John Montagu and the legend of the sandwich
John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich
(November 13,1718 – April 30, 1792)
John Montagu, was the 4th Earl of Sandwich and common belief holds that Montagu is responsible for inventing the sandwich, or at least inadvertently influencing how the term came about. All due to his revolutionary dining habits during the 18th century.
I don’t think it really matters, but it makes for a good origin story, and hey, all great dishes have to start somewhere.
Why do I write about “The Earl of Sandwich”? Well, two reasons. One it’s a cool story and something that I know about, so why not write about it. Second, it’s an oh so convenient way for me to let you know I will be writing about the history of various classic sandwiches in the future. So there’s that.
Why write about the history of sandwiches? Well, pretty much the same as last question. That, and I have an enormous amount of sandwich data stored in this noggin of mine. Seeing as I’m an amateur at this writing thing, I’ll start with some things I know about, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time researching.
Now enough with all the questions, I’m trying to tell you about how the term “sandwich” came into the world.
Back to the story.
You see ole Johnny was known to be quite the gambler and would spend long hours gambling at the card table. Not wanting to interrupt his card game with a meal break, he would just have the staff put the meat from his dinner between 2 slices of bread so he could just hold his dinner in his hand and eat it right there at the card table.
No forks and knives, no series of plates and bowls. Just a napkin and one of those five pronged sandwich grippers we also refer to as hands.
You see, Montagu’s long hours at the table made him a fairly constant figure in the establishment. Think about how often people probably saw Montagu eating in this manner. It was only natural that over time others became interested in how he was eating his meal. It was probably a topic of conversation at dinners for a while.
It must have sparked their interest and rumor has it the whole name got started just like that. One day, one brave soul got up the courage to set aside his judgments on Sandwich and his radical dining habits. The patron then placed his order and asked that waitress to bring him his dinner served like Sandwich’s.
From that point on it’s history, folks.
Patrons began to order their dinner but ask for it to be served like Sandwich’s left and right. It spread like wildfire and for good reason. Not only was it efficient way to eat, but quite tasty too. From that point on sandwiches have been a huge success and I don’t see em’ fading away anytime soon.
So, to all you free eaters out there, keep the dream alive eating meals on the go. Smash that burger standing on two feet and hold your sandwich up high, for we will not go quietly into the night, hungry due to a lack of utensils, for no child shall have to wait any longer for a fork and knife before they can dine, as our true Hero* , the Sandwich, has freed us from the chains of cutlery forever.
*Pun intended, insert that duh-dunt-tssh drum sound effect here.