To some people, a sandwich is just a couple of pieces of bread with some meat between them. To others, the sandwich is an almost religious experience that needs to be appreciated and taken very seriously as a form of food art. However, whether it is just something to eat when you can’t think of anything else to make or, like Joey Tribbiani, it is your favorite food… You will no doubt be curious about these Top 10 Untold Truths Of Sandwiches (what makes a sandwich a sandwich?)
10. The Earl of Sandwich
Why is a sandwich called a sandwich? Well, because it was invented by John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich back in the 1700s (thankfully, his title wasn’t something like the 4th Earl of Underwear – because a ham and cheese underwear doesn’t sound very appetizing). But we digress… There are a few theories about the first creation of the sandwich, but the most interesting one involves gambling. As the story goes, Mr. Montagu was a fervent gambler and would play for hours on end without wanting to stop for a proper meal. So, instead, he started asking his servants to bring him slices of meat between two slices of bread to sustain him while he played. This became quite well known among fellow gamblers and they too began to order “the same as Sandwich.” And voila! The sandwich was born! And what was the first-ever sandwich? Well, like it’s origin, there are conflicting stories about this as well. While some say that the OG sandwich was a piece of salad beef between two slices of bread (toasted), others claim that it was roast beef. If we were part of Arby’s marketing team, we would go with the latter and use it to hype up the fact that we sell the original sandwich created by The Earl of Sandwich himself. We’re always here if they want to talk!
9. Elvis Loved Sandwiches
We all know that Joey Tribbiani loves his sandwiches (he even dove on top of one to protect it when he mistook a car backfiring for a gunshot – now if that isn’t love, we don’t know what is!). But Joey isn’t the only lover of sandwiches. Elvis Presley was also known to be fond of said food item. And it is often said that a peanut butter and banana sandwich was The King’s favorite. It definitely wasn’t his only favorite one, though. In fact, the Fool’s Gold Loaf was most definitely high up on that favorite sandwich list given the things he would do just to have one. It has been reported that one night Elvis actually flew all the way to Denver just to pick up a Fool’s Gold Loaf sandwich and then flew right back home. So, what was this sandwich that had Elvis gassing up his plane just to get it… Well, the Fool’s Gold Loaf was a hollowed-out bread loaf that was filled with a full jar of peanut butter, a jar of jam, and a pound of bacon! For the calorie-conscious among you – this monstrosity of a sandwich came in at a whopping 8000 calories! We think it’s pretty safe to assume that this crazy sandwich was one of the things that may have lead to the “Fat Elvis” era.
8. Is a Hotdog a Sandwich
There are some debates that people have been having for years. Important questions that divide people and pit house against house, brother against brother. Those burning questions are, “is Batman a superhero?” “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?” And, “is a hot dog a sandwich.” While the first two questions are for another discussion, the latter is one that we can put to rest right here and now. Merriam-Webster defines a sandwich as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.” And what is a hot dog, if not a split roll with a filling in between? So, it would seem like the debate is over and those on the side of a hot dog being a sandwich could go ahead and drop the proverbial mic on this one. However, should you be a hot dog non-sandwicher, you still have allies out there, in the form of none other than the National Hot dog and Sausage Council. The council, back in 2015, released their official response to this age-old question, stating “Our verdict is…a hot dog is an exclamation of joy, a food, a verb describing one ‘showing off’ and even an emoji. It is truly a category unto its own… Limiting the hot dog’s significance by saying it’s ‘just a sandwich’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy’.” Perhaps at one time, its importance could be limited by forcing it into a larger sandwich category (no disrespect to Reubens and others), but that time has passed. At least both sides can agree that hot dogs are delicious, and that’s the best we can do.
7. Is the PB&J a Delicacy?
There are very few things as comforting as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is one of the most universally loved and appreciated simple pleasures. While it’s a sandwich that adults still enjoy, there is no doubt that one of the great appeals of this sandwich is its ability to bring us all back to our youth. A time when there really was nothing better than sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons while your mom brings you a PB&J (with the crust cut off of course). There was even a study done back in 2002 that reported that the average American will have eaten about 1500 Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches before they graduate high school. That’s like, a lot of wasted crusts. However, while these days it is often the go-to sandwich of both kids and broke college students, it wasn’t always the case. The Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich dates back over 100 years. In 1896, a magazine published a peanut butter sandwich recipe, and a few years later in 1901, the Boston Cooking School Magazine published one of the first – if not the first – recipes for the PB&J, telling folks to make said sandwich using “three very thin layers of bread and two of filling, one of peanut paste, whatever brand you prefer, and currant or crabapple jelly for the other.” At the time, the price of peanut butter was relatively high and so this “new” sandwich creation was actually kind of a delicacy, only enjoyed by the upper classes who could afford the required bread toppings. How the tables have turned now. As the price of peanut butter dropped at the turn of the 20th century, the rest of the people started to get in on the PB&J game. And as we hit the 1920s and the introduction of sliced bread, kids were able to start making the sandwiches on their own.
6. A Sandwich Can Cure a Hangover
It seems like everyone and their mother has a hangover cure. That thing that you need to do, or eat, or drink, in order to calm those post-party night feelings that make you promise yourself you will never drink again – until the next time you grab an adult beverage and start the process all over again. Of course, you can opt to cure that hangover, hair of the dog style, and just start drinking again the minute you wake up. However, not all of us want to start drinking first thing in the morning – especially if we actually have things we need to accomplish before starting the party again later that evening. So, for those of you who just need to get rid of the queasy-feeling, the headache, and the all-around hangoverness… there is BACON! Yes, that’s right. They say that everything is better with bacon and now science has proven that you can add hangovers to that list of “everything.” Researchers at Newcastle University published a study showing that a bacon sandwich in the morning can definitely cure a hangover, citing the fact that bacon is full of protein and protein breaks down into amino acids. After a long night of drinking your neurotransmitter levels are depleted and amino acids can aid in “refilling” those depleted levels – thus giving you more energy and clearing the hangover from your head. This is in no way an endorsement of drinking as an excuse just to eat more bacon sandwiches. You don’t need an excuse to do that.
5. A Burrito is a Sandwich in the Eyes of New York
The biggest sandwich debate is, of course, all about whether a hot dog is a sandwich? However, it isn’t the only debate that rages among foodies and folks with too much time on their hands. Once someone brings up the question about hot dogs, it is usually only a matter of time before someone else brings up tacos and burritos and demands an answer as to their sandwich qualifications or lack there of. The next time you find yourself in the middle of such a debate, you can break out some cold hard facts and impress everyone around you with your knowledge that, legally, New York State considers a burrito a sandwich. According to the New York department of taxation and finance, sandwiches are subject to sales tax. And under the “what is considered a sandwich” heading the department states, “sandwiches include cold and hot sandwiches of every kind that are prepared and ready to be eaten, whether made on bread, on bagels, on rolls, in pitas, in wraps, or otherwise, and regardless of the filling or number of layers. A sandwich can be as simple as a buttered bagel or roll, or as elaborate as a six-foot, toasted submarine sandwich.” They then provide a bullet point list, and right there on said list is “burrito.” And yes, “hot dog” is on the list as well, but we’ve already cleared that one up – sort of.
4. Making a Sandwich From Scratch Isn’t Easy or Cheap
When most of us think about making a chicken sandwich from scratch, we might go so far as to use tomatoes and lettuce we grew in our gardens and cook the chicken ourselves rather than buying it pre-cooked from the grocery store. And maybe, if we were really feeling adventurous, we would make our own bread. But that’s probably the extent of it. Well, in 2015, Andy George, a YouTuber from Minnesota, decided to take the idea to its extreme and literally make a chicken sandwich completely from scratch. This meant making everything on the sandwich, including harvesting his own wheat to make the bread, boiling down ocean water to make salt and, of course, raising and slaughtering a chicken. He even grew sunflowers in order to make his own vegetable oil. In all, it was a 16-step process and it took him six months and $1500 to complete (we don’t know if that price included the cost of the flight to the west coast to collect the ocean water he used to make salt, but probably not). So, how did the sandwich turn out, you ask? Well, according to George, his homegrown vegetables tasted a lot better than store-bought ones and the pickles were pretty good, but they were soggy. He also thought the cheese and mayo threw off the taste of the sandwich the most.
3. Does a Sandwich Have to Have Meat?
Does a sandwich have to have meat on it to be called a sandwich? It seems like a dumb question, but it is one we must ask thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture. While any sane person (vegetarian or not) would say that meat, or no meat, has nothing to do with what actually makes a sandwich a sandwich, the USDA seems to disagree. In fact, the organization even goes so far as to define a sandwich as a product that “must contain at least 35 percent cooked meat and no more than 50 percent bread.” And why does it have to be cooked meat? Not that we want to be eating raw meat, but if we did, why would such a possibly salmonella filled item no longer be a sandwich? And that bread percentage rule seems ridiculous also. And what does that make all those PB&J’s everyone’s been eating? This just brings up a whole new sandwich debate that we might not be ready to have. Let’s just move on, shall we?
2. Fresh Herbs and Something Crispy
Two of the most important aspects of any meal are flavor and texture. Having both on the same plate is an important part of making something truly delicious. And that goes for sandwiches as well. While the meats, veggies, and spreads all work together to cover the flavor, don’t forget about herbs. Often herbs, such as basil, are overlooked when one is putting together a sandwich, but they shouldn’t be. In fact, according to some chefs, it’s better to add more herbs than you think you need on your sandwich. Herbs like dill, mint, and basil are all popular options. As for texture, take your sandwich skills to the next level by adding a crispy element. There are those people that love to put potato chips in their sandwich – which is a great texture add. But there are plenty of other options, including fried quinoa, crispy shallots, sugar-fried garlic, and toasted sesame seeds. These can add a ton of flavor and texture, which only ups your sandwich game.
1. The Most Expensive Sandwich in the World
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the title for the most expensive sandwich in the world belongs to New York City’s Serendipity3 restaurant and their Quintessential Grilled Cheese sandwich. Yes, a grilled cheese sandwich! This ridiculously delicious grilled cheese will set you back $214! We probably shouldn’t be surprised that Serendipity3 is home to this expensive sammy. They are no stranger to high-priced food items or the Guinness Book of World Records. This is, after all, the restaurant that at one time or another offered up a $100 milkshake, a $295 Wagyu beef burger and a $1000 sundae. So, what does a $214 grilled cheese sandwich look like? Well, this ultra-special grilled cheese sandwich is made with white truffle butter, very rare Caciocavallo Podolico cheese, and edible 24K gold leaf. And all that between two slices of bread made with Dom Perignon champagne. And of course, nothing is better with grilled cheese than tomato soup. And this $214 version is served with a South African Lobster Tomato bisque (and don’t be shy; you are expected to dip the sandwich in the bisque). Well, at least you know they’re not charging that much for a couple of Kraft singles between bread and a bowl of Campbell’s soup. Bon appetit!