15 Legendary Sandwiches In Film And TV, From The Moist Maker To The Tangwich

Remember the Pixy Stix and Cap'n Crunch sandwich from "The Breakfast Club?"
09/30/2018 05:45am ET
Universal Pictures

All you have to hear is “I’ll have what she’s having” to recall one of the most iconic scenes in film. At the center of that memorable moment from “When Harry Met Sally” is a sandwich, the star of a surprising number of movie and television scenes.

Sandwiches are a great equalizer: The simple combination of bread stuffed with random ingredients has competed for attention with the likes of Rodney Dangerfield and Diane Keaton.

These 15 iconic sandwiches include ones we’ve all eaten before as well as some that are decidedly more bizarre. Some of them, no doubt, chew the scenery.

The Moist Maker (‘Friends’)

If Ross Geller shouting “MY SANDWICH?!” echoes in your head for those few seconds you can’t spot your lunch in the office refrigerator, then you’re well acquainted with the Moist Maker of Episode 9, Season 5 of “Friends”: “The One with Ross’s Sandwich.”

Its star was an epic sandwich of Thanksgiving leftovers that Monica made for Ross. The “only good thing going on in [his] life,” this lunch item launched the normally passive Ross on an anger-fueled rampage at work, earning him the nickname “Mental Ross” and getting him placed on leave after the sandwich was (criminally) half-eaten by his boss.

“Friends” fans seriously upped their Thanksgiving leftovers game after 1998 thanks to Monica’s secret weapon, a gravy-soaked slice of bread in the middle, i.e., the Moist Maker. The rest of the recipe is open to interpretation, but should include some combination of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

The Ride-Along Meatball Sub (‘Friends’)

Eleven episodes after the Moist Maker, we meet another life-changing sandwich on “Friends.” On “The One with the Ride-Along,” Joey buys a meatball sub that he can’t stop talking about right before going on a ride-along with Chandler, Ross and Phoebe’s cop boyfriend, Gary.

When a car backfires and they mistake it for a gunshot, middle-seated Joey instinctively dives over Ross. Ross finds a new lease on life after being “saved,” while Chandler feels forsaken by his best friend. The apparent rejection is a moot point, however: Joey was diving across Ross to save his sub, “the greatest sandwich in the world.” In the ultimate act of friendship, Joey allows Chandler to have one bite of the sub.

The Pixy Stix and Cap’n Crunch Sandwich (‘The Breakfast Club’)

The 1985 classic “The Breakfast Clubpaints a picture of its detention-going characters in a lunchtime scene. Sophisticated Claire pulls out sushi, sheltered Brian unveils a mom-packed crustless PB&J, jock Andrew digs into enough food for the entire wrestling team and misfit Allison tosses the pimento loaf from her sandwich and instead stuffs the bread with candy and cereal.

Was it a stunt to maintain her intrigue or did she really dig the sugar rush? If you can stomach it, copy the sandwich with a white slice and a wheat slice of bread, butter, Pixy Stix and handfuls of Cap’n Crunch.

The Hors-d’Oeuvres Sandwich (‘Back To School’)

Rodney Dangerfield’s Thornton Melon might be a millionaire, but he got there without a fine education or an illustrious pedigree. In a scene from the 1986 comedy “Back to School,” Melon prepares himself a sandwich made with food from the hors-d’oeuvres table at one of his wife’s eye-rollingly stuffy parties.

Proclaiming he hates small food, our hungry protagonist digs some dough out of a loaf of bread and fills it with deviled eggs, meatballs and spanakopita. The appetizer-filled sub succeeds both in setting Melon apart from the tiresome fancy guests and in giving sandwich-makers new ingredient goals.

The Tangwich (‘Married With Children’)

The cash-strapped and resourceful Bundy family was good at finding different ways to consume Tang. On the seventh episode of Season 4, “Desperately Seeking Miss October,” our curmudgeonly patriarch, Al, asks his kids, “OK, who wants a Tangwich?” Yes, the family has taken to pouring the orange powder onto bread.

Kelly and Bud don’t refuse the offer because it’s gross, but because they prefer it when their mom makes it, pinching the ends of the bread so the Tang doesn’t spill out. Al scoffs and proceeds to dump the sandy orange mess all over himself.

Writer Loryn Stone tested the Tangwich for Cracked. “It was super delicious. When you bite into the bread, the Tang starts to melt and it mingles with the bread like orange pound cake. I think Tangwiches should replace peanut butter and jelly as the standard.” Milk Bar chef Christina Tosi has created a similar recipe for Tang Toast that’s worth trying, too (it includes margarine, “not butter”).

The Unsettling Ham and Cheese Sandwich (‘Kill Bill: Volume 2’)

Never has such a simple sandwich carried so much weight. Once Uma Thurman’s Beatrix tracks down her former lover and would-be killer, Bill, in Quentin Tarantino’s 2004 “Kill Bill: Volume 2,” Bill, played by David Carradine, prepares Beatrix, their daughter, B.B., and himself crustless sandwiches on Bimbo bread with ham, turkey, Swiss and American cheeses, mustard and mayo.

Just a nice dad making a classic combo, right? Except that he unnervingly does so with a butcher’s knife while recounting to Beatrix how B.B. has come to understand death through having killed her goldfish, Emilio. Spoiler alert: The kid-friendly sandwich is Bill’s last meal.

The Ironed Cheese (Benny and Joon’)

Johnny Depp’s character, Sam, makes up for his lack of education with a collection of quirky skills in 1993’s “Benny and Joon.” One such skill is making a mean grilled cheese with an iron. He happily churns out a stack of them while staying with his soon-to-be love interest Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) and her brother Benny (Aidan Quinn).

Later, Benny jokes to Joon that personally, he would have used the iron’s wool setting for the sandwiches, and Joon informs him that Sam used the rayon setting. Either way, the ironed cheese has been put to the test if you should fancy a try.

The Grilled Jarlsberg (‘The Devil Wears Prada’)

When Anne Hathaway’s Andy comes home to her boyfriend Nate, played by Adrian Grenier, ranting about her stressful fashion-mag job in 2006’s “The Devil Wears Prada,” Nate delivers what should be a bad day antidote: a crispy, gooey grilled cheese and wine. Andy snubs the indulgence, and Nate incredulously points out that “there’s like $8 worth of Jarlsberg in there.”

The scene has its critics: $8 of Jarlsberg would basically be an entire wedge of cheese between bread. It’s also been used to support a popular claim that while Nate is seemingly written as a good boyfriend, he kind of sucks. He looks down on Andy for falling under frivolous fashion’s spell, but he treats expensive cheese like manna.

The Pastrami on White Bread Sandwich Foul (‘Annie Hall’)

Diane Keaton’s Annie orders pastrami on white bread with mayonnaise in the iconic 1977 Woody Allen film “Annie Hall,” and it’s one of the most famous sandwich orders in cinematic history. Pastrami has long been mandated to be eaten on rye bread with mustard, so Annie’s order would appall a Jewish deli purist.

Milton Berle said, “Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere, a Jew dies,” and Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara joked in 1968 that “Friends of ours have told us that we go together like hot pastrami on white bread.” Only thanks to Annie’s charm can we let her slide.

The Very Exciting Turkey Sandwich (‘When Harry Met Sally’)

One of the most quoted lines in film wasn’t even spoken by either of the titular characters in 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally,” but by director Rob Reiner’s mother, Estelle. She quips, “I’ll have what she’s having” in response to Sally’s unforgettable fake orgasm, which is performed — much to the chagrin of Harry — in a crowded Katz’s Deli over sandwiches.

Sally has ordered the turkey sandwich, which she treats with her signature deconstructing and rebuilding to her picky standards. Katz’s has said the sandwich came with Russian dressing and slaw, and yes, people are still re-enacting the scene in the deli all these years later.

The Secret Sandwiches (‘30 Rock’)

“Sandwich Day” is basically Chrismukkah for the staff of TGS on “30 Rock.” It’s when the Teamsters bring in next-level sandwiches from an undisclosed Italian deli in Brooklyn. These hero sandwiches are so good that Liz (Tina Fey) threatens to cut the writers’ faces up so bad they’ll have chins after they eat hers.

This causes the writers to participate in a drinking contest with the Teamsters in hopes of winning Liz another sandwich. The internet went crazy trying to figure out where the sandwiches were really from, and the deli was finally revealed to be Fiore’s Deli in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The Dealbreaker Pastrami Sandwich (‘Seinfeld’)

While Jerry suffers two injuries and blood transfusions from Kramer and Newman in Episode 4, Season 9 of “Seinfeld,” Jason Alexander’s George is busy working food into his sex life after being made hungry by the scent of his girlfriend’s vanilla incense. She’s open to the usual suspects, like strawberries and chocolate, but George is most excited about a pastrami sandwich.

His girlfriend kicks him out when he aims for his perfect trifecta of a pastrami sandwich and TV while in bed, but George meets his match in the gang’s friend, Vivian, who declares she finds “pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted cured meats.”

The Puntastic Burgers and Sandwiches (‘Bob’s Burgers’)

Even a casual ”Bob’s Burgersfan knows to look out for the pun-tastic burger and sandwich names written on the burger shop’s chalkboard every episode. There is a seemingly infinite number of countdowns listing the tasty (the “Baby You Can Chive My Car Burger” with chives, feta and sour cream) and the tasteless (“The Child Molester Burger” with candy). Some of the most popular picks are a cauliflower and cumin burger, a Roquefort cheeseburger and a burger with poutine. It became so clear that fans wanted to eat these combos that this IRL cookbook happened.

The Larry David Sandwich (‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’)

No good deed goes unpunished at the hands of Larry David. On the premiere of “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” fifth season, Larry’s favorite deli, Leo’s, announces they’re naming a sandwich for him. Larry’s chuffed — until he learns the ingredients of the sandwich: whitefish, sable, cream cheese, capers and onions.

“Not a fish guy,” he declares. He wants to trade with Ted Danson, whose crowd-pleaser has turkey, coleslaw and Russian dressing, but Danson is equally disgusted by the Larry David. Larry wins, though, by relating to Leo over being adopted, moving him to let Larry put his mark on the Danson.

The Racist Chicken Sandwich (‘The Kroll Show’)

Can a chicken sandwich be so good that people are willing to overlook the racist, homophobic views of the place making it? It shouldn’t be, but depending on your views, a good-chicken-over-everything belief system has helped Chick-fil-A stay in business.

Nick Kroll and the “Kroll Show” writers took that phenomenon to task on the ”Soaked in Success episode of Season Two with a commercial for the so-called “Chikk Klub.” Multiple dudes of different races explain why it’s totally cool for white supremacists to make their sandwiches as long as they’re spicy and delicious.

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