A Tasty Morsel

Did you know that the Earl of Sandwich likely didn’t create the sandwich while gambling in 1762? More likely this versatile meal was given his name due to his continual hard work away at the desk.

In fact there are so many apocryphal stories surrounding sandwiches that you wonder how much about what we know about sandwiches is true.

That said, there’s quite a lot to learn, as I found out while reading Sandwich: A Global History by Bee Wilson.

This slim volume is part of The Edible Series by Reaktion Books. If it’s any indication of the others, the series is fine indeed. Wilson begins with the Fourth Earl of Sandwich and proceeds to take us through a trip around the world discussing the forms of sandwiches and their ethnic origins.

Sandwiches have at different times been eaten by the poorer classes, the nobility, workers, picnickers, hikers and everyone else who is on the go. The ability to eat a sandwich in one hand (as opposed to a sit-down dinner with cutlery) allows us to do things with the other hand like take notes, write reports, read and more recently type on the keyboard. This says just as much about the changes in our lives related to eating and dining habits as it does about the sandwich itself.

She also covers other interesting tidbits like, according to a court ruling, a burrito is not a sandwich. You’ll have to read the book to find out why.

The book has many other interesting tidbits related to this seemingly simple meal.

The final section lists many different sandwiches, their ingredients and where they were invented, if known. I quite enjoyed learning about the incredible variety of treats wedged between a two slices of bread.

I recommend giving this tasty volume a read.

Sandwich: A Global History
Bee Wilson
2010, Reaktion Books Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-86189-771-8