Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Origin of Sandwich

The sandwich, which is most popular with world-wide eaters, functions as a noun or a verb. Besides the more obvious occupation of being something edible between two or more slices of bread, metaphorically speaking, it also likes to squeeze in between two other people, places, things, materials, etc. For example, "he is willing to sandwich in an appointment between two other meetings" or "her car was sandwiched between two other cars in the parking lot". 

The word sandwich that we use today was born in London during the very late hours one night in 1762 when an English nobleman, John Montagu (1718-1792), the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was too busy gambling to stop for a meal even though he was hungry. The legend goes that he ordered a waiter to bring him roast-beef between two slices of bread. The Earl was able to continue his gambling while eating his snack; and from that incident, we have inherited that quick-food product that we now know as the sandwich. He apparently had the meat put on slices of bread so he would not get his fingers greasy while he was playing cards. Now I wonder why it has not been called "montagu" instead. Imagine "Cheesy Chicken Montagu" and "I have my diary montagued between the two books". 

Perhaps people of that time just love to name their food based on a place or town. Several other food also has their names derived from places. Contrary to some people's belief, burger does not originate from England. "Burger" or "hamburger" (as it is originally called), originates from Hamburg, Germany. "Frankfurter" originates from Frankfurt, Germany. Also called "wiener" which means the people of Vienna (Wien), Austria. 

Apparently, the First Earl of Sandwich, Edward Montagu, originally intended to take the title of the Earl of Portsmouth. A sandwich could just as easily have been called a “portsmouth” if he had not changed his mind. "I'm thinking of making some tuna portsmouth for breakfast". Well, why not?


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