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Never underestimate the power of a good sandwich. There is certainly something special about the best of the world’s toppings piled high between two slices of delicious bread.

Pastrami on rye? Yes, please. Mayonnaise as a sandwich dressing? You betcha! Slices of pickles? Bacon on just about anything? Of course! French Fries or Potato Chips? Don’t look so suspicious– french fry and potato chip sandwiches are delicious!

The argument that all Jews have a heartfelt investment in the state of Israel is untrue. Some have a heartfelt investment in corned beef sandwiches.

Judith Butler

The fact of the matter is that if something is enjoyable on its own, it’s almost certainly going to be enjoyed when dressed up for the ball in bread and toppings.

National Sandwich Day celebrates them all!

History of National Sandwich Day

There is a commonly known story about the history of the word sandwich, and it’s attributed to John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. One piece of that history that has been tossed about is the meaning of the word Sandwich and the town it comes from.

Sandwich is a city in the shire of Kent in England, in the United Kingdom, Originally the word was spelled ‘Sondwic’, and then ‘Sandwic’ and, eventually in the year 1086 as ‘Sandwice’. The name of the town came from its purpose and its claim to fame because it was a market town. So what does Sandwich actually mean? The exact definition is “Market Town on Sandy Soil”.

John Montagu was the fourth Earl of this particular little English town. An earl was a royal title that essentially means ‘chieftain’, which placed the person in charge of a territory in the King’s stead. As it happens, John was a well-known lover of card games. It is said that he originally ordered his meat to be delivered to him between two slices of bread so that he would not get his grease-laden fingers on the card, nor require a fork to eat. Genius!

As people heard of this, they started ordering their food “The Same as Sandwich”, and eventually just “a sandwich”. From such things, legendary culinary delights are born.

Even though some historians claim that the first mention of a “sandwich” in records was from the journal of Edward Gibbon, an English Member of Parliament in the 18th century, it’s likely that the existence of the sandwich goes back much further. Practically speaking, the sandwich has been around since humans have been eating bread.

In fact, some historians take it back as far as the first century BC, when Jewish Rabbi Hillel the Elder was known to put lamb, herbs and nuts between two pieces of bread! But, today, it isn’t called a “Hillel” after the rabbi. It’s called a “sandwich”, after the earl who came around several hundred years later.

And so, National Sandwich Day celebrates both the Earl himself, after whom this food was named, as well as the wonder he brought to the world in the form of what we now know as the sandwich.

National Sandwich Day Timeline

1st Century BC

Jewish Rabbi makes sandwiches

Ancient records indicate that Hillel the Elder, a Jewish Rabbi predating the birth of Christ, suggests that the elements of the sacred Seder meal (herbs, nuts and apples) could be placed between two pieces of matzah and eaten as a sandwich.[1]

25 BC-475 AD

Ancient Romans make sandwiches

Although thought to be a modern invention, some Ancient Roman texts indicate that people have been putting cheese on bread and heating it up for as long as 2000 years.[2]

16th Century

Italian panini recipe is published

Some records indicate that the Italians were making Panini sandwiches long before the sandwich was ‘created’ in England. [3]


The sandwich gets its name

Legend has it that John Montagu, the 18th century Fourth Earl of Sandwich, was a gambler. In fact, he never wanted to leave the table, so he requested that some food be prepared that could be eaten without needing to get up from the table. So the cook brought him meat surrounded by two pieces of bread. And the name “Sandwich” was born. [4]


Boston cookbook publishes sandwich recipes

Included in the original Boston Cooking School Cookbook are recipes for various types of sandwiches. This included varieties such as corned beef, chicken salad, cooked ham, lobster and even raw beef.[5]


The club sandwich is introduced

Rumored to be first served at the upstate New York Saratoga Club-House, the club sandwich contained chicken, bacon, lettuce and tomato between two (or even three!) slices of toasted bread. [6]


First club sandwich recipe is published

Just a decade after it is introduced, the club sandwich is put in print by Isabel Gordon Curtis in the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cookbook.[7]


Club Sandwich is featured at the World’s Fair

This memorable event held in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, helped to popularize the Club Sandwich all throughout the United States.[8]


The grilled cheese sandwich is invented

While various versions of the hot cheese sandwich have been claimed by different cultures, the American version of the Grilled Cheese Sandwich came about when both processed cheese and sliced bread became readily available.[9]


Dagwood sandwich is created

In keeping with the famous character from the “Blondie” comic strip, Dagwood Bumstead’s penchant for sandwiches is honored with the invention of this impossibly tall sandwich that contains basically everything but the kitchen sink.[10]


First Subway sandwich shop opens

Perhaps the most commonly known sandwich chain worldwide, Subways’ first restaurant made its debut in Bridgeport, Connecticut in the United States. [11]

How to Celebrate National Sandwich Day

Celebrating National Sandwich Day is a wondrous delight! It can be done in a variety of ways, most of which should, of course, include at least the eating of (if not the making of) a sandwich. Try out these ideas for inspiration:

Make and Enjoy a Sandwich (or Several!)

All you need to do is get into the kitchen and make yourself every kind of sandwich that can be imagined. Breakfast would certainly get a good start with bacon,. egg and cheese on a bagel (a Bagel Sandwich).

Then, for lunch, make it a Whopper from Burger King (Hamburger Sandwich) and move on to dinner by enjoying a Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato with Mayo on Sourdough (BLT Sandwich). It’s really as simple as that, though if you’re feeling experimental, National Sandwich Day is the best time to create something new!

Try Out a New Type of Sandwich

Perhaps, when thinking of sandwiches, the mind automatically goes to things like peanut butter and jelly, or a basic ham sandwich. And maybe that sounds just a little bit boring. But sandwiches can also be fun and exciting! They can be an adventurous foray into the world of food.

Consider these ideas for sandwich recipes that will help to make the sandwich menu more exciting. Just reading these names is a mouth-watering experience:

  • Chipotle Pulled Pork Sandwich with Feta Cilantro Topping
  • Toasted Pan Bagnat with Tomatoes, Mozzarella and Arugula
  • California Rainbow Veggie with BBQ Kale Chips
  • Corn Beef Brisket with Irish Cheddar French Toast and Kale Pesto Slaw

Enjoy National Sandwich Day at Work

National Sandwich Day can inspire all sorts of fun activities in the workplace. And lunch is the perfect time to do so. A simple idea would be to have a sub-sandwich restaurant cater in for lunch. Other ideas might include holding a contest to see who can make the tallest sandwich (everyone pitches in to bring ingredients). Or host a sandwich-making competition for the best-tasting sandwich, which can be judged by the boss. This makes the workday go by a little bit smoother on National Sandwich Day.

Take Part in a Sandwich Eating Competition

Sandwich eating can be fun–but it’s also serious business! Different types of these contests take part all over the world, and it takes quite a bit of skill. One winner of these types of competitions is Joey Chestnut, who has been considered to be the number one ranked competitive eater in the world! He has accomplished feats such as eating 72 hot dogs in ten minutes.

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