Sandwich Mondays

Sandwich Monday: The Sandwich That May Or May Not Have Started It All

Photos of the Earl of Sandwich and Rachel from Friends

Earl of Sandwich, inventor of "The Sandwich." Rachel from Friends, inventor of "The Rachel." Composite by Ian hide caption

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There's some debate over the origins of the modern sandwich, but the best known story is this: in the 1760's, John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich, didn't want to leave the poker table, so he had somebody bring him some meat between two slices of toast. It caught on, and everybody called it "The Sandwich" after the guy who came up with it. We recreated the original sandwich the way Montagu would have had his: salt beef* on toast, nothing else.

Mike: Before the sandwich was invented, how did people eat peanut butter and jelly?

Ian: Oh man. Back then, grilled cheese resulted in a lot of serious burns.

The Earl of Sandwich Sandwich
NPR

Mike: What game did they play that he couldn't get up from? It wouldn't have been Texas Hold 'em.

Ian: No, at that time it was Mexico Hold 'em.

Lorna eats the sandwich.

Lorna takes a bite out of history. NPR hide caption

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Lorna: The Earl of Sandwich was the guy who sent Captain Cook on his way. Cook, and Sandwich. Weird.

Ian: Yeah, everybody had food names at that time. We all remember the Duke of GoGurt.

Mike: Nobody ever talks about the Earl of Salad, who first put together vegetables and Bacos.

Robert eats the sandwich

The Earl of Mustache enjoys the Earl of Sandwich sandwich. NPR hide caption

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Mike: What if the Earl of Sandwich had requested something else?

Peter: Yes, if he had been like, "bring me some dough, topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese," or, "bring me a pouch filled with cookies, totaling no more than 100 calories," we'd call that a "sandwich."

The sandwich, within.
NPR

Eva: Any other foods invented while gambling?

Ian: Chips.

Peter: How do you think the Earl of Sandwich would feel, if he came back to life and found this was what he was known for?

Eva: He'd be fine. His creation outlasted the British colonial empire.

[The verdict: a pretty delicious sandwich, but without any condiments, it was a little dry. Robert said it could use some mustard, or spotted dick. Then Peter accused Robert of not knowing what spotted dick was. Anyway, good sandwich—just get good salt beef and bread that's fresher than what the Earl of Sandwich would have had.]

*"Salt beef" is the British term for corned beef, the way they say "biscuit" for "cookie," or "zimmer frame" for "walker."

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