Simple sandwich? Not to Jon Chonko.
The Google graphic designer spent nearly three years building, bisecting and — that’s right — scanning sandwiches for his popular and aptly titled blog, “Scanwiches.” On Nov. 3, Chonko released a book by the same name, that features 152 pages of visually — and gastronomically — mouth-watering food porn.
“I love seeing those textures, how the ingredients lie on top of each other, or in between each other,” Chonko said. “I like taking [sandwiches] out of their normal element to show off their beauty.”
The book is comprised of a selection of the 300 sandwiches that Chonko either made or purchased, sliced in half, scanned and — most importantly — consumed, and each is accompanied by a construction manual outlining its contents, and a brief history of its origin. Sandwiches scanned include famous constructions like lobster rolls, French dip roast beef and the beloved BLT; exotic fare like an Indian street sandwich filled with curried potatoes, and an Italian Muffaletta stuffed with three types of meat; and off-the-wall creations like Chonko’s own Dagwood — a record-breaking sandwich that boasts 36 ingredients, and six varieties of bread.
But Chonko’s creations aren’t just sensory delights — although they are undeniably gorgeous; the sandwiches of “Scanwiches” are individualized lessons in design, architecture, food, history and culture. In fact, for Chonko, the project’s appeal — aside from eating sandwiches every day — was threefold: to delve into the world of inventive and unusual sandwiches (and spice up his lunchtime routine), to document them visually, and to explore the histories of, while shining a spotlight on, the seemingly simplest snack there is.
“I love when sandwiches tell stories,” Chonko said. “Bahn mi, for example, holds within it the last hundred years of history in Vietnam: when the French colonized, they brought their culinary institutions like French bread and radishes. But over the course of hundred or so years, Vietnamese food crept in, like roast pork and coriander. It’s a manifestation of its history.”
Similarly, Chonko’s “Scanwiches” is a hybrid all its own: part picture book, part history book, part do-it-yourself guidebook, part art project — all absolutely delicious.
Jon Chonko’s “Scanwiches” is available at Powerhouse Books [37 Main St. at Water Street in DUMBO (212) 604-9074]. For info, visit www.powerh