The Dimensionality of Sandwiches

28 Jul

That is a Sandwich!

What is a sandwich? Is it just bread, meat and cheese or is it something more. An intangible exponent that is crucial to creating the quintessential way to defend against hunger, whilst filling one with gastronomical goodness. Sandwiches are also a mobile, hand edible, compact and very convenient meal. They are a universally eaten food not only bridging the gaps between socially economic divisions, but are a globally unifying food, dynamic enough to evolve and adapt due to local regionalization. Even if a friend is asking for places to eat, sandwiches work every time.

Such a strange word where did it come from? The Earl of Sandwich, of course. So back in the 18th century, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich was playing cribbage with his aristocratic buddies and got hungry. He asked his servants to fetch him some meat tucked between 2 pieces of bread, his friend thus asked for “the same as Sandwich” and our commonplace culinary creation had a title. Even though he did not actually invent the sandwich, coining the term has allowed his progeny to exploit history once more. The 11th Earl of Sandwich also named John Montagu (Such creative aristocracy) decided to open up the Earl of Sandwich Restaurant. Enjoy this brief video – The 11th Earl of Sandwich!

Still, the first time sandwich was seen in written English in Sir Edward Gibbon’s (author of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire) journal, which referred to sandwich as simply as pieces of meat. The OED notes that this journal entry occurred back in 1762, so we know the word sandwich is certainly that old. But back in the 18th century sandwiches for men who drank and gambled, so they could eat with ease. The sandwich slowly crossed over to the United States where it now has become the king of all food. Oh the silly British even have a nickname for their sandwich – sarnies, because it just has to sound more British.


First we must delve deep inside the S-dimension. This is the part of the universe where sandwiches become sandwiches as the sum of their parts produces a delicatessen delight that we all hold dear to our stomachs. It is not nearly the gathering of the finest ingredients, but also the way they complement each other. Sandwiches are key in understanding how to construct food, you see each separate item, the lettuce above the ham above the cheddar, but you taste them all. Sandwiches are also the most complete meal as well. Sandwiches combining all 7 major food groups: grains, meats, cheeses, veggies, fruits, spices and condiments – so where else are you devouring the entire modified food pyramid at once? The food court at the Mall or Stouffer’s lean cuisine? Hell NO. They only have 3 or 4 of the necessary food groups and that is why the sandwich is supported by the American Dietetic Association Foundation (ADAF) for helping to stop the spread of non delicious food.

Types of sandwiches

Ones with meat and all the rest.

Basically if a sandwich does not have meat, it is only a sandwich by name. So ice cream and veggie sandwiches are impostor in the world of man. Some might argue that a PBJ or just a grilled cheese is a sandwich, but alas these too are bastardizations of the purest form of sandwich. In my opinion sandwiches can include all the deli standards, rubens, corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, ham, turkey. It also includes all types of hoagies and submarine sandwiches, paninis and other pressed sandwiches are of course counted. Hamburgers are a tough one, they are on bread, and include all seven food groups, but some people might argue it stands alone. For the sake of this discussing I am gonna count it. You gotta have meat to make it a true sandwich.

One of the coolest things about sandwiches has been the globalization of it. Food is one of the fastest cultural phenomenon that can move between societies.

In India they have the Kutchi Dabeli (Double Roti) – a strange tangy sandwich common on the streets of Mumbai.

Double Roti

Here is a cool japanese attempt to make sandwiches that resemble sushi.

Sushi or Sandwich?

Vietnam was able to mix its hertiage with that of France to make the Bánh mì (a baguette filled with pickled carrots, daikon, cumcumber and any variety of meats.)

Vietnam is down with the SAND-WICH

Argentina is famous for their steak sandwiches and whenever you buy one off streets it always comes with delicious chimichurri sauce.

The Middles East – Famous for shawarma and falalfal, both when packed in a pita make a delicious sandwich.

My mom seriously makes these the best!

Sandwiches show how the Socioeconomic division cannot stop men from all partaking in the gastronomical genius that is the Sandwich. We all eat sandwiches, so we have the common experience of sandwich crafting and consuming. We as Americans recognize what makes us American is not our constitution or our civil liberties, but the right to eat meat between bread in whatever form it could be. Sandwiches are a mobile, cheap and delicious means of surviving the hungry pangs of a long work day or enjoying your free time with friends.

The day I stop loving this country is the day sandwiches are banned, because that is the freedom I crave, to eat what I want and have the time to enjoy it.


One Response to “The Dimensionality of Sandwiches”


  1. The Essence of Sandwich « The Gauche - July 28, 2010

    […] Jul My colleague, Jon Schwartz, claims that in order to be an “authentic” sandwich, the presence of meat is a necessary […]

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