News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle
August 6, 2020
An Acquired Taste
Over the decades I have had the opportunity to taste authentic cuisines from all over the world. One thing I have found in almost every culture is that they all use some form of grain and make that into bread, tortilla, or any other type conveyance to place other vegetables and/or meats between them. In the United States we call it a sandwich.
It is an incredible fact that Americans eat more than 300 million sandwiches a day. Americans consume almost as many sandwiches as there are people in the nation. The sandwich might be considered the perfect food. How many times have people been seen driving while eating some type of sandwich? Any sandwich can be simple or elaborate depending on the individual’s taste.
The sandwich in America throughout its history hasn’t always been embraced as it is now. The infamous sandwich was once thought of as a symbol of our colonial past.
In 1762 John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, popularized the sandwich as we know it. It all began in England. According to legend Montagu had a substantial gambling problem. He would spend hours at the card table. It was during a particularly long gambling session that he asked the house cook to bring him something he could eat without getting up from his seat. He was brought a piece of roast beef between two slices of bread. Montagu enjoyed his meat, but didn’t want to get the card greasy from eating the meat with his hands. It is said that he ate meat and bread so much that the creation became popular in London society circles while it also took on the Earl’s name. The sandwich was born.
It was probably Montagu’s cook who had the idea, but he was hardly the first person to think of putting diverse contents between slices of bread. Montagu first got the idea for his creation while traveling abroad in the Mediterranean, where he ate Turkish and Greek food. Montagu observed that these people served diverse foodstuffs, cheeses, and meats between layers of bread. Montagu may have been inspired to have the sandwich made while playing cards.
One can go just about anywhere and get any number of types of sandwiches. As of 2020, there are 102,389 chain restaurant businesses in the United States. Most of the sandwich shops as well as the individual sandwich maker realizes there are four key things in making a sandwich but can be made according to one’s own imagination.
Bread is the number one key ingredient that binds the sandwich together. It can be any type of bread in any shape as long as it meets the criteria of placing ingredients between the bread. The second optional ingredient is the spread. It can be mayo and mustard or any other type of spread to act as a moisture barrier between the bread and the ingredients, subsequently keeping the bread from getting too soggy. The third ingredient is the main ingredient one desires on their sandwich. This could include various meats and cheese or vegetarian. The last one to name is the secondary ingredients. They add texture and flavor contrast to the main ingredient. They can be lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, or a slice of pickle.
As a child I was able to try different types of sandwiches based on what was available in the kitchen. We ate white bread only. I have been known to eat cracker sandwiches with mayonnaise. Not too bad and a bit crunchy. The one sandwich I still occasionally eat is considered by many to be almost sacrilegious to suggest let alone eat. I no longer eat it with white bread, but I enjoy it on organic multigrain breads. The sandwich I’m referring to has only two ingredients and the main one is peanut butter. The second ingredient can be regular or tangy, but I prefer the tangy one. This non obscure ingredient I am talking about is every day mayonnaise. You may not find it appealing, but it is an acquired taste.