The 12th – 19th May is ‘British Sandwich Week’, a week to mark all things to do with the sandwich! And being food providers and food lovers, we thought we’d have a little look into the sandwich and its origins. We’ve even found some amazing and some slightly bizarre facts about what is considered by many people to be their favourite food!
It is said that the sandwich originated over two thousand years ago with various combinations placed on bread or in pastry. However, it wasn’t until 1762 when the 4th Earl of Sandwich (yes you’re reading this right, ‘sandwich’ is a historic town and civil parish on the River Stour in Dover!) that the ‘sandwich’ became official. The 4th Earl John Montagu, a British statesman, got hungry during a marathon poker match. He decided he wanted a hearty meal, but he didn’t want to put his cards down! So John asked his cook to get him something to eat that wouldn’t interfere with the game. The cook took a couple of slices of roast beef and put them between two pieces of toast. It meant that John could enjoy some good grub, while carrying on with his card game! And all of his friends started asking for “the same as Sandwich” too.
We should probably define exactly what a sandwich is, just so we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet. We got this little definition from the ‘British Sandwich Association’ or BSA, the voice of the British sandwich industry: “Any form of bread with a filling, generally assembled cold – to include traditional wedge sandwiches, as well as filled rolls, baguettes, pita bloomers, wraps, bagels and the like, but not burgers and other products assembled and consumed hot. Hot eating sandwiches are also included.”
So onto some sandwich facts:
- The Sandwich is now 250 years old!
- The Earl, John Montagu, who also so happened to be the First Lord of the Admiralty, funded Captain Cook’s exploration of the Pacific and was rewarded when Cook named the first land he discovered as the ‘Sandwich Islands’. You may know it better as Hawaii!
- Nearly 11 billion sandwiches are consumed in the UK every single year…
- If you live in London, you’re looking at spending on average an extra 17p on every sandwich you buy, £1.83 compared to the national average of £1.66. Outrageous!
- The record for creating the most expensive sandwich ever made was claimed by chef, Tom Bridge. His ‘Lancaster cheese sandwich’ was sold on eBay in 2006 for a whopping £345! The giant creation included white Umbrian truffles which are sold at £1,700 per kilo (wowzers!)
- Over half of the population buy a sandwich at least once a year, 62% to be precise!
- In one year this is what is used in the UK’s sandwiches: 20,550 tonnes of chicken, 17,400 tonnes of fish, 13,500 tonnes of cheese, 11,100 tonnes of ham, 8,700 tonnes of bacon, 6,000 tonnes or egg and 2,600 tonnes of sausages. Looks like chicken is a winner then!
There you have it, looks like we’re a nation of sarnie lovers. We’ve had a little look at this website: www.lovesarnies.com/yum and think it’s worth a little peruse when you get 5mins.
Happy 250th Birthday to the sandwich and here’s to the next 250 years. X