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Jamie Dornan’s take on a Tayto sandwich involves ham and mayo and we have many, many questions


By Sarah Finnan
15th Mar 2023

@jimmykimmellive

Jamie Dornan’s take on a Tayto sandwich involves ham and mayo and we have many, many questions

Remember when Jamie Dornan tried to school Jimmy Kimmel on Irish culture by teaching him how to make a Tayto smashie?

This time last year, Jamie Dornan was a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live. There to promote the multi-Oscar-nominated movie, Belfast, as well as his limited series, The Tourist, he chatted to the talk show host about everything from Sunset Boulevard to Tayto sambos, though it’s the latter that really got the internet going… 12 months later and we still haven’t forgotten, mostly because his “recipe” seems to go against all sense and reason.

Tasked with showing Kimmell how to make his favourite snack ahead of Paddy’s Day, Dornan revealed that he’d chosen a “Tayto smashie” – the first red flag.

“Ideally you find the cheapest white bread you can find. There used to be a bread back home called ‘Mighty White’ which was like sugary death,” Jamie explains, assembling the sandwich as he goes. “You go heavy on the mayo – both sides – you don’t muck around with light mayonnaise. Then that’s regular ham. The cheaper ham the better. It all comes from the same animal. You go heavy on there. Five or six slices.

“You get Tayto cheese and onion, which is a company in the north of Ireland where I’m from. Their cheese and onion are the best crisps they do. You get the entire packet on there,” he finishes before pushing the two pieces of bread together for that all-important crunch. It’s very important not to cut it, he emphasises before handing the sambo to Jimmy who bites into it and passes it along the assembly line back to Jamie. 

According to Jimmy, “it’s about six times more delicious” than he imagined it would be. 

To be honest, I’m not sure what Dornan made actually constitutes a Tayto sandwich at all though. I mean, he used mayo instead of butter for one. He also added ham? The only thing he got right was the cheap white bread, and Twitter agrees with me as most people have called Dornan out for his take on the classic. The internet also noticed that Dornan used Northern Irish Tayto which differ from Tayto found in the Republic. 

What’s the difference between them? Well, the former are sold in yellow packets as opposed to the traditional red and blue most would associate with the brand. According to an old Irish Times article on the matter: “Southern Taytos” – referred to by Northerners as Free Staytos – are the original (and, according to rock n roll star, Liam Gallagher the best)”. 

Apparently born of an idea by Dubliner Joseph “Spud” Murphy, he was a serial entrepreneur who had already started importing the likes of Ribena cordial and ballpoint pens into Ireland. He started putting out locally-made crisps at a time when they were mostly bought in from the UK and opened the Tayto company in O’Rahilly’s Parade, near Moore Street, in 1954. 

The Irish Times later reports that, together with one of his eight employees, Séamus Burke, Murphy is credited with inventing the now-ubiquitous cheese and onion crisps while working at a kitchen table, experimenting with ideas for flavours. 

Meanwhile, up North, another businessman, Thomas Hutchinson, had also hit upon the popularity of the crisp market and later approached Murphy to do a deal for the rights to the name Tayto and its recipes for outside the Republic. He subsequently set up a Tayto factory at Tandragee Castle and thus Northern Tayto was born. 

So, which is better? We’ll leave that up to you to decide, but it’s clear where Dornan’s loyalties lie.