Last year the internet was blazing with criticism towards Stephanie Smith and her blog 300sandwiches.com. If you haven’t stumbled across it by now, this follows Smith who made a sandwich so delicious that her boyfriend exclaimed, ‘honey you’re just 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring.’ She took this to heart and began constructing crazy delicious looking sandwiches and sharing the recipes online. A few days ago Smith received the engagement ring after making sandwich 257, I guess those sandwiches were so good that he couldn’t wait any longer.
On the outside, this may seem a little strange and, if you go off what most people have been saying, a bit anti-feminist and down right offensive. However, if you actually bother to read the blog you will see that this couple are any but. In fact there are many ways that they represent an equal partnership. Their engagement wasn’t hanging in the fate of her sandwich making skills, and their story isn’t just about a women in the kitchen.
It is easy to see how some have misinterpreted the idea, particularly when Smith includes comments from her boyfriend such as “You’ve been up for 15 minutes and you haven’t made me a sandwich?” I may sound rude, but lets take a step back and remind ourselves that this is a committed couple who live together- not too strangers that just met. This wasn’t a ‘300 sandwiches or never!’ threat, but just a fun challenge that couples do with on another.Teasing and playing around are a big part of most relationships. If we took all the jokes our significant other made seriously then most of us would be dating horrible people.
The idea of making food for someone we love is a strong theme in 300sandwiches with cooking hardly being one sided. Smith reminds us that her boyfriend is a gourmet chef and often comments on the delicious meals he whips up. To me this makes her sandwiches all that more special and reminds us how food is such an expression of love. I am sure that the boyfriend in question could make some fantastic sandwiches, but they are made by Stephanie because she cares about him. Taking the time to preparing food for the people you are close to isn’t a chore, it is what we do to show someone we care. Maybe if Smith hated the task of whipping up a sandwich then his remarks might be eyebrow raising worthy.
As the sandwiches were posted we have also been given a chance to get to know Smith herself, and after following the story for awhile she hardly seems like a women ordered to the kitchen. For one Smith is in her 30s and talking about marriage. Maybe if she was 22 and after that ring this would be a little concerning, but she has obviously meet a few other men before chosing Mr Right. While for other the pressure to get married can lead to women ‘settling’ for the wrong one, it is clear that Smith waited until she meet her man and made her own decision that he was the one. Aside from the relationship she has her own career, and a damn good one at that. Smith is a writer for Page 6 and often talks about attending parties and coming home late – while her boyfriend is asleep in bed. I hardly think that a women who was tied to the kitchen and always trying to please her man (as some internet bloggers have suggested) would have such an independent life. I feel it is also important to add that Smith eats the sandwiches herself. Sometimes these involve ice-cream, other times butter and fried chicken. But no mention of the calories or fat is ever given. Instead this girl will eat a sandwich made with real food and enjoy herself.
When she began sandwich making, Smith was already into her 30s and aware that she wanted to settle down sometime soon. In more recent posts she has began to share that the need for a ring isn’t what it used to be. Regardless of if she completed the sandwiches, Smith and her boyfriend were eventually going to settle down and get married. The past two years have, however, given her a chance to appreciate their relationship and enjoy the time together before they do live in a house full of dishes and kids. As Smith mentioned herself, the ring isn’t actually important – if it was I am sure she would have quickly whipped up 300 peanut butter sandwiches in the first week – but what is important is having someone to share them with.
Let’s face it, if you post something on the internet you are probably going to get some negative feedback to go with the good. But I felt like some of the comments directed towards 300sandwiches were just a bit too harsh and ignorant to what the website is really about. I think the overall message can be summed up by Smith in a recent pre-engagement post on if she will stop after sandwich 300.
“But after that, I will still make E sandwiches. Because they make him happy. And I’ll still post them on 300sandwiches.com. Because it makes me happy.”