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
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
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
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.