The History of the Sandwich


Sandwich Bread

Yummy! Imagine the possibilities! That bread looks ideal for a BLT, a PB & J, or my favorite TLPMMS&P (turkey, lettuce,  provolone, mustard, mayo, salt, and pepper–from Lenny’s). Since the days of old, everyone has heard about the creation of the sandwich. It was the 1700’s and John Montague, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, was in the middle of an intense card game. Needing to keep a free hand to play cards, he ordered his valet to grab some meat and throw it in-between two pieces of bread. Voila, the sandwich was created. Or was it?

Map of Sandwich, England
Map of Sandwich, in the district of Dover, England.

The concept of using bread to hold together a meal was new, but only to the English. People started to order “the same as Sandwich”, and thus the name stuck. [1] However, there is some evidence to suggest that the sandwich was created long before the 1700’s; in fact, before the common era. Between 70 BCE and 10 CE, Rabbi Hillel the Elder was thought to have invented the sandwich. [2][3][4] As the story goes, Hillel the Elder took a combination of fruits, nuts, honey, and bitter herbs and placed it in-between matzah. [4][5] (On a side note–peanut butter is really good on matzah!)

So next time you set foot into Subway, you should ask for a Hillel and not a Sandwich.







[3] Exodus 12:8


[5] Green, Joey. Contrary to Popular Belief, 2005.

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-To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity.-
I love all history; however, my favorite areas are World War II, Civil Rights Movement, and U.S. Constitutional history.