Fact: We love sandwiches. PB&J, BLT, grilled cheese, po-boy, Cuban, Reuben, cheese steak in Philly or muffaletta in New Orleans, single or multi-tiered, we can't get enough. We love them simple and oh so complicated, hot and cold, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some would even risk their lives for a sandwich. Without the admired convenience food, picnics wouldn't exist... and I don't want to imagine a world without picnics.
Handheld and portable, the sandwich is just one of the reasons I could never go on the Atkins diet. Without bread, it's just meat and cheese on a plate. So sad. And don't get me started on the whole "open-face" thing. I like my sandwiches with a closed face and in my face, thankyouverymuch.
There was a time, a very dark time, in history when sandwiches didn't exist. The first recorded sandwich was made by the rabbi Hillel the Elder, who lived during the 1st century B.C. He introduced the Passover custom of sandwiching a mixture of chopped nuts, apples, spices, herbs and wine between two matzohs.
During medieval times, thick slices of stale bread called trenchers were used for plates. Food was piled atop the trenchers and once the meal was done, the stale bread would be eaten, thrown to dogs or given to the poor.
Food historians generally attribute the creation of the sandwich to John Montague (born on November 3), the Fourth Earl of Sandwich. It's said that the Earl was a bettin' man who would gamble for hours at a time, sometimes even refusing to get up for meals (don't know what he did when he had to go to the bathroom...). He allegedly ordered his servant to bring him meat tucked between two pieces of bread. Others began to order "the same as Sandwich!" The gambling theory has been debated. Biographer N.A.M. Roger wrote in 1993 that Sandwich was a Cabinet minister and very busy, so it is just as likely that the sandwich was invented for the purpose of eating at his desk. Basically, we've been sitting at our workstations, hurriedly cramming sandwiches down our gullets for almost 250 years.
The sandwich was first introduced to America by Elizabeth Leslie in her cookbook Directions for Cookery, where she provides the above recipe for a ham sandwich, but, you know, if ham isn't your thing, it's totally cool to use grated tongue...
Sandwiches have starred in some of our favorite memes over the past few years, like Sad Keanu, which is based on a paparazzi photo of Reeves sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich alone, looking like a sad bastard, and Jake Gyllenhaal's hilarious sandwich.
That's enough with the history lesson. Today, we're keepin' it classy by featuring our top 5 favorite dashing and dazzling icons of Hollywood's glamorous days-gone-by enjoying the beloved sandwich.
5. Jayne Mansfield
Blonde Bombshell Jayne savoring a sandwich and a coke.
4. Elvis Presley
Memphis, 1958. The King having lunch on a bench. Presley had fondness for peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
3. Rita Hayworth
Santa Monica, 1941. World War II's second most popular pin-up, surpassed only by Betty Grable in a swimsuit and heels, scarfing a hamburger. Photo from Life magazine cover shoot by Bob Landry.
2. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin
Utah, 1963. Dino and Frankie take a sammich-n-beer break during the filming of Sergeants 3.
1. Marilyn Monroe
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Los Angeles, 1952. Marilyn in a soft-top convertible at the drive-in eating a hamburger like a good all-American girl.
Did you know you can send a Happy Sandwich Day e-card through Blue Mountain? Do you have a favorite sandwich joint in town? How will you celebrate this special day? Let us know in the comments section! Then come back here and make me a sandwich.