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A sandwich is a food item made of two or more slices of leavened bread with one or more layers of filling, typically meat or cheese, with the addition of vegetables or salad. The bread can be used as is, or it can be coated with butter, oil, mustard or other condiments to enhance flavor and texture.
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Resources: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article sandwiches/and other related pages. Top Photo credit: homestead

Definition of a sandwich

A sandwich is a food item made of two or more slices of leavened bread with one or more layers of filling, typically meat or cheese, with the addition of vegetables or salad. The bread can be used as is, or it can be coated with butter, oil, mustard or other condiments to enhance flavor and texture. In North American usage, sandwich may also refer to what is more commonly referred to in the rest of the world as a hamburger.
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History of the sandwich

The first form of sandwich is attributed to the ancient Jewish 
sage Hillel the Elder, who is said to have put meat from the 
Paschal lamb and bitter herbs inside matzo (or flat,un-
leavened bread) during Passover. The filling between the 
matzos served as a reminder to Israelites of their forced 
labor constructing Egyptian buildings.

During the Middle Ages, thick slabs of coarse and usually 
stale bread, called "trenchers", were used as plates. After a 
meal, the food-soaked trencher was fed to a dog, less 
fortunate beggars, or eaten by the diner. Trenchers were as 
much the harbingers of open-face sandwiches as they were of disposable dishware. The immediate cultural precursor with a direct connection to the English sandwich was to be found in seventeenth-century Holland, where the naturalist John Ray observed that in the taverns beef hung from the rafters "which they cut into thin slices and eat with bread and butter laying the slices upon the butter"— explanatory specifications that reveal the Dutch belegde broodje was as yet unfamiliar in England.

The first written usage of the English word appeared in Edward Gibbon's journal, in longhand, referring to "bits of cold meat" as a 'Sandwich'. It was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat, although he was neither the inventor nor sustainer of the food. It is said that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards, particularly cribbage, while eating without getting his cards greasy from eating meat with his bare hands.

The rumour in its familiar form appeared in Pierre Jean Grosley's Londres (Neichatel, 1770), translated as A Tour to London 1772; Grosley's impressions had been formed during a year in London, 1765. The sober alternative is provided by Sandwich's biographer, N.A.M. Rodger, who suggests Sandwich's commitments to the navy, to politics and the arts mean the first sandwich was more likely to have been consumed at his desk.

It is also possible that Sandwich's wife's sister's husband, Jerome de Salis, who was born in the Grisons Republic of Switzerland, taught him about sandwiches.

If it was initially perceived as food men shared while gaming and drinking at night, the sandwich slowly began appearing in polite society as a late-night meal among the aristocracy. The sandwich's popularity in Spain and England increased dramatically during the 19th century, when the rise of an industrial society and the working classes made fast, portable, and inexpensive meals essential.

It was at the same time that the sandwich finally began to appear outside of Europe. In the United States, the sandwich was first promoted as an elaborate supper meal. By the early 20th century, as bread became a staple of the American diet, the sandwich became the same kind of popular, quick meal as was widespread in the Mediterranean.
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Usage

In the United States, a court in Boston, Massachusetts ruled that "sandwich" includes at least two slices of bread. and "under this definition, this court finds that the term 'sandwich' is not commonly understood to include burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, which are typically made with a single tortilla and stuffed with a choice filling of meat, rice, and beans." The issue stemmed from the question of whether a restaurant that sold burritos could move into a shopping centre where another restaurant had a no-compete clause in its lease prohibiting other "sandwich" shops.

In Spain, where the word sandwich is borrowed from the English language, it refers to a food item made with English sandwich bread. It is otherwise known as a bocadillo.

The verb to sandwich has the meaning to position anything between two other things of a different character, or to place different elements alternately, and the noun sandwich has related meanings derived from this more general definition. For example, an ice cream sandwich consists of a layer of ice cream between two layers of cake or biscuit. Similarly, Oreos and Custard Creams are described as sandwich biscuits because they consist of a soft filling between layers of biscuit.

The word "butty" is often used in Northern areas of the United Kingdom as a synonym for "sandwich", particularly in the name of certain kinds of sandwiches such as a chip butty, bacon butty, or sausage butty. "Sarnie" is a similar colloquialism, as is the Australian English colloquialism "sanger". Likewise, the words "sanger" and "piece" are used for sandwich in Scottish dialect; regarding the latter, an example of the use of "piece" is "piece and ham", meaning "piece of bread and ham".
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Types of Sandwiches

Sandwiches come served cold or hot open faced. In fact there are so many different sandwich recipes it would be hard to list them all but we do have a list of the most popular.

The following represent common varieties of American sandwich.
  •   Cheese sandwich
  •   Philadelphia cheesesteak
  •   Club sandwich
  •   Dagwood
  •   French dip
  •   Hamburger
  •   Monte Cristo
  •   Muffuletta
  •   Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
  •   Pilgrim
  •   Po' boy
  •   Reuben
  •   Sloppy joe
  •   Submarine sandwich
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References:
Types of Hamburgers
Hamburger - One of the most popular types of Hot Sandwiches.
A packed lunch (also called sack lunch or bag lunch in North America) is a lunch prepared at home and carried to be eaten somewhere else, such as school, a workplace, or at an outing. The food is usually wrapped in plastic, aluminum foil, or paper and can be carried ("packed") in a lunchbox, paper bag (a "sack"), or plastic bag. While packed lunches are usually taken from home by the people who are going to eat them, in Mumbai, India, tiffin boxes are most often picked up from the home and brought to workplaces later in the day by so-called dabbawallas.
  • Sandwich: Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
  • Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Solomon H. Katz, editor (Charles Scribner's Sons: New York) 2003
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