Two F&W Editors Made the Britney Spears Sandwich So You Don’t Have To
I'd like to be clear that I consider myself a fan of Britney Spears. Not just the kind of toxic friend who likes to gawk at 2008 Britney bashing in a paparazzo's door with an umbrella, or Britney donning matching Canadian tuxedos with Justin Timberlake, but someone who fondly remembers listening to "Overprotected" on HitClips, wondering why the world was holding me, an eight-year-old who lived in Phoenix, Arizona, back from her destiny.
For the past few years, the energy surrounding Britney Spears' Instagram account can best be described as chaotic-meets-concerning, and while lots of folks stream themselves cooking on the internet, Monday's sandwich how-to video was the first of its kind for my generation's most important pop star. I guess that's why I felt duty-bound to put on my food writer hat before attempting to engage with the discourse around Britney recreating a cheesy, fruity, nutty, tiny sandwich she apparently discovered 15 years ago at a Schlotzky's Deli outpost in New York City and proclaimed as "literally God." I even managed to gain the support of our kind, patient Associate Food Editor, Kelsey Youngman (also a Britney truther). And so, we set out, with low-to-moderate hopes, to recreate the Britney Sandwich for ourselves, sans staggeringly low-waisted denim and baby tees.
Step 1: I've Just Begun (Having My Fun)
Disappointment hit swiftly when we realized the grocery store closest to the F&W offices did not have Britney's favorite bread, artisanal ciabatta. Ray Isle, our Executive Wine Editor who also happened to be in the test kitchen for this adventure, said that the Italian sandwich roll we used was a lot drier than what one might find at a Schlotzky's. This was, we'd find out, only the start of our problems with moisture in the Britney Sandwich.
Step 2: (I Got That) Boom Boom
My knife skills are admittedly not the best, but even I found myself more than slightly anxious watching Britney shakily chop pecans with the very tip of a not-so-sharp knife. It's worth noting that she refers to pecans as almonds in the video, only to correct herself later in the caption, so to keep things authentic, Kelsey and I sliced up both almonds and pecans. Variety is the flavor of life, and also, slicing nuts the way Britney slices nuts leads to a lot of wasted pieces flying all over the place. We mixed these nuts with crumbled goat cheese.
Step 3: Oops! ...I Did It Again
Britney managed to achieve the almost transparent pieces of "sheared" pear––which, she notes, resembles fish, but isn't––but we mere mortals had to contend ourselves with regular slices. After also slicing up an avocado, we discovered that the spring mix we picked up was less than optimal in terms of its freshness. But, the Britney Sandwich is all about moderation and minimalism, so we figured we could get away with only including a leaf or two.
Step 4: What U See (Is What U Get)
The rest of the process is a little bit of a choose-your-own-adventure situation. Given that this sandwich has absolutely no moisture––not a smear of Dijon mustard or spoonful of mayonnaise to speak of––the order of operations for assembly doesn't actually matter very much. It's a sandwich for free spirits, much like Britney herself. Then there's the matter of size. I understand that portions in the United States are massive relative to France or Italy; Britney's sandwich looks like it was made for a small family of ants who summer in Provence. She emphasizes that "You don't need a big sandwich for the summer ... a lot goes a long way," which, while I understand that warmer weather traditionally signals light, simple dishes like gazpacho or oysters, the Britney Sandwich looks like a recipe for a hangry, hot confrontation with reality.
While it's clear that this video was in no way sponsored by Schlotzky's, a sandwich chain that has been around since the early 1970s, the company is clearly the real winner here. Does it matter that there's nothing similar to the Britney Sandwich currently on the menu? Or that the sandwich itself tastes, frankly, like licking pear-flavored sandpaper? No, because Britney made the sandwich, and that's all that matters. If I don't see a Britney Sandwich on the Schlotzky's menu in the next day or two, the crowd will continue saying (forgive me), gimme, gimme more.