Each day, half of America eats one or more cakes, mostly for lunch. That computes into 300 million a day. They’re simple, they’re filling, no muss, no fuss. And you do not even have to know how to cook. The varieties are endless, so where do we start?
The British first referred to “pieces of meat” as a “sandwich,” named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, who was an eighteenth-century aristocrat. Legend has it that he instructed his servant to bring him some meat between two pieces of bread while he was playing cards with his cronies. Apparently, Melbourne Opossum Removal he could play uninterrupted, since the bread acted as a napkin (instead of his sleeve) and retained the card table tidy. His cronies caught on and followed his lead. What was in them we’ll never know, but what a start (the Earl will never understand).
Let us check out these favorites:
1) Elvis immortalized the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, although there is not a big call for the.
2) Dagwood, named after comic strip Blondie’s husband, stacks up fillings and bread, impossible to eat except in segments, but somehow Dagwood Bumstead managed.
3) The French originated this sinful sandwich in a Parisian cafe in 1910; there’s not any one called Monte Cristo but simply a French term (Croque Monsieur) to describe a fried sandwich of ham and cheese, not on any weight loss program to be sure.
4) Sloppy Joe: kids grew up on those tangy and messy sandwiches. Its origin dates back to the 1930s and was made by a short order cook named Joe in Sioux City, Iowa. Originally called a “loose meat sandwich” it seems Joe added tomato sauce that cranked it up a notch; as its popularity grew, Joe wanted to get credit and renamed it after himself. People in Key West Florida insist it was dreamed up at a neighborhood bar called Sloppy Joe’s. Some historians wish to give Cuba the credit, but let’s just give it to Iowa, okay?
5) Submarine: sub sandwich shops seem to multiply daily with no end in sight; also known as hoagies, grinders or heroes at the U.S. with plenty of fillings, they arrive in foot long and smaller sizes, ideal for Sunday afternoon TV sports or a fast lunch.
6) Club: the grande dame of sandwiches. Historians track its production to the Saratoga Club House, an exclusive gambling joint in Saratoga Springs, New York. Since its inception in 1894, the standard ingredients haven’t changed: toasted bread, lettuce, tomato, sliced turkey or chicken, bacon,and mayonnaise, and do not forget the toothpicks. The BLT is a first cousin to its predecessor, with no turkey/chicken or third slice of toast. Its only controversy is that the turkey/chicken debate. (World-class chef James Beard insists on chicken.)
7) If you’re a New Orleans resident, the sandwich of choice is the Muffuletta, whose popularity is claimed from the Central Grocery where it got its start. A large round loaf of Sicilian sesame bread is loaded with Italian sliced meats and a spicy Creole olive salad. (If you do not live in New Orleans, you are on your own.)
8) Peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese, both beloved no-brainers.
9) Reubens and pastrami or corned beef on rye take top billing at any self-respecting deli, particularly Jewish. Slather on some mustard, add a few Kosher dill pickles and you are in business.
10) People Louisiana folk sure love their originals. The Po’ Boy is basically a sub full of meat or fried fish, similar to the Northeast’s lobster roll.
11) Oh boy, don’t ask anyone from Philadelphia about Philly cheesesteaks, because they are fanatical about them. Be ready for a long-winded response. The same goes for Chicago’s most popular sandwich, the Italian Beef: Italian bread loaded with thinly sliced beef, topped with peppers and dripping with jus, hold the cheese; all-American French dip (in spite of its title) is a take-off, but rather bland by comparison.
12) Can’t leave out those wonderful “bound” fillings: egg salad, ham salad, chicken salad and tuna salad; we corner the market on those, if they’re daintily served at parties and teas or just a big old scoop on whole wheat.
12) Pita sandwiches crammed full of turkey, cheese, avocado, hummus or falafel; a trendy cultural take on the basics.
13) Hamburgers and chicken fast food sandwiches are a whole other subject.
Sandwich earnings from the U.S. topped $27.7 billion and that’s not counting the sandwiches made at home. Apparently, the U.S. is only one country that enjoys their sandwiches. In 2017, the pre-made sandwich industry in the UK sold and made 11 billion in U.S. dollars, and that’s not counting freshly made.
We are not even going to begin on sandwich cookies (Oreos) and ice cream sandwiches. So many sandwiches, so little time.