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November 3: celebrate Sandwich Day and its history!

3 min read

Originally written on November 3, 2021. Updated 2023

Never underestimate the power of a good sandwich.
There is certainly something special about your favorite topping piled high between two slices of bread.
A classic ham and cheese? Yes, please.
Mayonnaise? Of course!
Slices of pickles? Bacon on just about anything? French Fries? Yes too…and don’t look so suspicious, as french fries or potato chip sandwiches are really delicious!

There is a commonly known story about the history of the word “Sandwich”, and it’s attributed to a man named John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, a city in the shire of Kent in England.
Originally the word was spelled “Sondwic’”, and then “Sandwic” and, eventually in the year 1086 as “Sandwice”. Interestingly, the name of the town came from its purpose and its claim to fame because it was a market town.
So what does Sandwich actually mean?
The exact definition is “Market Town on Sandy Soil”, and John Montagu was the fourth Earl of this particular little English town.
Well…an earl was a royal title that essentially means “chieftain”, which placed the person in charge of a territory in the King’s place.
Our John was a well-known lover of card games, and It is said that he originally ordered his meat to be delivered to him between two slices of bread so that he would not get his grease-laden fingers on the card, nor require a fork to eat.
Absolutely a genius!
As locals heard of this, they started ordering their food something like “The Same as Sandwich”, and eventually just “a sandwich”.
From this, legendary way to eat something, our popular treats are born.

Even though some historians claim that the first mention of a “sandwich” in records was from the journal of Edward Gibbon, an English Member of Parliament in the 18th century, it’s likely that the existence of the sandwich goes back much further.
Basically, the sandwich could be around since humans have been eating bread.
In fact, some historians take it back as far as the first century BC, when Jewish Rabbi Hillel the Elder was known to put lamb, herbs and nuts between two pieces of bread.
But, today, it isn’t called a “Hillel” after the rabbi, as It’s called a “sandwich”, after the earl who came around several hundred years later.
Similarly, some Ancient Roman texts indicate that people have been putting cheese on bread and heating it up for as long as 2000 years.

In any case, Sandwich Day celebrates both the Earl himself, after whom this food was named, as well as the culinary wonder that we now know (and enjoy) still today.
Of course, celebrate Sandwich Day is easy, and It can be done in a variety of ways, most of which should, of course, include at least the eating of (if not the making of) a sandwich.
It is also the best time to create something new, and no matter who invented it, as today we celebrate every kind of sandwich.

Images from web – Google Research

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