Nothing brings people together like food. But when you also toss in the community factor of the Internet and a dash of state pride, that’s a recipe for success. Just ask Chicago designer Kelly Pratt.
On her new website, Stately Sandwiches, she posts pictures of deconstructed sandwiches she’s made. But this isn't like your Instagram friends taking a photo of everything they eat. Each image and each sandwich is fashioned to represent a specific state. For example, the Golden State got a California Powerhouse, consisting of avocado, sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese, and chive mayo spread on toasted multigrain bread. Connecticut? A chicken parm. New York? A Reuben. Pennsylvania? Obviously a Philly cheesesteak. So far Pratt has completed 12 sandwiches, with plans to do another sandwich every week or two (a recent move forced a break, but she hopes to start up again soon).
Pratt said two of her keenest interests are photography and food, especially sandwiches, so combining the two made plenty of sense. And clearly she’s not the only one who loves the idea.
Pratt posts the images online and promotes the site via Facebook and Twitter, which has proven quite successful. She also spends a lot of time interacting with her followers, as seen on Twitter, and that has brought plenty of extra publicity to the project. Before she knew it, people were flooding her email, saying how much they love the idea or sharing personal stories about the intersection of food and their lives — and, of course, making suggestions.
“My personal inbox is pretty daunting because of all the emails I have gotten, but it's been fun,” she said. “Everyone has a very strong opinion of which sandwich should represent their state.” For example, one would think that the lobster roll would be the perfect representation for Maine. But to jump to that conclusion would be a disservice to the classic “Maine Italian."
So what happens after she has made, photographed, and eaten all 50 state sandwiches? Pratt said some folks from overseas have emailed and told her how much they love the idea and have even suggested some international plates she could shoot.
For those who are interested in owning a print of one of the sandwich shots, Fab.com has a few of them on sale for the rest of the week.
Photo by Kelly Pratt