SANDWICH STORY

At our home in Richland we rarely ate a sandwich and termed it a meal;  
they were considered snacks or party food.  David and I ate balanced  
portions in the school lunchroom and momma cooked a big meal for noon  
on Saturday.  We usually ate cereal for breakfast and late in the  
afternoon we gathered together for what we still call supper, and  
momma made sure we had a balanced diet that included plenty of  
vegetables.

Today, I enjoy a good sandwich but what we had years ago was two  
slices of bread, some sandwich meat and maybe a piece of cheese  
product (that comes in a wrapper) with mayonnaise and mustard; it was  
cold and flat and had little flavor.  There was tomato soup and  
grilled cheese on occasion and for celebrations momma made pimento  
cheese sandwiches with no crust and divided into small triangle pieces.

The simple sandwich has come a long way since we put a piece of  
bologna or pickle loaf on sliced bread; it sounds humdrum but that is  
my childhood memory of a sandwich.  Now days, a sandwich is an entire  
meal with multiple types of meat, different kinds of cheese, lettuce  
and tomato, perhaps segment of onion; sometimes pieces of vegetables  
and fruit.

Hillel the Elder, a prominent rabbi of the 1st century BC is credited  
with serving the first sandwich at Passover which included chopped  
nuts, apples, herbs and various spices between unleavened bread slices.

Research reveals that it was 1815 before a recipe for a sandwich  
appeared in an American cookbook although sandwiches became popular  
fare in England during the Revolutionary War years.  We have all heard  
the story about the 4th Earl of Sandwich, a legendary gambler and  
British statesman, who requested that the cook send him nourishment to  
the poker game that could be easily consumed.

Legend says that when his card playing cronies began requesting  "the  
same as Sandwich" is when the phrase was coined.

Of course that is the interesting account we remember but actually,  
putting slices of meat between bread slices was observed by the Earl  
on trips to the Mediterranean area countless years before it had the  
name sandwich.

Because of a case that ended up in court in Boston, Massachusetts in  
2006, we now have a specific description of a sandwich, "under this  
definition, this court finds that the term 'sandwich' is not commonly  
understood to include burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, which are  
typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice  
filling of meat, rice, and beans."  The case came about to answer  
whether a restaurant selling burritos could locate in a shopping  
center with a restaurant had a no-compete clause in their lease that  
prohibited other shops that sold sandwiches.  I enjoy legends.

It is an interesting fact that in England and Australia one can only  
refer to an item as a sandwich if the bread is sliced from a loaf;  
otherwise it has to be known as a roll.

 

Brenda S. Brown 

 

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