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« Polymonotheism | Main | Primate Cities »

February 01, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Alice compares the American and the British sandwich. Shanti has some expert tea tips.



posted by Michael at February 1, 2006


It seems to me that in today's world a "classic" sandwich (made with pre-sliced bread) is cut on the diagonal (creating two triangles). When I was a child in the Bronx in the early 1950s, I remember my mother used to cut a sandwich straight across (creating two rectangles). Then one day I saw my friends' mother cut a sandwich on the diagonal, and from that point on a square cut sandwich seemed so old-fashioned and . . . "square."

I've mentioned this on an internet Bronx nostalgia board, and a few other posters also remember "square-cut" sandwiches. I wonder if this is strictly an old-fashioned local phenomenon or if it also has to do with socio-economic class (e.g., the better educated and more affluent families cutting on the diagonal and the working class families cutting on the square).

Along similar lines it seems to me that working-class kids (especially "ethnic" kids) and even middle-class kids in those days (at least in the NYC area) called their parents "Ma" and "Pa" (or maybe "Pop"); upper middle-class kids called their parents "Mom" and "Dad" (with only very young children saying "Mommy" or "Daddy); and upper-class kids (at least in the movies) using something like "Mummy" (or "Mother") and . . . ("Father"?).

It seems to me that the big thing that swayed kids into the "Mom" and "Dad" camp (at least in the NYC area) was televised social norms like the June and Ward Cleavers of "Leave it to Beaver." But even in the early 1960s, I remember guys in my school "goofing" on kids (especially other boys) who called their parents "Mom" and "Dad"!

Posted by: Benjamin Hemric on February 2, 2006 7:25 PM

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