11/18/15 10:15am

How Instagram Ruined The Sandwich (for the Better)


A gutbusting Waffle House sandwich born of a hunger for IG likes.

I spend more time than most—and less than some—thinking about sandwiches and Instgram. The same can be said for my pal Rev Ciancio who was kind enough to pen this guest column inspired by that most American of establishments, The Waffle House.

The lunches at my grade school … sucked, for lack of a better word. They sucked. Our hot pizza was merely a no-name version of a square piece of Ellio’s. The meatloaf was a dense piece of hardened automobile sponge covered in a warm “gravy” that had the consistency of Slimer’s ectoplasm from Ghostbusters. Even the French Fries were terrible. They were toasted styrofoam covered in the same salt they use to clear snow covered roads in states that end in “ota.”

If you wanted a decent lunch you either had to sneak out—which wasn’t an option until you or a friend turned 16 and was blessed with a Chevy Nova that could squeeze in a six-pack of high-schoolers — or you had to bring your own. The latter was a pretty good option. Maybe you had PB&J on white bread. If you were really lucky, you got salami and mozzarella with yellow mustard on split-top wheat. (Those were great days.) Your sandwich usually came with a hand-packed Ziploc bag of Doritos, Chex Mix or some generic potato chips, and a piece fruit or carrot sticks. If your Mom/Dad/Caregiver really liked you, you were blessed with the social currency of cookies.

We ate it. We liked it. And we did not take photos of it to share on social media.

These days, a sandwich with a couple of slices of deli meat, a square of processed cheese, a squirt of mustard or mayo and your choice of rabbit food on sliced bread sounds like the lamest thing you could ever, ever eat. And it’s all thanks to this sandwich from Waffle House.

Well, maybe not that exact sandwich, but it’s a great example. It was late and honestly, anything would’ve gotten the job done when I was there. Two slices of white bread, grilled with American cheese in the middle, would’ve been perfect. But no, I can’t eat something without taking a picture and posting it to my social networks. If I had ordered a basic grilled cheese and posted that picture, it would’ve gotten 10-20 likes, if I was lucky. But where’s the excitement in that?!

Instead, I ordered a grilled cheese, 2 eggs sunny-side up and hash browns with cheese, sautéed onions, ham, jalapeños, chili and sausage gravy. I shoved the eggs and browns concoction between the two slices of bread, along with the barely melted slices of processed cheese and created the most amazing, delicious, gut-busting sandwich I could. Why?

I needed the likes.

And you know what? I’m not ashamed of it either. I mean really, who wants to eat this:


When you can eat this:

So thanks a lot, Instagram! You may have ruined our grade-school lunches … but you did make being a #sandwichlover all that much better.

Rev Ciancio is the director of marketing for Schweid & Sons, a family-owned and operated gourmet ground beef purveyor. He’s obsessed with food, marketing, hospitality, craft beer and his cat, but no other cats because they suck. 

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