Last week’s British Sandwich Awards have got our mind firmly between two slices of bread, so today we’ve penned an ode to this humble treat and its many incarnations. From po-boys to paninis, burgers to baguettes, and wraps to rolls; if you put it between bread, it counts. Most cultures in the world have something that fits into this category. And almost all of them are delicious.
As with so much else, we are proud to take credit for the invention of the sandwich, but just as happy to admit that you guys have taken it to whole other levels. The burger is a phenomenon: a symbol, and object of national identity; while if it’s quantity you’re after, a deli wrap beats a finger sandwich any day.
Simplicity is the sandwich’s key ingredient. As such, examples can be found throughout history. But the quintessential British form – in all its dainty deliciousness – originated in the late 17th century, taking its name a hundred years later from John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. After he ordered a dish of meat tucked between two pieces of bread, others began to order “the same as Sandwich“, and his place in culinary history was sealed.
Just as the American burger is eaten by all, the British sandwich is a most democratic meal. Whether two slices of supermarket bread containing wafer thin ham, or a hunk of home baked artisan loaf encasing slabs of hand-reared boar from the estate, every Brit (pauper and gent alike) will at some point partake in the glorious pleasure of the sandwich.