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Sandwich

SANDWICH

SANDWICH. The bread-enclosed convenience food known as the "sandwich" is attributed to John Montagu, fourth earl of Sandwich (17181792), a British statesman and notorious profligate and gambler, who is said to be the inventor of this type of food so that he would not have to leave his gaming table to take supper. In fact, Montagu was not the inventor of the sandwich; rather, during his excursions in the Eastern Mediterranean, he saw filled pita breads and small canapés and sandwiches served by the Greeks and Turks during their mezes, and copied the concept for its obvious convenience. There is no doubt, however, that the Earl of Sandwich made this type of light repast popular among England's gentry, and in this way, his title has been associated with the sandwich ever since. The concept is supremely simple: delicate finger food is served between two slices of bread in a culinary practice of ancient origins among the Greeks and other Mediterranean peoples.

Literary references to sandwiches begin to appear in English during the 1760s, not only in connection with their presumed Englishness, but also under the assumption that they are a food consumed primarily by the masculine sex during late night drinking parties. This connotation does not change until the sandwich moves into general society as a supper food for late night balls and similar events toward the end of the eighteenth century.

That sandwich, the creation of caterers, is amply described by Louis Eustache Ude, an illustrious cook who finished his career as chef de cuisine of the Crockford Club in London, in his French Cook (1818). Ude took particular care to outline a proper supper and the critical execution of the superior sorts of English sandwich that originally gave the food its high status. He explained that bread for sandwiches filled with salads must be specially baked in molds so that the texture is dense, though the crust not dry, to avoid sogginess once the sandwiches are stacked on a silver tray, as they should not bend when held in the hand. Breads for other sandwiches should be baked long and round like a tube so that the slices are even and thus fit neatly together without lumpiness or air spaces between. Furthermore, all crusts on sandwich breads should be rasped so that they acquire the texture of chamois. His sandwiches for two or three hundred persons included fillet of guinea fowl with cold béchamel sauce ("make them towards nine o'clock to serve up at twelve"), fillet of pheasant poached in a fumet, fillet of sole à la Ravigotte, salad sandwiches made of small lettuces and cresses ("cut the salad off which protrudes . . . observe much neatness in the preparing of these sandwiches and do not confide them to any of the kitchen maids.") And finally, anchovy sandwiches: "the pieces of anchovy should not touch each other, as they might then be too salt, unless when eaten to assist wine drinking."

Charlotte Mason was one of the first English cookbook authors to provide a recipe for sandwiches, which she published quite appropriately along side other supper dishes like Welsh rarebit and salmagundi (an elaborate ornamental salad): "Put some very thin slices of beef between thin slices of bread and butter; cut the ends off neatly, lay them in a dish. Veal and ham cut thin may be served in the same manner." Her homey recipe is quite different from the sort of grand fare sent up by the likes of Ude, but far more typical of what happened to the sandwich in the hands of Victorian home cooks.

During the nineteenth century, as midday dinner moved later and later into the day, the need for a hot supper declined, only to be replaced with light dishes made of cold leftovers, ingredients for which the sandwich proved preeminently suitable. Thus the sandwich became a fixture of intimate evening suppers, teas, and picnics, and popular fare for taverns and inns. This latter genre of sandwich has given rise to multitudes of working class creations, such as the butty and sarny of Britain, and the bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwich of the American diner. In the home, however, for such meals as English high tea, or the late-night Quaker "tea" parties of nineteenth-century Philadelphia, sandwiches were not usually premade, but rather, sliced bread was provided, enabling diners to assemble a sandwich from the various tidbits laid out for the meal.

Cookbook author Eliza Leslie was one of the earliest American writers to publish sandwich recipes in the United States. Her Directions for Cookery (1837) contained a recipe for what has become a ubiquitous American institution: the ham sandwich. Her sandwich consisted of thinly sliced bread spread with butter and mustard (French mustard flavored with tarragon), and sliced or finely chopped ham, with no other embellishments. "You may either roll them up, or lay them flat on plates. They are used at supper, or at luncheon." The fact that they needed explanation at all may be taken as a sign of their uncommonness outside of urban centers, since the sandwich of the 1830s was still more or less a creature of upper-class cookery; Leslie's use of French mustard gives further evidence of that fact.

During the early years of the railroad, sandwiches proved an ideal form of fast food, especially since they could be sold at train stations when everyone got off to buy snacks. With the appearance of the dining car, the sandwich became a travel-related institution, and it remains so as the typical meal served as lunch on airplanes. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the sandwich came into its own, especially as a response to the Temperance Movement. Taverns and saloons offered free sandwiches with drinks in order to attract customers, which led to the development of many distinctive sandwiches that have endured. In the United States, these include the club sandwich, a multi-layered affair designed to combine two or three types of sandwich into one, a meal in itself, which earned its name through its popularity with businessmen in private dining clubs.

Among working-class men, the submarine loaf became a popular vehicle for hearty sandwiches made with various fillings. This long, narrow Viennese loaf first appeared in the early 1880s as a marketing gimmick in connection with the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "H. M. S. Pinafore," which features a ditty with sexual innuendos about submarines. The sandwiches made with this type of bread bear different names in different parts of the country: subs, grinders, poor boys, torpedoes, and hoagies, all featuring very localized types of ingredients. For example, the Philadelphia hoagie (derived from "hokeypokey man," the sandwich vendor), contains the essentials of a southern Italian antipasto, including cold cuts, Italian cheeses, peppers, olive oil, and oregano. New England gave birth to the lobster roll: cold, cooked lobster served with mayonnaise in a small toasted submarine loaf (which evolved into hot dog rolls). A hot counterpart to this, the so-called beefsteak sandwich, was first popular in the nineteenth century as fried chipped beef and onions served over toast. Once married to the submarine loaf, it further evolved with the addition of cheese and various hot pepper sauces.

Luncheonettes of the 1920s served grilled cheese sandwiches and the Cuban sandwich, which resembles a hoagie pressed between two hot irons so that it is slightly flattened and hot when eaten. In spite of its association with Havana, this sandwich was created in New York and New Jersey. The most famous of the American hot sandwiches, however, is the Reuben, which was introduced at Reuben's Restaurant in New York City (there was also a branch in Miami, Florida). The restaurant was essentially a Jewish-owned sandwich shop that offered a wide range of creations named after famous personalities of the 1930s and 1940s: Danny Kaye, Hedda Hopper, Judy Garland, Ozzie Nelson, to name just a few. The Reuben Special, the hot grilled sandwich of fame, contained turkey, Virginia ham, Swiss cheese, cole slaw, and Russian salad dressing. The substitution of pastrami and sauerkraut came later, as a courtesy to kosher Jewish customers, who could not eat ham or a mixture of meat and cheese. Reuben also sold steak sandwiches for $2.00 (the most expensive sandwich on the menu), a specialty called Chicken Reubenola, and hamburgers on a roll.

The hamburger, at one time simply a meat patty eaten with bread and gravy, has, in the hands of McDonalds and similar global food chains, become the ultimate industrialized food eaten throughout the world, as well as a dubious symbol of American culture in far-off places. While the Earl of Sandwich might not recognize his finger food thus transmogrified and chef Ude might be appalled by the sloppiness of its presentation, neither could find fault with the hamburger's convenience or its cross-gender, cross-cultural, cross-generational appeal.

See also Bread ; Fast Food ; Hamburger ; Leslie, Eliza ; Lunch ; Picnic ; Take-out Food .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Battiscombe, Georgina. English Picnics. London: Country Book Club, 1951.

Leslie, Eliza. Miss Leslie's Directions for Cooking: An Unabridged Reprint of the 1851 Classic. Mineola, N.Y.: Dover, 1999.

Mason, Charlotte. The Lady's Assistant for Regulating and Supplying the Table . . . London: J. Walter, 1773.

Montagu, John, fourth earl of Sandwich. A voyage performed by the late Earl of Sandwich round the Mediterranean in the years 1738 and 1739. London: Printed for T. Cadell Jr. and W. Davies, 1799.

Ude, Louis Eustache. The French Cook. London: John Ebers, 1818.

Wilson, C. Anne. Luncheon, Nuncheon, and Other Meals: Eating with the Victorians. Seventh Symposium on Food History. Dover, N.H.: Alan Sutton, 1994.

William Woys Weaver

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sandwich

sand·wich / ˈsanˌ(d)wich/ • n. an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal: a ham sandwich. ∎  something that is constructed like or has the form of a sandwich. • v. [tr.] (usu. be sandwiched between) insert or squeeze (someone or something) between two other people or things, typically in a restricted space or so as to be uncomfortable: the girl was sandwiched between two burly men in the back of the car.

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"sandwich." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"sandwich." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved October 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sandwich-1

sandwich

sandwich Two slices of bread enclosing a filling (meat, cheese, fish, etc.). Invention attributed to the 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718–1792) who spent long periods at the gaming table and carried a portable meal of beef sandwiched with bread.

Decker sandwiches consist of several layers of bread, each separated by filling; Neapolitan sandwiches are decker sandwiches made with alternating slices of white and brown bread. Open sandwiches (smørrebrød) consist of a single slice of bread, biscuit, or small roll.

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"sandwich." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"sandwich." A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition. . Retrieved October 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sandwich

sandwich (food)

sandwich, a piece of meat or other food placed between two slices of bread. Although food in this form has long been used, the term sandwich originated in the 18th cent. It is named for John Montagu, the 4th earl of Sandwich, an inveterate gambler who ate informally at the gaming table rather than stopping for the set meal.

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"sandwich (food)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"sandwich (food)." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved October 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sandwich-food

sandwich

sandwich article of food consisting of two slices of bread with meat, etc. between them. XVIII. f. name of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718–1792), for whom it was said to have been invented so that he might not leave the gaming-table.

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"sandwich." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 23 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"sandwich." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved October 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sandwich-2