You know how you go strolling along through life willy nilly without thinking a thing about how you pronounce the word triathalon, only to discover one day, that it’s actually pronounced triathlon? With no second a?

That’s how I felt the day I discovered I’d been making sandwiches wrong my entire life.

I’ve always been pretty confident in the kitchen.  I mean I have an apron, and a chef’s knife and I know how to separate an egg in my fingers so I’m pretty much a chef.  Now that I think of it, one of my aprons actually has the word CHEF right on it so that pretty much cements it.  I’m a chef.

Who doesn’t know how to make a sandwich.

Here’s what I do wrong.

When I make a sandwich I only butter the bottom piece of bread.  Not the top.  So only one slice of bread gets butter.


I’ve been told it is very definitely weird..  I shudder to think of the number of people I’ve stood before in my kitchen lovingly preparing them a stacked concoction of lettuce, cheese and meat and bread …. with only one piece of the bread buttered.

I thought you put your “starter” piece of bread on the counter, buttered it, then started stacking the rest of the ingredients.  So, bottom slice of bread, a little bit of butter, pastrami, mustard, salt, pepper, cheese, marshmallows, lettuce, top piece of bread with no butter.  Orrrrr buttered piece of bread, chicken salad, salt, pepper, top piece of bread with no butter.

My whole life I’ve thought you only butter the bottom slice of the bread.  I don’t know for sure but I’d bet I can blame my mother.  It’s because of her that I like to cook chicken breast until it’s the perfect degree of doneness and then cook it an hour and a half more.  (I’m actually learning to get over that)

I’ve had my sandwich making faux pas pointed out to me a few times in the past several years but I’m hoping maybe this is a thing.  That there’s an entire group of us in the world that only butter the bottom piece of bread.  We’re likely an elite crowd of sandwich makers who will be rounded up when the time is right,  save the world one bologna sandwich at at time.  Because a bologna sandwich can make any situation better.  Everybody knows that.  We’re going to save the world we single bread butterers, just you wait and see.


A toasted poppyseed bagel with sprouts and swiss is pretty good too but it can’t save the future of all mankind like the single bread buttering coalition’s bologna sandwiches could.

O.K.  Lay it on me.

Does ANYONE else out there only butter one piece of the bread?

Who among you is also going to save the world when called upon by the Templar of Toast!

Tell me.  Do you butter both pieces of bread in a sandwich.

Have  a good weekend!


  1. Elizabeth says:

    I’ll do you one better – I don’t butter either slice. I didn’t even know this was a thing.

  2. Catherine Vosper says:

    Butter both sides, lots of butter!

  3. Marta says:

    Nice beeswax wrap! Bet you made that yo’self.

  4. carla gruszecki says:

    I just thought all Canadain kids, who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s ALWAYS buttered both sides of the bread with Margerine (or “Marg” if your my mother and MargerEEN if you are my mother in law)
    If you buttered your bread with butter you were a) rich or b) one of those hippies who wore denim jumpers and hugged trees.

  5. Wendy says:

    Okay. I don’t usually make my own sandwiches, but I make them for my kids’ lunches all the time. I put Mayo on one slice, honey mustard on the other slice. I think I put the Mayo slice on top. There is always meat of some sort, cheese on Thing 2’s Sandwich, and lettuce on both sandwiches, if I have lettuce. I think I always have the meat touching the mustard.
    I make myself open faced sandwiches: toast, nut butter, apple butter. Less loaded.
    Have a good weekend. W.

  6. Ruth says:

    I don’t use butter or margarine, but I could see how it would be necessary if you’re travelling with a sandwich to prevent the tomato, etc. from making the bread soggy.

    Back in the day, when I used butter, it was never in a sandwich situation… butter one slice, eat one slice, butter one slice, eat one slice… (I’m sure you get the idea) I do the same with most spreads.

    (‘Weirdo’ that I am, I eat my crackers as ‘singles’ with every spread imaginable too)

  7. JebberJay says:

    If butter … one side.
    If mayo … one side.
    If mustard … no sides. blech.
    If bologna … fried.
    Triathlon … Yah!
    And “supposedly” is not pronounced “Supposebly”.

  8. Leisa says:

    I’m with you – butter on one side only!

  9. Cindy says:

    So Karen, as I was reading your post my mind was picturing the act of buttering as a general description one would perform with, well, butter but also jam, mayo, mustard, and cement. “Spread” could have been used…you just chose butter is what I thought. But as I read some replys I quickly realized…you meant actual butter. On a meat sammie no less. Not something we do where I live in beef lovin’ Oklahoma. But I’ll give it a try.
    Let me throw this into the ring….your sammie will taste different depending on how you stack your layers. My parents owned a sub and pizza restaurant for years in New Mexico and were very serious about how the subs were layered. They must have had the rigbt combo because their little restaurant would gross $400k+ in a town of 30k population. He did the same thing when he owned Sonic Drive-In franchises. I wish I could tell you the secret but I was always too busy stuffing my face to ask.

    • Karen says:

      Well that’s no help at all to me then is it??! ~ karen

      • Cindy says:

        No…no it’s not. Ha! My parents are both gone now so I doubt I’ll find my way back to Hobbs, New Mexico to see if the new owners paid attention and didn’t jack with a sure bet. As an experiment with your next sammie make it your usual way, take a bite or two, then turn it upside down and take a bite or two.

  10. Teddee Grace says:

    I thought you buttered the bread to keep the bread from getting soggy, so it makes sense to butter the sides of both pieces of bread that might come in contact with the ingredients…think tea sandwiches.

  11. Denise says:

    What’s with the butter haters. Butter on toast before the jam. Butter on a toasted tomato before the mayo. Butter on a sandwich. Always. Both sides. Eat ALL the butter. Ok so maybe because I grew up with gross soy margarine except when grandma came I now have it on as much as I can. She knew the good stuff.

  12. Cheryl says:

    I’m sorry to have to say this. I think anyone who puts butter on their sandwich bread is weird. I live in NE Illinois. I guess it’s a Midwest thing to never do this.

  13. audreys says:

    Butter on sandwiches? Ick. Mustard is totally acceptable, as is hummus. Mayo is questionable as hell.

    I also had a saboteur of a mother! Who knew pork chops could be so divine (when cooked properly)!!

  14. Connie says:

    When I lived in Maryland I learned they ate sandwiches with butter on them and I was shocked! Being from the Midwest of the United States, I never heard of butter on sandwiches except on grilled cheese.

    In my house we never ate a sandwich without Miracle Whip, ever. Mayo…no way. Never use it, don’t trust it.

  15. Kelly says:

    I’m just happy you’re using butter and not margarine, Karen! Butter is THE best!

  16. Betty says:

    I have ALWAYS buttered both sides.

    • Karen says:

      OMG!!!!! It’s BETTY!!! AFTER 6 YEARS MY MOTHER HAS LEFT HER FIRST COMMENT! And to defend her sandwich making abilities (which I’m pretty sure she’s lying about). ~ karen!

  17. Suzanne Gregory says:

    I was taught that you use butter on both top and bottom when making sandwiches for consumption at some future point to keep the bread from getting soggy.

    Here is how I do mine, mayo on the bottom, then your tomato, lettuce, then cheese then meat, mustard on the top piece against the meat.

    Basically mustard always goes against the meat and mayo against the salad part of the sandwich.

  18. Suzanne R says:

    This is hilarious. How can there POSSIBLY be so many ways to make a sandwich.

  19. Karin says:

    Ok, that triathlon pronunciation got stuck in my gizzard so I had to look it up. Turns out according to Merriam Webster both pronunciations are acceptable. So tri-a-thu-lon away my friends!

  20. Mike says:

    I enjoy slathering my bottom (slice) with butter’s thrice-removed cousin: peanut butter. Then comes the honey. The bare-naked top slice completes the sandwich.

    Boring or faulty sandwich architecture? I think not.

    The one-slice-coverage strategy is faster. Cleaner (e.g., grabbing bare bread). And, assuming a responsible amount of peanut butter is used, there are fewer calories.

    The latter makes me happy, as I can enjoy the calories missing from my sandwich in my beer. Which doesn’t require a discussion such as this.


  21. Susan says:

    A few things: Peanut butter is NOT butter, it’s just squished peanuts and oil. Real butter, especially PEI butter, has a taste that makes everything better, including peanut butter. I always pronounced triathlon correctly but when I read the first part of this blog, thought I was spelling it incorrectly. It will never be an automatic spelling any more; I’ll always have to think about it. Thanks, Karen.
    My mother was a butter person and my father preferred margarine. My mother buttered both sides and my father did the margarine side and the condiment side. But they were happily married almost 60 years so it wasn’t a deal breaker. Either would make sandwiches the way the other liked them.
    Having lost the joys of good bread or anything else with gluten, I’ve discovered a G/F baguette that becomes the ultimate sandwich bun when it’s broiled with olive oil. Brushed on both sides of course. I get my butter fix on toast. With peanut butter haha.

  22. Eileen says:

    Mustard on ham, ranch dressing on turkey, either on both sides, onions on all. My father used to consume butter by the pound. I don’t use it on my sandwiches. I like the mustard or dressings. BTW, try arugula on turkey or anything. It’s to die for!!

  23. mbaker says:

    It’s funny because to a lot of Americans this is such a Canadian thing. The fact is that this buttered meat sandwich business was the “thing to do” in the 50’s when my mom was growing up. She got used to it and tried to do it to me. As a result I associated ham with being slimy. So you only buttering one slice of bread are making a solid choice to limit both added fat and make a more pleasing texture.

  24. calliek says:

    Karen, I’m with you. Butter on one piece only. And who are these weirdos that use both mustard and mayo on the same sandwich? One or the other but both is just ew.

  25. holly says:


    • Penny says:

      Have you seen the figure on that Canadian? Let her put butter on her sammidges, one side or even both, it doesn’t look to be doing her any harm.
      And if you want to see the best way to make grilled cheese sandwiches, watch how Johnny Depp makes ’em in Benny and Joon.
      Actually, if Mr Depp wants to come and make me a grilled cheese sandwich, he could spread it with hand cream and use old socks for bread.

  26. danni says:

    wow, what a shitstorm you have unleashed!
    No butter in sandwiches, and then only one slice gets the mayo/mustard/crushed pepper spread.
    Butter for toast, and it must go under anything else on the toast, jam, honey, cinnamon sugar…
    When I was a kid we would put a thick layer of butter on Wonder Bread, a layer of sugar on that, fold it, smash it, and inhale it like we were headed to the electric chair. Oy! So politically incorrect now!!

    • Eileen says:

      My father used to devour those, butter and sugar sandwiches, I mean. He also developed diabetes so it’s off my list.

      • danni says:

        I’m pushing 60 (oh my god I don’t think I’ve ever put it that way before now!!! Gaaaah!)
        ummm… where was I… oh, yes, so many things from half a century ago are politically incorrect or unhealthy, unhealthy THESE days I mean. We only had 5 channels and 1 TV ruled by Dad, so spent all free time outside playing. Food was less tainted then, and Mom cooked all meals at home.
        One of the reasons I grow as much of my own food as possible.

    • audreys says:

      My grandma used to make us the white bread, butter, sugar crack bread!! Before bed! What the hell!?!? Great times!

  27. Lise Cameron says:

    Me again…I forgot to mention that I often use avocado instead of mayo..yummy and so good for you.

  28. Lise Cameron says:

    I never butter my bread .Depending on whether I am using ham and processed meat then it is mustard on both pieces of bread. For tomato, tuna, salmon ,chicken and turkey then mayo on both sides and all the trimming that goes with it…The only time that I butter my bread is to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I put that orange shiny stuff on both pieces of bread and then slices tomato and put it in between the cheese with a little pepper and herbs…Delicious…So never, never butter on my bread as I feel that I would not taste it and that it makes holes in the bread…Have a great weekend..

  29. Sia says:

    Oh my… You can get us talking about ANYTHING!
    You’re good.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. It’s these stupid little things in life that we all have in common that get us talking. WHO doesn’t make sandwiches? I had no idea there were so many ideas about it and opinions though! ~ karen

  30. Robyn says:

    I always used to butter both slices but the last 3 or so years I decided to cut back to only buttering one in the hopes of being healthy… less fat… yup.

  31. Chris White says:

    Butter on both sides because butter is the greatest thing since sliced bread… So it naturally should be the first thing on your sliced bread.

  32. Rose says:

    Butter on one side only. In Germany I had a pretzel with 1/4 inch thick layer of butter and chives-yummy! Subaru is another word like triathlon, hard to spell.

  33. whitequeen96 says:

    Here in California, my favorite things to use is “green butter,” also known as mashed avocado. Now THAT make a good sandwich!

  34. Thera says:

    Depends on the sandwich, but always both sides; either butter (for stuff that already has mayo ie egg salad), mayo, peanut butter etc

  35. Kirsten says:

    Always butter on peanut butter and jam but both sides and spread very thick. Meat sandwiches I leave the butter off and go with mayo AND mustard!! I spread these two directly on meat though…not on bread.

  36. Kim says:

    I butter on one side but hubby likes butter on both (he doesn’t need to watch his weight). Balogna sandwiches are to die for! I am from down east (New Brunswick) and we eat it for breakfast too…fried with eggs! Yummm!
    You were right Karen!!!!!

  37. Leslie says:

    The ONLY time butter belongs on both slices of bread is a grilled cheese sandwich

  38. Andrea says:

    Okay Karen….I belong to your Templar of Toasts….however my Dad told me I make sandwiches wrong. I think him pretty much a sandwich expert as he was a teacher and took sandwiches pretty much his entire teaching career for lunch. We may be chefs…but he is my judge at the end of that creation who eats it. Anyways he said butter on both sides stops the bread from drying out and protects the bread from the soggy mess of a juicey tomato or greasy bacon piece. So even though I used to butter one side and mayo…mustard on the other side I now butter both. Even on a peanut butter sandwich! Try that combo…its delicious!

    • Penny says:

      I think your dad was absolutely right. I always butter both slices, using room temperature butter spread as thinly as possible RIGHT TO THE EDGE, to prevent soggy sarnies. My mum used to say ‘don’t SPREAD it, just scrape it on and scrape it off’. This way, there’s no unpleasant ‘claggy’ feeling to the bite.
      By the way, did you know there’s now a special sandwich tomato variety, called Intense I think, which has loads of flavour but very little juice? Until I can find or grow some, my cold sandwiches will be ‘properly’ buttered.
      I have to say, though, that I wouldn’t butter a bacon sandwich, unless it was my (in)famous smoked bacon, banana and peanut butter special . . .

  39. Cat says:

    Butter being necessary to a sandwich is in the soul of every Canadian, Only one side is the Canadian version of healthy. My mother would butter the bread if she made a BLT or Tuna Salad. When we were little, she would make butter sandwiches with sprinkled sugar. You are not weird. Californians are weird – no butter ever.

    • Susan says:

      Hey! I remember those sandwiches! Thanks, that’s a childhood memory that had been forgotten. I think our butter is just better and that’s why we like it.

    • Karin Sorensen says:

      holy cow !!! the sugar sammich was part of my childhood too. that was the only treat/sweet i remember getting when i was real small.

  40. Miriam Mc Nally says:

    Butter on both pieces of bread; I didn’t know you could even make a sandwich with only 1 piece buttered!
    If I’m using mayo, I’d still butter both pieces of bread, but then I looove butter!

  41. Renee McNiffe says:

    I’ve never buttered a sandwich in my whole life. I will use mayo, mustard, or ketchup if I’m making a fried egg sandwich. I put whatever spread I am using on both slices of bread.

    • Pam says:

      Hey, I just finished eating an egg sandwich with mayo & mustard (both slices) and a drizzle of ketchup! I always do the egg scrambled not fried. Delish!

  42. Bwright says:

    Mustard, miracle whip, pickle relish maybe horseradish if I am feeling adventurous… no butter unless I am grilling my sandwich. Then it is the outside of both pieces.

  43. dannie says:

    But of course butter… especially on pb&j! I usually butter only one side…if I take it to go, both sides get buttered. It’s not a nice sandwich without butter! You’re not weird!

  44. Nicole says:

    OBVIOUSLY- mustard on the side of the bread touching the meat and mayonaise, salt and pepper on the side touching the tomato.

    Also- how do you know for sure about that whole triathalon thing???

  45. Bridgett Junkin says:

    But it won’t be equal if you don’t do both sides! Butter is a new concept for me. I’m going to try that. I usually do mayo- both sides. Maybe a squirt of brown mustard and/or horseradish sauce.

  46. catt says:

    Oh gosh. I am not a mayo person. I am a mustard person (both sides) or sometimes nothing…just sandwich filling. I think butter makes everything taste better so I can see putting butter on a sandwich. I don’t like the calories so rarely use it but I do love the stuff.

    I don’t think you are weird….the question is: Do you like the way your one-buttered-side sandwiches taste? If yes, carry on. Don’t let the pressure get to you, don’t be bullied. Butter one side and be proud.

  47. Judith says:

    Oh Karen. I love you but I can’t condone such an irresponsible lack of respect for that poor top piece of bread. Sitting there all dry and abandoned, having to face the disappointment and doubtless multiple curse words hurled at it by the person whose mouth now contains a parched, dry hunk of bread with no apparent link to the rest of the sandwich. Repent, woman, repent!!!

  48. Auntiepatch says:

    Grilled cheese with butter. All other sandwiches mayo on insides of top and bottom bread slices with meat, etc. inside. Although, my twin sister ate jelly and butter on all her sandwiches; bacon, jelly and butter, meatloaf, jelly and butter, roast beef, jelly and butter. I don’t know if she still does that. I’ll have to ask her!

  49. Lindy says:

    Morning Karen; well that cheap trick worked. You opened up a can o’ worms and everyone had to pile in and comment. Hmm, a can o’ worms on bread? I’m a strictly mustard on both sides person. Never butter. Never mayo (got e.coli 157 food poisoning from a salad made of mayo and random ‘bits’ in Moscow 22 years ago and have never looked at mayo with a kindly eye since). Maybe you butter on one side only as you know, deep down, that it’s too much. What if someone spread too thickly and you bit down into a layer of buttery goo? Tooth coating, palate clagging goo. A thin layer of hot mustard will give the kick your sandwich needs. Now, sermond over, back to my toast.

  50. JGL says:

    The weird part is that you put butter on a sandwich at all. That’s unnecessary and gross…..unless it’s grilled cheese.

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