A Brief History of the Sandwich

Hello Fans of Sandwiches, i.e., EVERYBODY,

Here, for your reading pleasure, is this history of the noble sandwich, cribbed entirely from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandwich.

Like all good things in life, the sandwich was invented by the Jews! (Her Eminence is herself a Jew so it is okay for me to take credit for all of sandwichdom). During Passover, a wise elder Jew had the good sense to put some lamb meat in between two Matzohs “in the manner of a modern sandwich made with flatbread.”  This was obviously totally delicious as well as being portable when one is wandering through the desert for 40 years, and the World’s Most Finest Convenience Food was born.

Then we skip a significant period of time to end up in the Middle Ages, a rough-and-tumble historical era ably captured by Monty Python movies.  There is not much going for the Middle Ages except for the fact that they TOTALLY HAD SANDWICHES, YOU GUYS.  The Middle Agers would use stale bread called “trenchers” as plates.  “Trenchers were the precursors of open-faced sandwiches.” Thanks, Wikipedia! [note from the vicomtesse: oh my god you guys I am so excited for open-faced sandwiches now {subnote: I was already excited}]

However, the most direct precursor to the modern sandwich comes to us from the clever Dutch, who would hang beef from the rafters of their taverns (as you do) and take slices from the rafter-beef and lay those slices on buttered bread.

Sad Fact: For a time, the sandwich was both sexist and degenerate as it was shared by men while gambling.  However, a secret that good is not going to stay a secret forever, and eventually sandwiches became accepted by the aristocracy as a viable food-source (but only as a late night meal.  Aristocratic Sandwiches…the Original Fourth Meal (TM)).

Once adopted by the rich, the humble sandwich experienced a meteoric rise throughout the rest of Western Europe and eventually  the United States.

Her Eminence is realizing as she writes this that Wikipedia’s History of the Sandwich is awfully Eurocentric (apart from the brief reference to the Jews (yay!)).  I therefore promise you, fellow sandwich-worshippers, that I will try to find a more representative history of the sandwich to share with you all at some other point when her eminence is not at work.


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