International Sandwich and Snack News, the journal of the British Sandwich Association:

Dear Sirs,

It has come to my attention that the otherwise blameless and upstanding citizens of Poland are bringing the good name of the sandwich into ill repute. I don’t know how to put this delicately so I’m just going to go ahead and say it: they only use one piece of bread. The insides of their “sandwiches” are naked and open to the public gaze. Children see them every day with untold risks to their future mental health. I’m sure you will be as shocked by this as I am and can only hope the British sandwich industry will bring every possible pressure to bear on the government to have Something Done About It.

This was their, lightly edited, reply:

Dear Island1

If you don’t stop sending us these disturbing emails we’re calling the police. Get a grip on yourself you sad insane man.

We agree completely and you are absolutely right. As usual.


International Sandwich and Snack News.
The voice of reason in a world gone mad.

I think we’ve cleared that one up. Would I be right in thinking, by the way, that “kanapka” is derived from the French “canapé?” In which case it’s just another example of the evil and pernicious influence of the French on yet another innocent nation.

Tagged , , , ,