An Ode to the Sandwich

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.

John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich.

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.

Happy Winston Churchill Day!

April 9th is Winston Churchill Day, an annual celebration of the great Brit and his becoming a US citizen. The man who led us to victory in World War II, his unshakeable resolve and stiff upper lip has come to represent a great deal about what it is to be British.

An immense public speaker, he was as well-known for his sharp wit as his profound intelligence and became famed for his quotes. To show our love, in no particular order, here are our favorite words of wisdom from the great man.

8. Nancy Astor: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.” Churchill: “If I were your husband I would take it.”

7. A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

6. Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.

5. If you are going to go through hell, keep going.

4. You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

3. I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
2. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
1. Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.” Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

The Brits invented Apple Pie!

We love Momma’s ol’ fashioned, home-baked, US apple pie as much as the next person, but we couldn’t keep this to ourselves. While digging around for some British baking inspiration, we came across a revelatory discovery: the Brits invented apple pie! It turns out the first reference to the irresistible combination of sugared pastry and apples was by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1381:

Chaucer was a poet in the Middle Ages, better known for his somewhat salacious accounts of British life, but it seems he was also a dab hand in the kitchen.

We don’t mean to gloat (we realise we’re in the minority here) and to claim apple pie as our own would be madness: it is more American than a cowboy in a KFC. Rather, we see this as a celebration of our shared history and culture. Brits and Americans after all are cousins, and it makes sense that we have the same good taste, whether it be for apple pie, or Shepherd’s!

Could you make room for a Union Jack in there?

Now, who remembers the controversy we caused with the baseball allegations?