Allegedly the sandwich was invented by the John Montagu, better known as the 4th Earl of Sandwich. This is a little bit like saying the Spanish “invented” America but let’s go with myth before we explore the truth. There are two versions of the “invention of the sandwich” myth; the first being that his Lordship was a very busy man dedicated to the numerous irons he had in numerous fires. His career involved commitments to the navy, the arts and politics. Unable to find time to spend hours at lunch he simply came up with the idea of putting lunch between some slices of bread. The alternative version is that the Earl was equally committed to gambling and didn’t like to leave the gaming tables during an all-nighter. Either way the ingredients included two slices of bread, meat and a servant or two. Of course, the fact that this handy snack was pioneered by an Earl hides the reality that food scooped up or wrapped in various types of bread has been part of nearly every culture that’s ever existed. The original convenience food the “sandwich” had circumnavigated the globe long before anyone worked out that the latter was round. Here are some favourite varieties.
How come this sandwich is so good? It’s so simple, but perhaps that’s the trick with sandwiches? Simple, delicious and downright tasty. Toasted it’s even better and of course, loads of mayo is a must, but it’s got to be one of the quickest and easiest to make. It even works with the bacon cold? How is this possible?
For slimmers the chip butty is a no, no. Yet they are a hard to resist no, no. Possibly responsible for sounding the death knell to more diets than any other British food, the chip butty is not so much a sandwich as a necessary part of life. Possibly this one should be included in those new-fangled citizenship ceremonies. It may come as a surprise to learn for many of us that the chip butty is one part of British culture that many overseas visitors can’t wait to sample. I’m a fan, but I wouldn’t cross the globe to try out some fried carbohydrates stuffed in between more carbohydrates.
Or Would I?
OK, maybe I would, because I have to admit the Japanese ‘version’ sounds rather tasty. The Yakisoba sandwich features the obligatory bread but is filled with deep fried noodles. A tasty sauce is liberally sprinkled all over the noodles and although the noodles make it look a bit like a spaghetti sandwich, the chip butty principle underlies the idea.
This is an absolute classic and a classy one at that. Trust the French to try and show us up with their lightly toasted, cheesy, ham concoctions. I’d like to say something negative about this, in the interests of centuries of cultural warfare, but I can’t. They’re delicious, simple and easy to make. This is the perfect winter lunch “sarnie” if ever there was one. I’m sure we must have come up with it first, but I can’t just lay my hands on the evidence.
The Pie in a Bun
A pie in a bun; you probably won’t find this one in many other “world’s favourite sandwiches” lists. It featured on the list of favourites phoned into a chat show on Radio Scotland earlier this year. Between fits of slightly hysterical laughter the presenters managed to force out the phrase: “now… giggle……there’s……ha-ha……..Scottish….. titter, titter……. cuisine……for…..you …” in the end they decided a “fried pie in a bun” would be a better National Dish. I’m afraid this makes that English chip butty look like a Weight Watchers meal plan; but I’d be prepared to give it a go.
Whatever your favourite sandwich the ingredients are typified by their ease and convenience. For those with a regular veg box delivery the ingredients for some of the most famous sandwiches will always be ready to hand. Except, perhaps, in Scotland.
Picture – Arnold – Inuyaki