The Cartoonish Origins Of The Dagwood Sandwich

When you're really, really hungry, no ordinary sub, hero, grinder, or hoagie will do. Instead, it's time for a legendary Dagwood sandwich. While many are familiar with the comically sized creation, they may not know its comically linked origins.

The name of the Dagwood sandwich refers to Dagwood Bumstead from the retro comic strip "Blondie." Dagwood is the husband of the titular character, often described as a hardworking and lovable but also bumbling family man. Since the strip's debut in the 1930s, he's also been known for his love of the sky-high sandwiches that now bear his name.

In the strip, Dagwood's eponymous sandwich varies slightly each time but is always based on a mixture of cold cuts, cheese, vegetables, and condiments, sometimes supplemented with more unusual fillings like fried eggs, spaghetti, sausages, whole fish, and more – all topped with an olive on a toothpick.

Real-life versions of the sandwich quickly emerged as the comic grew more popular, attempting to replicate the overstuffed delight. While actual versions of the Dagwood don't always measure up to the mouthwatering appearance of the drawn version, those making them at home have the freedom to include anything their heart desires, creating a sandwich as unique as it is delicious.

Not part of the club

For some, the concept of the Dagwood sandwich may remind them of another tall, layered meal, the club sandwich. However, a critical difference between the two lies in the more defined structure of the club, which almost universally consists of just two layers of filling (generally turkey or chicken, bacon, lettuce, and tomato) separated by a piece of bread. Dagwoods, on the other hand, are a more freewheeling, haphazard affair, not to mention a great opportunity to clean out leftovers from the fridge.

Some also see Dagwood's influence in another food-loving cartoon character, Shaggy of "Scooby-Doo,"  who is also often seen eating implausibly overstuffed sandwiches on the gang's adventures.

There's no denying Dagwoods can be delicious, but sandwich makers should also be careful to avoid overstuffing their creations, at the risk of ruining the flavor combinations or assembling something too large to easily eat. Still, if a Dagwood doesn't seem right for your appetite, you can check out these sandwiches you'll want to make every day of the week.