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Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Sandwich by Any Other Name...

I know that I hyped a new blog on facebook, almost a week ago…but as I like to say, the road to new blog posts is paved with good intentions. OK, I don’t really like to say that. No one does.

Basically, if you were paying attention on the FB, I tried to generate interest in my blog posts by holding a call to action for blog ideas. And I got a whopping 6 responses (give or take)…2 of them (give or take) were from actual readers!

The suggestions that I did receive were really quite good. Some of the ideas included: shameless selfies, kitties & puppies, coffee, movie bombs, Manitou, and sandwiches.

Here’s a breakdown of why/how I decided on my blog topic as I did:

Shameless selfies- Um, well…there’s already enough coverage of Anthony Weiner’s shameless selfie of his junk (and lack of actual junk coverage). I’ll leave that one to Fox and MSNBC to duke out.

Kitties and puppies- The avid readers of my blog- both of you- will note that I have dedicated a great deal of posts to kitties and puppies. Ad nauseum. I’m going to give my readers (both of them) a break from all that.

Coffee- Suggested by my husband. I felt it would be a bit of the old nepotism to use this idea.

Movie Bombs- Also suggested by my husband. Seriously, doesn't anyone screen these calls?

Manitou- This is a great topic and it was suggested right after the gorgeous city at the base of Pikes Peak suffered from devastating flooding (the town has since seen a community pull together in a beautiful show of support). My thought is this: There are wonderfully talented journalists in this area who have beautifully covered the horrible flooding and the consequent outpouring of help that occurred in the city; I could never do that story justice. Besides, haven’t the people of Manitou suffered enough? They don’t need to be highlighted in my crappy blog.

Which leaves me with sandwiches, or rather the suggestion from Anthony Graham: “Why sandwiches are the most perfect food.”

Well, congratulations Ant,  I am going to write about sandwiches! (Ant, by the way is a super talented photog. Check out his website:

Except, I don’t know that I fully support the thesis of sandwiches being the most perfect food; I believe that tacos are the most perfect food (or close to it), but they are not sandwiches (a fact that will be backed up later). I do, however, think that sandwiches are pretty great. Pretty great, indeed.

So, let’s talk sandwiches (aka sammies around my house).

I’m sure you have all heard that the sandwich was invented by a dude named the Earl of Sandwich. Actually, his name was John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, a British statesman. And actually, he didn't really invent it. I mean, come on. Do you really think humans would wait until the 18th century to enjoy a sandwich? Sure, homeboy gave the thing a name, but people had been enjoying stuff between bread for a long time before that.

The sandwich, although not called that at the time, goes way back. The Jewish sage, Hillel the Elder (I don’t have a date on this, but if someone’s name is followed by “the Elder,” then you know that this shit is old as dirt) is rumored to have wrapped lamb meat and some herbs between two pieces of matzah. Mozel Tov! There’s also evidence of sandwiches, or sandwich like creations being used in Medieval Europe. Initially, sammies were considered the food of the poor; often being used with bread that was thrown out by the richies and also often associated with gamblers and drinkers who needed a hand free for their vice of choice. However, just like everything else great, the sandwich made it’s way from the streets to the bourgeoisie.

In comes the Earl of Sandwich.

It has been said that he enjoyed playing cribbage and would often ask his valet to bring him some meat between bread. His fellow card players would in turn ask for “the same as Sandwich.” Supposedly, this is how the word made its way into the vernacular. However, there is a less exciting version of the etymology: it seems that the Earl was a bit of a Renaissance man and had involvements in the navy, politics and the arts. He was a busy man and most likely consumed his sammies soberly at his writing desk, not drunkenly at the cribbage table. Pick whichever version fits your fancy. I usually root for the drunkard.

So, what constitutes a sandwich? There is actually a court ruling on the matter. A sandwich must include “at least two slices of bread.” This excludes tacos, burritos, egg rolls, Hot Pockets, falafel, etc. And why was there a court ruling on this? You are wise to ask. Here’s the deal- turns out a sandwich restaurant in Boston wanted to prevent a burrito stand from opening in the same shopping center as part of a non-compete clause. However, a Massachusetts court ruled that a burrito is not a sandwich and a sandwich is defined by having two slices of bread. Thus, the burrito joint was able to open in the same center as it did not break any non-compete laws. Ole!

There you have it. A burrito is not a sandwich. However, a torta (Mexican sandwich) is; so is a hoagie, sub, grinder, French dip, po’ boy, sloppy Joe, muffuletta, Reuben, and my favorite- a banh mi. Apparently, a hamburger is also considered a sandwich; but if I’m eating lunch with you and you order a “hamburger sandwich,” I will promptly leave the table. Only cult members and people from the 1930’s order a “hamburger sandwich,” Weirdo.

Want to find out about more sammies from around the world? Check out this great Buzzfeed list, guaranteed to make you want to go on an Around the World in 29 Sandwiches tour.

Hope you enjoyed this. Now, let's all have sammies!

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