10 Things: The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

by Matt on April 14, 2011

I would like to tell you how much I love my job.

I love it thissssssssssssssssssssssssssssss much. Why? Because not only do I get to work with food almost every day and with people I love, but because once in a while there are projects like Susan Russo’s The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches that just make life so deliciously fun.

Susan, of the lovely blog Foodblogga, asked me at the beginning of last year if I would photograph her upcoming book on sandwiches. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t appreciate a sandwich, including myself, so I immediately said yes.  I was really looking forward to working with her and Quirk and I was also really interested in the challenge of photographing over 125 sandwiches for one single project.

It is an encyclopedia, after all!

Here are the 10 things I learned while photographing this book:

10.  When Food Stylist Extraordinaire Adam Pearson Uses Real Ingredients, The Photographer Can Eat Every Sandwich.

I take what I do seriously and felt it was my duty to taste every single sandwich after photographing it. What did I learn? That I love almost every sandwich. Some more than others.

9. Putting Butter On Bread And Layering French Fries Across It Is God’s Way Of Telling You The World Is Just Right.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the Chip Butty. I don’t really need to tell you any more, just look at it. Love it.


8. You Can Never Appreciate Fantastic Teammates Enough. You Just Can’t.

An ambitious shooting schedule takes work but with experts in the kitchen it’s nothing but smooth sailing. I’ll sound like a broken record yet again when I say working with Adam and Jenny is a dream come true. Thank you both!


7. It’s Ok To Eat The Same Sandwich All Day Long.

There was a late addition to the sandwich book in the form of Campanile’s Fresh Burrata Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Chickpeas, burrata and prosciutto on one sandwich? YES PLEASE. Not only did I gobble down the photo sandwich but we went home and made it for dinner. I suggest you try it.

6. I Wish I Didn’t Love This So Much.

It’s ham and swiss with jelly (and/or mustard) on a doughnut.  That’s right, that’s what I said. And I freaking love it. No shame in my game, y’all. For the record I made myself mighty uncomfortable by eating 3 of these in a row and I don’t suggest you do the same.

5. I Laugh Like A 3rd Grader Every Time I Say “Hot Brown”.

I’m gonna leave it at that. **UPDATE** I totally don’t mean to malign a delicious sandwich, please don’t take it that way! I’m just juvenile, that’s all.


4. Working With Quirk Books Is A Dream.

This was my first project with Quirk, the book publisher from Philadelphia. It was a dream. Gracious editors, fun designers, and a working relationship that I valued tremendously. In fact, I even did another project with Quirk Books after The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches. Maybe I’ll tell ya about it sometime :)


3. I Greatly Improved My Sandwich Shooting Skills.

You’d think shooting a single-subject book with very specific design parameters would be limiting. It’s quite the opposite and I enjoy the challenge of trying to see the same things in new ways. It really keeps me on my toes!

2. Bacon Does Make Everything Better. On A Sandwich It Makes It Exponentially Better.

I know, let me tell you something you don’t already know.


1. See Number Two.


Thanks to Susan, Margaret, and Jenny for allowing me to work on such a fun book! And with love and respect for Adam and Jenny, my team for their talent, dedication and culinary chops. Working with you two helps me to be a better photographer and person. I mean that. And I’m not just saying that because I’m married to the stylist!


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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Procopio April 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

What I need to know is this:

Did Adam use a bacon crimper?

Oh, and I need that chicken-fried steak sandwich in my life.


Broderick April 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

…and I need that burrata sandwich in my life

Joel April 14, 2011 at 12:51 pm

#5 – My nickname in High School… Just Sayin’

Maggie @ Loaded Kitchen April 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm

That Chip Butty sandwich looks amazing. I don’t think you could go wrong by adding some mayo to it–à la french fries and mayo.

Ana Adams April 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Great tip! I am your fan, love your sense of humor and delicious photography.
That + Susan’s sandwiches, that’s going to be a hit here, my daughter and I will be making and eating a lot of those beauties ! Thanks =)

Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy April 14, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Very cool – Susan is very sweet and I never thought I’d be so interested in sandwiches so much but they look great. I also appreciate you using “real food” when shooting!

I learned to love french fries in kebab/gyros because of all the Turkish kebap places here in Italy, and they put french fries on pizzas, too…but not sure I can do mayonnaise & french fries in a sandwich :S :)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Matt, I love this post! I adore it!

And after hearing some of the anecdotes this past weekend about your adventures shooting this book, I love this post even more.

Donut sandwiches, sandwiches that you made that were just so good you went home and made them again, finding out that you can be creative with sammies and that you improved your sandwich shooting skills…all so wonderful!

I am still on cloud 9 from the workshop. You and Adam are the best!!!! :)

Angela April 14, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I recommend buying the book and then when your kids/partner/friend asks (like they always do) what can I get you for your birthday? you say “make me a sammy once a month” from this book!
thanks matt for the sweet words, too….

Michelle April 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I want this book just to look at those photos!

Janet April 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Funny, my Chef says “Bacon makes everything taste better”, but she also says that “Butter is love”. My mottoes I live by.

Frau Haselmayer April 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm

OK, I’m crying because I REALLY want a sandwich NOW. Not just any sandwich but my favorite sandwich – Roastbeef with Ranch Dressing. But in Germany you can’t get any roastbeef or some really good sandwich bread…

Chrissy @ My Fare Foodie April 14, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Wow! I bet shooting only sandwiches can be quite daunting or monotonous, but you seem to have made it work! My blog is still very new and I love looking at the different ways that people style and photograph foods. Thanks for sharing!

Mary @ stylefyles April 14, 2011 at 6:14 pm

How can I make that my job? Any of that? Styling, shooting or eating sandwiches all day long? Sounds like a dream.

Great photos =)

Anne Marie April 14, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Chickpeas, burrata and prosciutto! That sounds amazing. Even if I didn’t know you’d gone home to recreate it for dinner, that picture is tantalizing advertising. Are those little garlic chips on top? Only question is, didn’t the burrata melt too much? (I am assuming it’s a grilled tartine like sandwich only because the bread looks grilled.) Awesome shots.

Lil @ sweetsbysillianah April 14, 2011 at 10:13 pm

these sandwiches are ridiculous! i don’t even like donuts (i know i’m weird) but that ham/swiss/jelly? i want!

Anita / Married ...with Dinner April 15, 2011 at 6:52 am

I am in awe — you know sandwiches are the most challenging thing for me to shoot. (Remember my BLT in class?) Maybe I need to hire you and Adam to teach a master class in sandwich styling & shooting.

Joanne April 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

These pics (and the pies below) make me happy.

Wandering Educators April 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

BACON. yes. life is good. in fact, bacon could be all 10 reasons. but…

incredible photography – makes me want to GET THIS BOOK!! thanks, matt! it makes me happy, too (and hungry)…

Sarah April 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

This made me smile! I studied abroad in Australia a million years ago and was introduced to the Chip Butty. Chip Butty + beer + beach = heaven.

Congratulations on the book, the photographs are gorgeous!

Jimena A April 15, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I already have this book in my wish list, but after this post I will buy it right now!!
Amazing photos and I can wait to try the french fries sandwich :)
LOVE YOUR WORK! Congratulations!

Catherine April 16, 2011 at 4:58 am

I knew you were a fantastic photographer, but making a chip butty look classy? Now that takes some serious skill! All the photos are gorgeous, you really did a great job keeping everything looking different.

I really want that banana split sandwich!

Miri Leigh April 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm

These are some great-looking sandwiches! Thanks for sharing!

Lisa April 17, 2011 at 8:26 pm

This post has made me very, very hungry. The hot brown looks best to me – no joke.

@Frau – so sad about the lack of good sandwich bread in Germany. I live within walking distance of three delicious bakeries – one that specializes in bread. I am very grateful.

Thank you for the beautiful pictures!

Winnie April 18, 2011 at 4:11 am

What a fun post. I love Susan’s recipes and imagine this book is fantastic! ps the chickpeas, burrata and prosciutto looks TO. DIE. FOR.

Kirstin April 18, 2011 at 7:26 am

Once I saw “hoagie” and “fluffernutter”, I knew it had to be somehow related to my hometown, what up! Lots of love for hoagies!

cindy April 18, 2011 at 9:26 am

I love avocados every way I have had them but I do like the avocado salad that they serve at the sushi place.

make money in a week April 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

[...] The Encyclopedia Of Sandwiches by Susan Russo | MattBites.com [...]

Lily April 20, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Wow, that donut sandwich is unbelievable! I will have to reserve judgement until I taste it…

The sandwiches look amazing – you did a great job with the photography!

sophistimom April 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I’d eat any sandwich with Burrata on it ALL DAY LONG, too!

Legume April 21, 2011 at 9:00 am

Amazing info…and YES …your pictures looks like waiting to be enjoyed.

penny April 22, 2011 at 11:42 am

Really beautiful images Matt! Nice job.

panji April 24, 2011 at 6:54 am

wow……… Donut sandwiches, sandwiches that you made that were just so good you went home and made them again, finding out that you can be creative with sammies and that you improved your sandwich shooting skills…all so wonderful………
i like it……..

Steve May 3, 2011 at 12:50 am

:: sigh :: i want bacon.

Peter May 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I will forgive you your third grade chuckle on “hot brown,” if you’ll forgive mine on “see number two.”

Michelle May 17, 2011 at 8:06 am

Love the chip butty image …. it is my sincere opinion that the humble chip sandwich is a culinary delight too often overlooked. Soft milky bloomer, fresh mayo on the bottom slice and some crispy chips in the middle – if only my clients would ask for more of them !

beatriz May 24, 2011 at 6:24 am

me gustaria que me mandes mas de esto

shaun@everybodylovesramen June 27, 2011 at 1:11 am

Lovin’ the photos & the sandos. Yum.

Vanessa Kimbell August 27, 2011 at 5:42 am

Oh oh oh .. you are such a great Blogger! These photo’s are utterly fabulous and I think I am going to re look at the way I think about sandwiches !

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