In yet another in my series of in-depth analyses of human behaviour, I’m taking a look at a staple in everyday life. I’m talking about Pret a Manger, everyone’s favourite overpriced sarnie shop, and the go-to orders that we all have.
My go-to order is the Macaroni and Cheese with kale and cauliflower. This says that I am basically still a child because I like simple, flavourless food, but at the same time I’m trying to pretend to be an adult by labelling it ‘posh’ with the inclusion of kale. Most likely to have bought a spiralizer without ever using it.
You don’t mess around – you know what you like and you like what you know. We’re talking the Classic Ham and Egg, the Chicken Caesar and Bacon. You like recipes that you know have stood the test of time because you find comfort in them. The working week is tough, and you like the familiarity of food because it’s something you can control in this crazy world, that’s why you go for the classics.
See also: Beech-smoked BLT or Classic Super Club.
This is a sandwich that elevates the classics, goes against the grain. Examples would include anything on wholegrain or bread that is not your typical white bread. You have an appreciation for the finer things and for anything that gives you a taste of luxury during your lunch al desko.
The Italian Prosciutto baguette is upmarket because it’s not on a white loaf, and you’ve gone for fancier meat rather than just plain ham. Wild Crayfish and Rocket is another, again because of the wholegrain bread, and also because you have chosen crayfish rather than the more traditional seafood option like tuna.
See also: The Jamon-Beurre, because although everything else is written in English, apparently this one baguette is so fancy that it has to remain in French, even though really it’s just ham and butter.
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A step up from ‘upmarket’, exotic Pret meals are for the intrepid explorer, the diner without fears, someone who likes to be taken on a journey during their lunch break. The exotic diner is ordering the Teriyaki Salmon Salad for a trip to Japan, or the Hoisin Duck Wrap to take them to China.
You like a taste explosion rather than your traditional sandwich, which you have deemed boring and tasteless. You seek thrills in the smallest of experiences to get you through the day, and have an appreciation for experimental dining.
See also: Chipotle chicken salad for a little taste of Mexico.
I’m turning now to Christmas sandwiches, because so many people listed this as their favourite when I asked. Excitement over the Christmas Menu means that you like an exclusive and a one-off. It allows you to feel a little Christmas cheekiness during lunch, prolonging the festive season, which is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year.
It also means that you really, really love Christmas dinner, which is odd because most people will admit that turkey is really a rubbish meat.
See also: The Beef Wellington baguette or the Brie and Cranberry sandwich.
5. Hot food
Just because you’re on the go doesn’t mean you’ll forsake a proper meal. You eschew a classic sandwich or a salad because those options do not nourish you like something warm will. The hot food diner wants something substantial that will sustain them for the afternoon and leave them feeling not just full, but fulfilled.
Soup with a side of bread is your staple winter or summer because you know that Pret’s seasonal soups are always on point. On a winter’s day you might order one of the posh toasties to make you feel warm and fuzzy.
See also: The Swedish Meatball Hot Wrap, which will inevitably burn your mouth when you take your first bite.
If you go for say, the avocado, parma ham and pine nuts salad, you’re obviously health conscious, which is great. At the same time, you don’t want to restrict yourself just because you’ve sworn off carbs, hence why you treat yourself to something with a variety of colours and ingredients.
See also: The Super Food pots. If Gwyneth Paltrow were a meal, she would be that, because it’s got all fancy seeds and dressing and is massively overpriced, which is what Goop is all about.
You brave soul, going for what is unequivocally the most anti-social of all the sandwiches: egg.
You’re making a huge statement by choosing egg, and this statement is that you don’t give a damn what your desk-mate thinks about the smell. You’re taking a stand with every bite of that sandwich, and setting yourself apart from the crowd.
You’re also not in the sandwich game for romance, because you have picked the sandwich most likely to scare away any potential love interests with your egg breath.
See also: Tuna. Both a classic and an anti-social threat to office scent equanimity.