ACROSS CULTURES HISTORY HOW-TO IN POP CULTURE

Who invented the sandwich? Many people say that John Montagu did. Montagu, who was the fourth Earl of Sandwich, asked for meat in between two slices of bread so that he could eat and continue his gambling game sometime around 1762.

The Middle Ages

The "Trencher"

A "trencher" is "a thick slice of bread used as a plate or platter." Trenchers, which were left soaked by whatever meat was served on top, were either eaten by the same person or fed to beggars and animals. Some believe these were the first sandwiches.

19th Century Spain and England

Industrialization

The sandwich gained significance when Spain and England became industrialized during the mid-late 1800s. Sandwiches were inexpensive, quick and convenient, especially for workers.

20th Century-present America

New Orleans, Louisiana. 1900s

The Muffuletta is one of New Orleans' signature sandwiches. It consists of hollowed-out Italian bread filled with Provolone cheese, salami and Cappicola ham, topped with an olive salad. New Orleans has a large Italian community, which is where the sandwich came from. It's been compared to the roast beef po-boy.

Miami, Fla. 1900s

The "Cubano", or Cuban sandwich (which can also be found here) was born sometime in the early 1900s. Some say it was invented in Miami, some say the Florida Keys and others claim it was invented in Tampa. Regardless, the Cuban sandwich has left its mark on Florida.

Chillicothe, Ohio. 1928

When you hear the saying "The greatest thing since sliced bread," have you ever wondered when sliced bread came about? Otto Rohwedder invented the bread slicing machine in Chillicothe, Ohio on July 7, 1928.

New York City, New York. 1930s

The Reuben is made of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing, served on rye bread. It originated in New York's big Jewish delis. According to an article in National Geographic Traveler's April 2011 issue, over 5,000 pounds of corned beef are sliced weekly at Katz’s Delicatessen, one of NYC's oldest delis. Some also say that the Reuben originated in Omaha, Nebraska.

Philadelphia, Penn. 1940s

If you google "Philly cheesesteak", the first eight results are of sub shops in Philadelphia.

In an article written by Albert John Andrews in Saveur Magazine's April 2011 issue, Andrews states "Of course, other cities have their heros or subs. But the cheesesteak is a Philly original, and the places that serve the best never change."

© Katherine Kallergis 2011