Daily TWiP - Sandwich Day
Welcome to Daily TWiP, your daily dose of all the holidays and history we couldn’t cram into The Week in Preview.
It’s difficult to imagine modern life without the convenience of the sandwich. Take two pieces of bread, pile them with anything that might taste good, slap the two halves together and voila - if you play your cards right, you might not even need a napkin.
According to the annals of English history, cards figured greatly into the life of the gentleman after whom the sandwich was named. John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, (born today, Nov. 3, in 1718) is said to have often snacked on meat between two pieces of bread because he could play cards while he ate and not have to worry about getting his cards greasy.
Sandwich’s official biographer, N.A.M. Rodger, contends that Montagu was so consumed by his committments to the navy, politics, and the arts (as opposed to, you know, a gambling problem) that he likely ate sandwiches while working at his desk in order to save time.
Since history also makes the claim that one suggestion for Sandwich’s epitaph was “Seldom has any man held so many offices and accomplished so little,” we’re more inclined to believe the first explanation of how the sandwich officially came about.
Montagu didn’t invent the sandwich, nor did he popularize it. For one reason or another, part of his title came to be associated with the food item, and it’s hard to imagine it being called anything else. Suppose the association had been with another Earl? Neither a “Bute” nor a “Cork” sounds particularly appetizing.
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- Teresa Santoski