What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell Us

How to build a sandwich from the ground up

Kai Ryssdal Sep 30, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

How to build a sandwich from the ground up

Kai Ryssdal Sep 30, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

You can find videos about pretty much anything on YouTube. As of today, there’s also even a buy button of sorts. But the other day we saw a video that definitely didn’t want to sell something.

Andy George hosts the webseries “How to Make Everything” — that is, how to make everyday objects from scratch. The first episode follows his journey to make a chicken sandwich. The whole process took a staggering six months and $1,500.

Our first big question was “Why?”

Kinda just started out as a curiosity of what actually goes into the food we eat, how much work would it actually be to make something entirely from scratch, how much would it actually cost, and how would it taste.

George took us through some of the steps he had to go through:

The first thing I had to do was plant my garden. Planted all my vegetables including wheat. I had to care for that for six months, and I also milked a cow to get milk to make cheese and butter. I had to go to the ocean and get salt water and boil it down to make salt.

So about that tally: six months and $1,500. George calculated that by tracking his labor — nearly 200 hours — and adding the cost of that labor at minimum wage to his personal expenses, which were about $500.

After all that, what’d he learn?

Just how complicated our society is. That something that seems so simple takes a lot of work, and there’s just countless people involved that we really just take for granted.

He’s also made bottles, tools and a root beer float to go with his sandwich. What’s next for his series? 

My big lofty goal I’d really like to do is to make a house all the way from scratch. Like, make my own fiberglass, cut down my own trees to make the lumber and just every step to make that. I think that’d be pretty cool.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.