The Earth Sandwich: A Fun Geographical Experiment

‘What on earth is an ‘Earth Sandwich’?’ you might very well ask.

Read on to discover how this innovative take on the humble sandwich had the power to transcend 20,000 km, a language barrier and a 12-hour time difference, bringing together total strangers from across the globe with the common aim of creating a previously unheard-of fun and innovative culinary concept.

In 2006, American online performance artist, musician, comedian, public speaker, science communicator, and daily video blogger Hosea Jan “Ze” Frank issued a challenge to viewers of his web video show – ‘The Show with Zefrank’ – to create the world’s first earth sandwich. The concept was essentially a ginormous butty comprising two pieces of bread placed on the ground at points directly opposite each other on the globe, with planet Earth layered in between to constitute the filling (all 12,724 km of it). 

Ze Frank created an interactive map where people could discover their exact opposite location anywhere on Earth to give his ‘sportsracers’ a starting point. One of the problems that this threw up was, as our planet’s surface is around 71% water, your antipodal point was highly likely to be in the middle of the ocean – as is the case for the UK and pretty much most of America. His brainchild was brought to life by brothers Jon and Duncan Rawlinson, who travelled from London to the necessary geographical location in Spain, and Morgan in New Zealand at the exact opposite site, who simultaneously placed matching baguettes on the ground, thus orchestrating the very first earth sandwich

Following on from this, in 2020, New Zealander Etienne Naude realised his own long-time dream of making an earth sandwich after posting on the online forum Reddit asking for someone in or near Malaga, Spain who would be willing to help him. Naude used the longitude and latitude tool ‘tunnel to the other side of the earth’ to find the coordinates of his exact opposite location before connecting with a total stranger, Chef Angel Sierra. Despite not having previously heard of an earth sandwich, Sierra was keen to collaborate, demonstrating how people can work together across the globe to fulfil a common endeavour.

After two months of careful planning and a failed first attempt, the pair overcame the obstacles to finally make their sandwich, pinpointing the exact locations on Google Maps. Naude travelled a few hundred metres to his pre-arranged location at Bucklands Beach in Auckland, whilst Sierra had slightly further to go – 6.8 miles – to ensure he was at the right spot, geographically directly opposite his counterpart. Both men used sliced white bread, with Naude designing an earth sandwich motif, which he transferred onto his bread with a laser cutter, and Sierra placing nine slices on the ground as a failsafe just in case their measurements were slightly off. The triumphant pair shared images and coordinates on Reddit alongside the caption: “We made an earth sandwich! (bread on exact opposite points of the globe, facing the same way at the same time and the same kind of bread.)”

You can discover your own exact opposite location on the Antipodes Map by entering your address, postcode, or geographical coordinates on the left-hand map; the latitude and longitude of your antipodal point will then be displayed on the right-hand map. All you need now is a willing volunteer in that location to partner up with and you can crack on with creating your very own global sandwich-making feat!