It’s no surprise that we love good food (who doesn’t?), but we have a soft spot for sandwiches in particular. Thanks to the simplicity and versatility of sandwiches, the possibilities are endless. In fact, Americans eat more than 300 million sandwiches a day.
With National Sandwich Day approaching (November 3), we wanted to take the time to share a little history about our favorite food.
The sandwich‘s roots date back to 1762 in England, where John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, asked the house cook to bring him something he could eat without getting up from his seat. His seat was often at a card table, as he had a significant gambling problem. However, thanks to his problem, the sandwich was born.
While this is how the sandwich grew in popularity, it is likely that John Montagu gained inspiration for putting meats and other ingredients between bread in the Mediterranean. He travelled there and found that Turkish and Greek mezze platters were served with dips, cheeses, and meats, which were often “sandwiched” between and on layers of bread.
Months after the sandwich began its rise, Edward Gibbon mentioned the sandwich by name in a diary entry. He wrote that he had seen “twenty or thirty of the first men of the kingdom” in a restaurant eating sandwiches. While the sandwich was well established in England, a sandwich recipe did not appear in an American cookbook until 1815.
This was likely due to the fact that American cooks avoided culinary trends from England. The name “sandwich” comes from the British peerage system (which most Americans wanted to forget). Once the sandwich made its way to the U.S., the most popular version featured tongue. This is a perfect example of how the sandwich can be interpreted and created in many different ways.
For example, the Po’ Boy was born in New Orleans during the Great Depression. Two brothers, who were once streetcar workers, owned a sandwich shop. During a streetcar worker strike, they were feeding workers for free. When a hungry striker walked in, the clerks would yell, “Here comes another po’ boy” and the name stuck.
Another classic is the Sloppy Joe, which likely elicits memories of school cafeteria lunches. Around the same time the Po’Boy was created, a short order diner cook named Joe (go figure) developed the Sloppy Joe.
And then there’s the Reuben. Made of corned beef, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut, the sandwich was actually born in Omaha, Nebraska. It was named after one of the participants in a weekly poker game that took place in a hotel, and it was soon added to the menu. Down the line, it won a nationwide recipe contest, and the rest is history.
Pick up your favorite signature sandwich at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli today! Order online or dine with us in store. We are open weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays from 10:30am-4:30pm.