‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’ is secretly just about eating sandwiches

guy-who-eats-sandwichesI know I am late to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo party. Very late! Everyone read this book already except me! I know. But what I don’t know is, why didn’t anyone tell me this book is actually about eating sandwiches? Yeah, yeah, hunting down serial rapist/murderers is hungry work, but eat a g-d salad, Kalle Blomkvist. There are 18 mentions of sandwiches in this book. In the hardcover version, that’s roughly once every 26 pages. It’s also twice as many mentions as the word “rape,” and this is a book about catching a serial rapist. (There are 92 for coffee, which is twice as many as “murder.”)

He often eats the sandwiches two at a sitting, not unlike Lisbeth, who herself has been known to make “three big open rye-bread sandwiches.” Okay, sure. They even share some stuffed bagels, which are just sandwiches. Sandwiches, you guys. So many sandwiches. Unfortunately, Mikael doesn’t have a signature taste, so I’m kind of screwed when it comes to what to cook up for my Girl With the Dragon Tattoo party.

I’m not against literary sandwich consumption. Who would Harriet the spy be without her tomato sandwiches? (Just a snoop!) Meg Murray without her liverwurst-and-cream-cheese sandwiches? (Just an awesome time-traveler!) Characters have to eat, I guess? Okay, all this sandwich talk is making me feel like Joey Tribbiani. Bring on the sandwich book that springs to mind, PopWatchers!

Comments (82 total) Add your comment
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  • katie

    open face sandwiches are a traditional food in denmark, so I would guess that they’re pretty typical in sweden too.

    • Bob

      Agreed, it is. Sandwiches, especially the open faced ones, are pretty common in Sweden

    • the_payne

      I noticed this as well. It’s the same thing in Twilight. The girl in that book seems to be cooking all the time for her helpless dad and making enchiladas.

      • Balki Bartokomous

        Speaking of Twilight and sandwiches, have you checked out the My Blood Approves series? The new one just came out yesterday, and it’s already #34 on Amazon. I love this series! (Not much sandwich eating though.)

  • Katie

    This is what I said! While reading I kept commenting how everyone was constantly drinking coffee and eating sandwiches. Then my husband started the book and claimed not to notice any of these mentions. “They do nothing BUT drink coffee!” I kept saying. Now I feel a little vindicated.

    • Kacey

      Thank you! I couldn’t believe how much coffee they consumed in these books. I guess I didn’t think so much about the sandwiches, what with all the coffee drinking going on!

      • kaje

        YES I kept saying do they have nothing else to eat or drink but coffee & sandwiches in Sweden?!?!? Wait til you make it to the 2nd & 3rd books … even MORE coffee & sandwiches (with the addition of a few frozen pizzas) …

  • lucia

    If you keep reading, you might end up craving a Billy’s Pan Pizza.

    • Anissa

      Especially in book 2!

    • Raz

      And then you’ll want to furnish a multi-million dollar apartment with Ikea furniture.

      • talkin’

        lol – true!

  • CAS

    I’m also very late to the Girl With the Dragon Tatoo party, and found the constant sandwich-eating to be very entertaining. I don’t remember another book that had as many sandwiches as this one.

  • birgitta Loeser

    Of course in Sweden , Norway and Denmark, we eat a lot of open sandwiches all the time, and we drink coffee at least 3 times a day. And you are always offered coffee and pastries when you visit someone, it’s very rude not to except. this is our traditions.

    • Kim

      No one is saying it’s bad. They are just joking around about some parts of the book.In the U.S we have quite a few authors that do the same thing – mention food a lot, but they will even provide the recipe for the food that was mentioned in that chapter. They aren’t ever in this type of serious book (dragon tattoo). They are in friendlier, low key books.

      • gohabsgo

        diane mott davidson… good one

  • shdrew

    I noticed that too! Glad to know it’s not just me :)

  • RLH

    I thought the same thing!!! Those Swedes love some sandwiches!!!

  • Jen

    Yes, I noticed the sandwiches, too. There’s also a lot of discussion about how much random things cost, the square footage of various spaces and lots of people who are 42 years old.

    • Rebecca

      The use of the number 42 may not be a coincidence as Stieg Larsson was a big science fiction fan.

  • Kat

    I am actually re-reading the entire series and was thinking to myself how odd it was to have such explicit mention of the sandwiches. They were/are a completely unnecessary detail. Maybe there is something to the writing style that is lost in cultural translation?

    • Stormy

      I’m thinking that as Steig Larsson was writing these books, every time he got hungry he wrote a sandwich into the book.

    • BA

      So I’m not the only one to read the series twice! I found it to be just as good, if not better, the second time around.

      • welshgirl

        I noticed the minutae (sp?) too and thought it was part of the translation. I have to say that while Tattoo was a very good stand alone book, I don’t get the hoopla about the other 2. And honestly, Lisbeth Salander is interesting but is not the best new female character as some people are making her out to be. I actually found her quite annoying. I read the whole trilogy and have no desire to read them again.

      • A-K87

        @welsh girl
        Although I live only 15 minutes drive from your country, I wonder what the heck you are on about. What other modern female characters can you think of who are as interesting as Salander?

  • Joan

    I noticed this too! And the coffee! Glad I’m not the only one.

  • arryana

    i’m late to the party too – i haven’t read any of the books…yet. perhaps the sandwich mentions are a homage to another series of books written by the late lawrence sanders featuring the detective, edward x. delaney, who was a sandwich afficionado. his concoctions were mentioned throughout five books!

  • Adam

    Probably the movie will turn the sandwiches into Big Macs or something to get some product placement bucks.

    • J

      McDonald’s gets a lot of product placement from Sue Grafton. Kinsey Millhone lives on Quarter Pounders with Cheese.

      • T

        Those and her famous peanut butter and pickle sandwiches as well. Which I have tasted and are actually quite good. Different but good.

  • Mich

    1st of all you are late in reading the book, you are 2 books overdue. and if all you get out of the book is hunger pains you missed the point of the book. My advice, go fix yourself a snack then get reading before the movie comes out.

    • yo

      mich had a bad day…

    • K

      mich had a bad life…

    • Dav

      Mich needs to stop taking this so seriously.

  • aBc

    Funny, I didn’t notice the sandwiches, but I just finished “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and thought that the characters sure drank A LOT of coffee. I’d love to know how many times coffee is mentioned in the second book.

    • Finie

      Funny. I’m from Seattle and I didn’t even notice the amount of coffee being consumed, and definitely didn’t think it was excessive. :)

  • Jackie

    I am so glad I was not the only one who nopticed the incessant sandwich eating. And all that coffee drinking made me have to pee for them!!! Does anyone know if Billys Pan Pizza is actually a product???

    • karen

      They are real!

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