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What is the Origin of Sandwiches?

Updated on July 25, 2017
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella is interested in different cuisines from around the world and has written a selection of articles on this subject

A Cut Above the Rest

Whole wheat bread containing plenty of seeds and grains can add vital nutrients to your diet
Whole wheat bread containing plenty of seeds and grains can add vital nutrients to your diet | Source

'Use Your Loaf'

The sandwich easily qualifies as a British institution, which became so popular that it's now eaten on a daily basis almost worldwide. The sandwich was so named after the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu (1718-92) who according to popular myth was often too busy gambling to eat a proper meal. He would ask his servants to regularly provide him with meat placed between two slices of bread. Truth or fiction, one fact is certain – everyone likes to grab a sandwich when they’re busy!

Sandwiches have never become boring because of the wide variety of fillings that can be conjured up by even the most unimaginative of folk. The choice of fillings nowadays creates a virtually limitless list of sandwiches - even sweet fillings such as jam and chocolate spread, hold their own in the list of all-time favourites, but this article deals with the more traditional ones that would be served as part of a traditional English tea in a quaint little ‘Olde English tea shoppe.’ Tea rooms like this are to be found on every high street in most English towns.

A Sandwich Can be Healthy if you Choose the Corrrect Ingredients

Healthy options for sandwich fillings
Healthy options for sandwich fillings | Source

Modern Day Sandwiches

Nowadays, sandwiches are more associated with packed lunches or pub lunches rather than ‘high teas’ or ‘afternoon teas’ due to busy modern day work schedules and thus you are more likely to encounter the more traditional English tea sandwiches in cafes and tea rooms in tourist areas when visiting the UK. At such places, sandwiches and quiches are eaten as savoury courses followed by small cakes or scones often smothered with liberal dollops of jam and cream. This is especially true in areas such as Devon and Cornwall, where visitors will find a ‘cream tea’ substantial enough on its own, even without eating a sandwich beforehand!

Sandwiches are usually made from white or brown sliced loaves which are served with a garnish of lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Some prefer dainty sandwiches and others prefer ‘doorsteps’ - so named because of the excessive thickness of the pieces of sliced bread that comprise the sandwich and the huge amount of filling crammed between them.

There are a variety of ever popular English tea sandwich choices; here are some of the most popular:

Salmon and cucumber sandwiches are usually dainty and made from brown bread. Their delicate appearance can be further enhanced by the removal of crusts. Cream cheese is often added. A three-slice crust-less sandwich with cucumber, salmon and cream cheese with both white and brown bread layers is an appetising sight. Cress and radishes are popular garnishes suitable for this type of sandwich.

The beauty of sandwiches is that they're quickly prepared and convenient to eat anywhere without the need for cutlery. They're also nutritionally sound as there's carbohydrate from the bread and protein from a filling of meat, fish, cheese or egg. A sandwich can be a healthy part of a balanced diet. They're a healthy option if you're careful to choose the right kind of bread and the most wholesome fillings. Plain white sliced bread is severely lacking in sound nutritional value and is pure carbohydrate but if you use wholemeal bread containing a selection of grains and seeds as depicted above, It can be a valuable contribution to your body's daily needs and provides a wealth of complex carbohydrates and roughage to aid digestion.

Be Creative with your Crusts!

Imaginative ideas for sandwich buffets
Imaginative ideas for sandwich buffets | Source

The History of the Sandwich

Sandwich Ideas

© 2015 Stella Kaye

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