Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | November 30, 2008


Mother-in-law called it a Dagwood – to me it’s a sign-of-summer sandwich… too much stuff stuffed between two slices of fresh bread.

You can’t choose which bits to leave out so you shove it all in (tomato, ham or chicken, cheese, avocado, egg, lettuce and homemade salad dressing – as opposed to mayonnaise which just isn’t the same) and then try to bite it in one go. Grandad used to wait until we had managed to get our lips together and then would ask us to say “boo”. Of course we couldn’t and Mum would tell us off for the bits of food sprayed over the table from the resulting giggles.

Kinloch was the #1 place for these sandwiches. After a day of swimming in Lake Wakatipu (although North Island-born hubby doesn’t believe it has ever been warm enough in Otago to swim) or walking through native beech forest in places like the Routeburn or Greenstone, we would retire to the old crib (that’s a bach or holiday home for you North Islanders) and proceed to build a mammoth jaw-breaking “Dagwood” sandwich. And in hindsight, having all those things in a camping spot in the middle of nowhere for such a long time must have taken #1 planning (thanks Mum).

Kinloch is the destination of choice for our summer holidays this year. Kinloch is a little haven (haven: remote place too small to be called a town or village boasting only half a dozen cribs, two permanent residences and a lodge) nestled at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu. It’s called the head of the lake with Kingston at the foot and Queenstown at the knees.

it is actually shaped like a lightning bolt so why head, foot and knees? Lake Wakatipu is a sleeping giant. Noone believes Mum when she tells them (she grew up there following the footsteps of her father and grandfather) that the lake rises and falls like its breathing (you can measure this by putting your beers at the edge of the lake and go back half an hour later to see the water level – it does go up and down!)

Piece of useless info: 15,000 years ago during the last ice age, a huge glacier moving from the north west carved out what is now Lake Wakatipu. The lake is relatively thin, but the mountains run straight into the lake, forming a deep canyon, 399m at its deepest point. Lake Wakatipu is the second largest lake in the Southern Lakes District, covering 290 square km. At its widest point Lake Wakatipu is five kilometres wide and the total length is 84km.

Maori legends state that the giant Matau was burnt to death in his sleep after he abducted a chief’s daughter, burning a massive hole in the ground and melting the ice and snow of the surrounding mountains, forming the lake. The lake is a large “S” shape, like a giant, curled up and sleeping on its side. Matau’s head rested at Glenorchy, at the north of the lake (to which we Kinlochers all say is rubbish because Kinloch is the head of the lake) and his feet south in Kingston. Queenstown sits on Matau’s knee.

One of Wakatipu’s mysteries is the rise and fall of the lake by about 12cm (5″) every five minutes. Legend states that a Giant’s heart is impossible to destroy, and causes this rise and fall, while science says it is due to fluctuating atmospheric pressures. But across the lake from the town below Cecil Peak is a little island visible only from up close, from above, or from a different angle. Some say Hidden Island is the still beating heart of the Giant Matua…

Thanks to

And for the record, thanks to Google and Wikipedia, a Dagwood sandwich is a thick, multi-layered sandwich made up of a wide variety of meats, cheeses and condiments. It was named after Dagwood Bumstead, a character in the comic strip Blondie, who frequently makes enormous sandwiches.

Being scared of following in the alleged-plagarist footsteps of a certain NZ journalist recently, I am now admitting to not really being as knowledgeable as I appear. Google and Wikipedia are on my most-used pages list!



  1. Thanks for the yummy memories. We ate those Dagwoods too (named after the cartoon character in the ODT) – ours always had cold mutton.

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