Apparently the path to the alter is paved with sandwiches. “You’re, like, 300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring,” after this unusual remark from her boyfriend, Eric, Stephanie Smith decided to embark on a 300 sandwich journey in order to get hitched. Part romantic advice, part food blog, 300sandwiches has sparked a sizzling response. Last Tuesday, Smith, an NYPost journalist, revealed that she is the voice behind the blog and has repeatedly defended the motives behind her culinary creations. While some read 300sandwiches as a lighthearted cooking blog, others see it as an affront to feminism.
Due, in part to the NYPost’s provocative headline—“I’m 142 Sandwiches Away from an Engagement Ring”—Smith’s blog has attracted harsh criticism. In her original article, Smith describes her desire to get married and concern over her biological clock. Thus, when Eric gives his, now infamous, remark about Smith being “300 sandwiches away from an engagement ring,” Smith readily agrees. While this in itself could be seen as a light-hearted dare, Smith’s later lines suggest there is more at stake: “Maybe I needed to show him I could cook to prove that I am wife material.” This notion that women need to “prove” themselves worthy of being wed is not only archaic but mildly offensive. Megan Seling, of Seling for The Stranger, retorted: ”to take the stupid 'Get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich,' quip and turn it into a 'cute' little game with the reward of something as serious as marriage at the end is just gross.”
After her initial article, Smith countered the anti-feminist tilt to her blog with another NYPost article—“It’s a Blog, Not a ‘Wich Hunt”—this snappy response restyles her motivation and reworks her stance on her sandwich-to-marriage position. The feature photo shows Smith and her boyfriend lovingly posed in the kitchen, whereas the previous article showed Smith playing cook alone. Aside from the visual difference, Smith holds: “This project is not about me promoting myself as some gourmet chef, nor a desperate plot to win Eric’s love — or a movie deal or Internet fame”.
Smith claims detractors have taken her words too literally and states she is ”no less of a woman” for endeavoring to make 300 sandwiches “after a flip joke”. She iterates that making sandwiches is no sacrifice for her—it is a labor of love. This contrasts sharply with the phrasing from her blog page: "Even after covering movie premieres or concerts for Page Six, I found myself stumbling into the kitchen to make Eric a sandwich while I still had on my high heels and party dress." While Smith may be the one rushing to the kitchen, it seems unlikely that this journalist has found a second calling as a short order chef—this smacks of retro gender roles.
Yet, this blog is still worth perusing, whether for a laugh or a cringe. The combination of gourmet sandwiches and cookbook-worthy photography almost make up for the questionable sentiments behind 300sandwiches. Despite the questionable love advice, any way readers slice it, Smith makes a tasty sandwich.