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Who invented the sandwich?
Early American sandwiches
National Sandwich Day
National Sandwich Day Contest
National Sandwich Month
National Sandwich Month Contest
sandwich bread
sliced bread
breadless sandwiches?
sandwiches, 1920s style
six-foot sandwiches
first sandwich in space
banh mi
chicken burgers
chicken sandwiches
Elvis' peanut butter & banana
Denver sandwich
grilled cheese
gyros & doner kebabs
horseshoe sandwich
hot roast beef (aka Commercials)
Italian beef (Chicago)
Monte Cristo
open sandwiches
peanut butter & jelly
Philly cheese steak
Pinwheel sandwiches
pork tenderloin
St. Paul sandwich
sloppy Joes
tuna melts
tuna salad
western sandwiches

Who invented the sandwich? When? Where? And Why?
Acknowledging the fact that combinations of bread/pastry filled with meat or cheese and dressed with condiments have been enjoyed since ancient times, Food historians generally attribute the creation of the sandwich, as we know it today, to
John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. This Englishman was said to have been fond of gambling. As the story goes, in 1762, during a 24 hour gambling streak he instructed a cook to prepare his food in such a way that it would not interfere with his game. The cook presented him with sliced meat between two pieces of toast. Perfect! This meal required no utensils and could be eaten with one hand, leaving the other free to continue the game. Sadly, the name of real inventor of the sandwich (be it inventive cook or the creative consumer) was not recorded for posterity.

Recipes for sandwiches were not immediately forthcoming in cookbooks. Why? In England they were (at first) considered restaurant fare. In America? Many colonial cooks in the last half of the 18th century were not especially fond of imitating British culinary trends. Did colonial American cooks make sandwiches? Probably...most likely, though you will be hard pressed to find solid evidence. When viewed in historical context, it is understandable why Americans didn't begin calling their bread and meat combinations "sandwiches" until [long after the Revolution & War of 1812] the late 1830s. The primary difference between early English and American sandwiches? In England beef was the meat of choice; in America it was ham. A simple matter of local protein supply. Or??! A tasty opportunity to promote government split. You decide.

This is what the food historians have to say:

"The bread-enclosed convenience food known as the "sandwich" is attributed to John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), a British statesman and notorious profligate and gambler, who is said to be the inventor of this type of food so that he would not have to leave his gaming table to take supper. In fact, Montague was not the inventor of the sandwich; rather, during his excursions in the Eastern Mediterranean, he saw grilled pita breads and small canapes and sandwiches served by the Greeks and Turks during their mezes, and copied the concept for its obvious convenience. There is no doubt, however, that the Earl of Sandwich made this type of light repast popular among England's gentry, and in this way, his title has been associated with the sandwich ever since. The concept is supremely simple: delicate finger food is served between two slices of bread in a culinary practice of ancient origins among the Greeks and other Mediterranean peoples. Literary references to sandwiches begin to appear in English during the 1760s, but also under the assumption that they are a food consumed primarily by the masculine sex during late night drinking parties. The connotation does not change until the sandwich moves into general society as a supper food for late night balls and similar events toward the end of the eighteenth century...Charlotte Mason was one of the first English cookbook authors to provide a recipe for sandwiches...During the nineteenth century, as midday dinner moved later and later into the day, the need for hot supper declined, only to be replaced with light dishes made of cold leftovers, ingredients for which the sandwich proved preeminently suitable. Thus the sandwich became a fixture of intimate evening suppers, teas, and picnics, and popular fare for taverns and inns. This latter genre of sandwich has given rise to multitudes of working class creations...During the early years of the railroad, sandwiches proved an ideal form of fast food, especially since they could be sold at train stations when everyone got off to buy snacks...During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the sandwich came into its own, especially as a response to the Temperance Movement. Taverns and saloons offered free sandwiches with drinks in order to attract customers."
---Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Solomon H. Katz, editor, William Woys Weaver, assoicate editor [Charles Scribner's Sons:New York] 2003, Volume 3 (p. 235-6)
[NOTE: This book has far more information than can be paraphrased here. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]

"The invention of the sandwich and its acceptance as an institution is a typical example of the power of the ways of life to prevail over all so-called rules of gastronomy and even established facts of physiology and psychology. Bread, when cut into slices, has always proved a handy foundation for other food. From the buttered bread and thick slice which was used in the Tudor period as the foundation of meat dishes there is a direct line of descent to the sandwich. But according to all the rules of sciences governing nutrition the sandwich should never have been born. If a slice of bread is spread with some other appetizing food it is obvious to both eyes and nose what it is, and there is a definate psychological reaction. When, however, the appealing surface is covered by another slice of bread, it is a matter of guesswork to find out what the filling is. This is not so easy and often the eater does not try to guess at all but is satisfied with something esay to chew and swallow which satisfies his hunger. The sandwich is thus a poor substitute for a single slice of bread, spread with something won can both see and anticipate in advance. That it has all the same become a staple article of diet is in the first place due to its handiness for carrying, as compared with a slice of bread spread only with butter Sandwiches can replace a meal and avoid the necessity of carrying cooking utensils about. Their popularity owes much to the fact that the distances between home and work have increased enormously in recent times, and they can so easily be wrapped up and stowed away in a man's pocket, In the face of these advantages, the physiological and psychological attractions of a single slice with its surface openly displayed could not prevail. Eating a sandwich requires neither crockery nor cutlery, and as the hand comes in contact only with the dry side of the bread the fingers are not smeared; this even creates the fallacy that dirt from the fingers will not adhere to the bread. The ease of handling has led to further uses of the sandwich. In many countries we find sandwiches set down on plates in the home for lunch or tea, and also at sandwich tastes much the same as another, unless the filling has a very pronounced flavour...It is only high up in the culinary scale that one finds delicacies spread on bread without the coffin-lid which spells death to the flavour."
---The Origin of Food Habits, H.D. Renner [Faber and Faber:London] 1944 (p. 223-4)

"Sandwich. [Said to be named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), who once spent twenty-four hours at the gaming-table without other refreshment than some slices of cold beef placed between slices of toast. This account of the origin of the word is given by Grosley [in a publication titled] Londres (1770). Grosley's residence in London was in 1765 and he speaks of the word as having then lately come into use.]."
---Oxford English Dictionary
[NOTE: according to this source, the first printed mention of the word sandwich appeared in a journal entry of Edward Gibbon, 24 November 1762 I dined at the Cocoa Tree...That respectable body...affording every evening a sight truly English. Twenty or thirty...of the first men of the kingdom...supping at little tables...upon a bit of cold meat, or a Sandwich'.]

"...[The sandwich] was not known in America until some time later. Eliza Leslie's Directions for Cookery (1837) listed ham sandwiches as a supper dish, but it was not until much later in the century, when soft white bread loaves became a staple of the American diet, that the sandwich became extremely popular and serviceable. By the 1920s white loaf bread was referred to as "sandwich bread" or "sandwich loaf."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 283)

Early American sandwiches
A sampling of 19th century American sandwich recipes illustrates the evolution of this item from practical fare to complicated cuisine. What is the most popular American sandwich? According to our cookbooks the answer to this question is ham.

[1824] To Make Oyster Loaves [some say this the precursor to the New Orleans Po'Boy]
"Take little round loaves, cut off the top, scrape out all the crumbs, then out the oysters into a stew pan with the crumbs that came out of the loaves, a little water, and a good lump of butter; stew them together ten or fifteen minutes, then put in a spoonful of good cream, fill your loaves, lay the bit of crust carefully on again, set them in the oven to crisp. Three are enough for a side dish."
---The Virginia House-Wife, Mary Randolph, with Historical Notes and Commentaries by Karen Hess [University of South Carolina Press:Columbia] 1985 (p. 78)

[1832] Sandwiches for Travelers (includs bread notes), The Cook's Own Book, Mrs. N.K.M. Lee [Boston]

[1840] Ham sandwich, Eliza Leslie's recipe [Philadelphia PA]

[1844] 707. Sandwiches
"Cut, and spread neatly with butter, slices of biscuit, placing between every two pieces, a very thin slice of tongue. Lean ham, or the white meat of fowl may be substituted for the tongue."
---The Improved Housewife, Mrs. A.L. Webster [Harftord Ct], fifth edition, revised 1844 (p. 210)

[1866] Sandwiches
"These are made of different articles, but always in the same manner. Cold biscuit sliced thin and buttered, and a very thin slice of boiled ham or tongue, or beef, between each two slices. Home-made bread cuts better for sandwiches than baker's bread; a loaf baked for this purpose is best; take the size of a quart bowl, of risen dough, mould it in a roll, about three inches in diameter, and bake it half an hour in a quick oven.

For bread and butter sandwich cut the bread in slices, not thicker than a dollar piece, spread it evenly with sweet butter before cutting it; let the butter be very thin, lay two slices, the buttered sides together, for each sandwich; when you have enough, arrange them on flat dishes, make them in a circle around the middle of the plate as a common centre, one lapping nearly over the other; put a spirg of parsley in the centre.

Sandwiches may be made with cheese, sliced very thin between each two slices of buttered bread, also cold boiled eggs sliced, for luncheon; stewed fruit of jelly or preserve spread thin over buttered bread, makes a fine sandwich for lunhk. Any cold meat sliced thin may be made a sandwich; it is gerenally spread with made mustard; tho most delectable are those made with boiled smoked tongue or ham."
---Mrs. Crowen's American Lady's Cookery Book, Mrs. T. J. Crowen [Dick & Fitzgerald:New York] 1866 (p. 329-330)

[1869] Plain sandwiches
Cut ham or tongue very thin, trim off the fat, and cut the bread thin; spread it with very nice butter; lay meat on very smoothly. Press the other slice on very hard; trim the edges off neatly.

A dressing for sandwiches
Take a half pound of nice butter, three tablespoonfuls of mixed mustard, three spoonfuls of nice sweet oil, a little white or red pepper, a littel salt, the yolk of one egg; braid this all together very smoothly, and set it on the ice to cool. Chop very fine some tongue and ham; a little cold chicken is very nice added. Cut the bread very thin; spread it with the dressing. Then spread over the meat, then the bread, and press it together very hard. Trim off the edges, that the sandwiches may be all one size."
---Mrs. Putnam's Receipt Book and Young Housekeeper's Assistant, Mrs. E. Putnam, New and Enlarged edition [Sheldon and Company:New York] 1869 (p. 110)

[1877] Mixed sandwiches
Buckeye Cookery Book, Estelle Woods Wilcox

[1884] Sandwiches
The Boston Cook Book, Mrs. D.A. Lincoln

[1887] Sandwiches
The White House Cook Book, Mrs. F. L. Gillette

National Sandwich Day
"National" food observances (months, weeks, days) are popular in the USA. They are hosted by different organizations for specific purposes.

National Sandwich Day
In the library world, the standard reference tool used for identifying & researching national observances is a book titled Chases' Calendar of Annual Events. The earliest print reference we find for National Sandwich Day comes from Chase's Calendar of Annual Events, 1981 (p. 110). This source does not credit the origination of this day to another source. The entry is presented as fact. November 3rd, generally regarded by moderns as the birthdate of the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, credited for inventing this food. Coincidentally??! The entry for National Sandwich Month disappeared in 1981. Never to return.

"Sandwich Day. Nov. 3. A day to recognize the inventor of the sandwich, John Montague, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, who was born Nov 3, 1718. England's First Lord of the Admirality, Secretary of State of the northern Department, Postmaster General, the man after whom Capt. Cook named the Sandwich Islands in 1778. A rake and a gambler, he is said to have invented the sandwich as a time-saving nourishment while he was engaged in a 24-hour-long gambling session in 1762. He died in London, April 30, 1792."

We thought this was the 'end of the story' until we found this (unofficial?) sandwich proclamation circa 1924. Note: the date of publication is November 2nd. The next day was Lord Montague's birthday. Coincidence? We think not.

"The day of the sandwiches has arrived. It is so proclaimed by placards and posters plastered over the business districts. A new type of lunchroom substantiates the announcement--the 'sandwich house.' It may offer side lines of hot dishes and pastries, but to sandwiches it owes its existence. For them it is known and patronized. In its turn it has served to change the status of the commodity. 'A sandwich used to represent a picnic or a pink tea,' commented one business man addicted to the habit. 'At best it was just a mouthful of something to eat to tide you over until mealtime. Now it is lunch. You may order something to keep it company, but the sandwich is the main thing. It is the corn beef and cabbage, the steak and onions, the liver and bacon of other years.' Restaurant keepers agree.One of them in the financial district, who presides over a chain of sandwich buffets, believes he has hit upon the secret of the business man's desire for his midday meal. Once he was manager of a large hotel where men came in leisurely, ordered lavishly and ate copiously. That day is gone, he is convinced, as he watches throngs file past his counters and stacks of sliced bread, meat and cheese disappear. At one of his lunchrooms he feeds 700 at every lunch hour. When the day is over 1,000 sandwiches have usually been consumed. Only 25 per cent of his patrons, he estimated, call for hot dishes--the rest are sandwich eaters. This development has brought with it all the machinery of sandwich--making, now becoming as common a feature of restaurant windows as the hot cake steam plate New Yorkers know so well. There is a machine that slices the loaves and another that slices the meat. This last, at the press of a button, cuts and stacks ham, tongue, beef and so one without touch of human hands. Sandwich-making is thus facilitated and sandwiches themselves have changed not only in status but also in stature and girth. These sandwiches have little in common with the link tea or picnic offering or even with those pressed slabs in waxed paper piled up at soda fountains, for the business man's lunch is a high stack of bread, meat and salad, combined, and they make it as you order. The vogue of the sandwich is attributed to a considerable extent to the rush of modern business life. Men have no time to sit around leisurely waiting for large orders. They must grab a bite, preferably wholesome and satisfying, but essentially without delay. The sandwich has been found to fill the need. Education, too, it is said, has something to do with the matter. 'Ever since the war people have seemed to understand eating better than they did before,' said one restaurant keeper. 'Before the war you could not get away with the idea that a sandwich was enough lunch for a business man. But somehow they have cone to the conviction that a light lunch is the best thing if they expect to go back to the office and do their best during the afternoon. They have heard, too, that salads are good for you and so they have tried them out and felt much better for the experiment. Salads and sandwiches--they are the style for a business man's lunch today. That is what they want and that is what they get."
---"Sandwiches Flourishing," New York Times, November 2, 1924 (p. XX2)

National Sandwich Month
National Sandwich Day celebrates the 4th Earl of Sandwich's birthday: November 3rd. Per Chase's Calendar of Events, National Sandwich Month happened in August. This was an industry/trade proclaimed observance. Like you, we are curious why August was selected. On the other hand, most Americans are focused on holiday foods in November. August is the time when cooks crave new sandwich ideas for picnics, beach parties, and back to school. Quoting from the 1970 edition (p. 41): "National Sandwich Month. Aug. 1-31. Sponsors (1) American Bakers Assn., (2) American Dairy Assn., (3) Natl. Live Stock and Meat Board, (4) Wheat Flour Institute, (5) Wheat Grower Groups, 14. E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604." Beginning in 1952, the organizations behind this event sponsored the National Sandwich Contest. Prizes were offered; recipes were published. The last reference we find to National Sandwich Month in this particular source is 1980 (p. 75), stating: "August is National Sandwich Month. Aug. 1-31. Purpose: To call attention to the convenience, versatility and nutrition of sandwiches. Info from: National Sandwich Month, 1776 F St, NW, Washington, DC 20006.

National Sandwich Month Contest
Our research suggests Chicago-based Wheat Flour Institute's sandwich contest was part of the promotional activities during
National Sandwich Month, originating in 1952. The sandwich contest may have launched in 1955. The first winners were announced in 1956. Subsequent contests/promotions bore variant names and co-industry sponsorships likewise varied. General notes, gleaned from the New York Times, here:

"Donut Week," "Honey for Breakfast Week," "National Kraut and Frankfurter Week" are all funny, but even funnier is the fact they apparently succeed as promotional schemes. At least they keep coming, which we judge is a mark of success. Latest "push" of the kind is "National Sandwich Month," which starts Aug. 1, under the auspices of the Wheat Flour Institute, American Bakers Association and the National Restaurant Association. Bearing down on the sandwich in summer makes, we must admit, sound sense. Cooks find the food easy to fix during weather when any culinary effort is taxing. Eaters take kindly to it, too; it temps even on the hot days, which have been all too numerous recently. We speak here, of course, of the main-dish sandwich for lunch or supper, the kinds pictured today...The Wheat Flour Institute estimates that Americans eat about 27,000,000 sandwiches a day, and it turns out that 40 per cent of all restaurant orders call for sandwiches...Since it came into being, at least so the story goes, in the eighteenth century when it was served as a snack to the reluctant-to-leave-the-gambling-table Earl of Sandwich, it has developed to the point where a whole book has been written on it...Newest contribution to its preparation is "Fillings Make the Sandwich," a leaflet of twenty-six spread recipes in quantity portions (twenty-four) and family-size servings. This is available from the Wheat Flour Institute, 309 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago 6. A stamped self-addressed envelope must accompany a request."
---"Food News: Some Main-Dish Sandwiches, Jane Nickerson, New York Times, July 25, 1952 (p. 20)

"Credit John Montagu, fourth Earl of Sandwich, with an assist for Madison Avenue. When National Sandwich Month is celebrated in August, his memory will be honored by the advertising men who have elaborated on his idea of two centuries ago. A contest is being conducted among the restaurant and hotel personnel by the National Restaurant Association and the Wheat Flour Institute with a view to turning up the best new sandwich ideas suitable for restaurant and hotel service."
---"News of Advertising and Marketing Fields," New York Times, June 13, 1956 (p. 74)

"The sandwich luncheon seems firmly entrenched as a part of the American way of life....This week marked the sixth annual sandwich contest sponsored by the Wheat Flour Institute, and the "twenty best" selected for 1961 appear to bear ou the diversity theme. These twenty (from which a grand winner will be chosen later) bore such all-American titles as Crew Cut, Clam Dig and Peanut Butter Sandwich and foreign accents as Peking Pig and The Viking. The Viking is the creation of Robert Graves of New Orleans, who has submitted three previous winners. It is an interesting concoction featuring cream cheese softened with French dressing, sardines and onion slices placed between slices of French bread spread with garlic butter and garnished with stuffed olives and dill pickles. An even more unusual creation is called The Gypsy, and consists of slices of orange and onion between slices of toast spread with mayonnaise."
---"Sandwich Gets New Look", New York Times, June 3, 1961 (p. 14)

"It was almost enough to make us wish we had brought our own B.L.T. down, hold the mayo, as the "Top Four" contenders chosen from 400 original contestants gathered for the final judging of the 24th annual National Sandwich Idea Contest at the Excelsior Club yesterday. The winner was 30-year-old Jim Weisman, proprietor of Out to Lunch, a "fast-food gourmet sandwich operation" in Little Rock, Ark., for "The Garden," a grilled cheese and vegetable creation on pumpernickel bread...The contest was sponsored by the Wheat Flour Institute, representing the country's leading milllers. This year it was not cosponsored and so no other food was requried for entry. Nor were there the usual assortment of bizarre combination that were so typical in former years...Just a few creations tried the imagination, as they well might try the palate. Among them were the Will Yum Tell, a grilled sandwich of roast pork, sauerkraut, apple sauce, raisins and cheese; the bagelwich, which was similar to a corned beef, swiss cheese and sauerkraut Rubens; the sandwich Wellington, derived from beef Wellington, with a pastry crust topping turkey, ham, relish, mayonnaise and cheese on a bottom slice of rye bread, and the bacon banana bun, built up of those two ingredients on an enriched white bread hot dog roll. "We think a sandwich is as only as good as the bread it is made on," said C. Joan Reynolds, the director of the Wheat Flour Institute. The contest entries were divided into four categories of bread--ethnic (challah, bagels, croissants and pupmpernickle), variety (while wheat, rye, cracked wheat and English muffins), enriched white (hot dog rolls, hamburger rolls and white bread) and hearth (crusty free-formed rolls such as French, Italian, hard rolls and sour dough). No homeamde bread was allowed."
---"A Contest That Lives Not By Bread Alone," Mimi Sheraton, New York Times, August 8, 1979 (p. C3) [NOTE: This article contains a recipe for "The Garden" sandwich. We can forward if you wish.'

"Bob Grinstaff of New York did not enter this year's National Sandwich Contest. Just as well. His elegant open-face sandwiches shimmering with aspic and ornamented with herbs would never had progressed beyond the first round.The 25-year-old-contest sponsored by the Wheat Flour Institute has traditionally acclaimed concoctions such as the "Hawaiian Farmer" with chicken, ham, pineapple, pecans, kumquat and mozzarella, or multiplex cheeseburgers with smiling faces on them...The first of the National Sandwich Contest winner was the now-classic Reuben made with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, corned beef and Thousand Islands dressing grilled on rye bread. A still unsuccessful search for the equal of that inspiration has justified the contest ever since. This year's grand prize was awarded last week at the Waldorf-Astoria to the St. Helen's Sunnyside Special, consisting of an English muffin with Canadian bacon, pineapple, marmalade and meringue baked with an egg yolk on top. Lois Dowling of Tacoma, Wash., said it took her 20 minutes to prepare."
---"Elegant Creation: A Four-Hour Sandwich, Florence Fabricant," New York Times, August 27, 1980 (p. C3)

Looking for some of the prize-winning recipes? We own a copy of Menu Makers From the National Sandwich Idea Contest, Kathleen M. Thomas, director of Home Economics, Wheat Flour Institute editor [Cahners Books International:Boston] 1976. Original 1956 prize winning Reuben Sandwich recipe here. FoodTimeline library owns copy of this book. Happy to scan/send pages upon request.

National Sandwich Day contest
Our research indicates that Ziploc (resealable plastic bags) sponsored a National Sandwich Day contest for children, commencing 1987. This contest was held on November 3rd. Comedian Dom Deluise was the celebrity judge. Winners received savings bonds.

"Alison McCleskey's Berry Bananawich - marshmallow creme, peanut butter, bananas and strawberries on a croissant - won Tuesday's Ziploc National Sandwich Day contest. The fifth-grader won $700 in U.S. Savings bonds and $700 for her school, St. John's Episcopal School in Abilene, Texas. Dom Deluise and a panel judged the finals in Los Angeles. Second place tie: second-grader Dan Crawford of Hoffman Estates, Ill., and sixth-grader Kate Warwick of Rome, N.Y."
---"Grand Sandwich," Tracey Wong Briggs, USA Today, November 4, 1987

"Start spreading the news -- the "United Nations Sandwich" has been crowned "America's Favorite Sandwich" by a panel of sandwich experts at the fifth annual Ziploc(R) National Sandwich Day Contest. "United Nations Sandwich," one of six national contest finalists, was created by Aislynn Poquette, a fifth-grader at Tangier Smith Elementary School in Mastic Beach, N.Y. Other top contenders included "Peanut Butter Pumpkin," "Triple Dipple," "The Nose Opener," "Everything Deluxe" and the "Pita Power Snack."
---"United Nations Sandwich captures America's Favorite Sandwich Title," PR Newswire, November 12, 1991

The last reference we find to Ziploc's contest was a poor review from Consumer's Union, circa 1995:
"The magazine bestows four contests with the "dubious honor of being the `most commercial' " for promoting their sponsors' corporate image or excessively using logos and brand names. They are the Oxy 10 $10,000 Scholarship, Playskool's Definitely Dinosaurs Contest for first-graders, Sears Optical's The Eyes Have It! poster contest and Ziploc's National Sandwich Day Contest."
---"Corporate contests often fail students," Tamara Henry, USA Today, April 19, 1995
See also:
National Sandwich Month Contest.

Recipes are not invented, they evolve. In the case of the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich (BLT), culinary evidence confirms this recipe descended from late Victorian-era tea sandwiches. The earliest recipes for BLTs were listed under different names in cookbooks.

Most of the ingredients of the BLT (bread, bacon, lettuce) were known to the Ancient Romans. Methods for toasting bread were also practiced during this time. Tomatoes were introduced to Europe in the 16th century. Mayonnaise? An 18th century French invention. According to the food historians, modern sandwiches were also invented in the 18th century. We searched serveral 19th-20th century European and American cookbooks to pin down the introduction of the BLT. It can be argued that the progenitors of BLTs are Club Sandwiches as they are similar in composition and ingredents. About club sandwiches.

"Tomato and Bacon Sandwiches.
Cut white bread in 1/4 in. slices, lightly toast slices on one side. Spread untoasted side with mayonnaise dressing; cover half the slices with peeled and thinly sliced firm tomatoes, spread tomatoes with mayonnaise and cover with thin slice of broiled bacon. Cover bacon with lettuce leaves and remaining slices of bread. Cut in triangles and serve with sweet gherkins."
---Calendar of Sandwiches & Beverages, Elizabeth O. Hiller [P.F. Voland Co.:New York] 1920 (unpaginated; recipe is calendared for September Thirtieth.)

"Bacon sandwiches.
Bacon is an ingredient of many of the sandwiches in this book, but in those under this heading it is the principal one. Sandwiches containing bacon are particularly good for on hikes or picnics. The recipe below is specially suited for such an occasion, when the bacon may be broiled over and open fire in the woods."
---Seven Hundred Sandwiches/Florence A. Cowles [Little, Brown:Boston] 1929 (p. 31)
[NOTE: Cowles also includes recipes for "Summer Sandwich," "Bacon Salad Sandwich," Baconion Sandwich." and more. These sandwiches feature bacon, lettuce, mayonnaise, and other ingredients (pickles, onions etc.). They do not yet include tomato. Recipes for tomato sandwiches (p. 127) and lettuce sandwiches (p. 128-9) do not include bacon.]

Who coined the acronym "BLT," when & why?
We don't know.

John Mariani hypothesizes this term evolved from diner/lunchroom slang: "Lunch counters have provided etymologists and linguists with one of the richest sources of American slang, cant, and jargon, usually based on a form of verbal shorthand bandied back and forth between waiters and cooks. Some terms have entered familiar language of most Americans--"BLT" (a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich)...and others--but most remain part of a bewildering and colorful language specific to the workers in such establishments."
---The Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar Freidman:New York] 1999 (p. 190)

Barry Popik, etymologist expert offers this: "The BLT sandwich (bacon, lettuce, tomato) possibly comes from Chicago and was named after its famed Chicago Tribune writer BLT, or Bert L. Taylor. The "BLT" is first cited in print in 1941." Our gut says the initials/acronym is a coincidence. Colorful columnist Bert Leston Taylor (AKA "BLT") passed away in 1921. We think: if Mr. Taylor did not write sometimes write about food in his columns no one would hypothesize a connection. Still? The idea is intriguing. Why not call this sandwich lettuce, bacon, tomato (LBT), tomato lettuce bacon (TLB) or any other variation on this acromymic theme?

Our survey of historic newspapers/magazines [Proquest Historic Newspapers, NewspaperArchive. com, Readers Guide Retrospective] returned references for "BLT" sandwiches in 1950. Mainstream print evidence confirms the "BLT" raged in the early 1960s but the sandwich acronym was not universally recognized. How else to explain editors feeling compelled to offer readers explanations?

Ingredient notes:lettuce... tomatoes (in Europe)... mayonnaise... bread & toast... bacon

Breadless sandwiches?
First surfacing during the Great Depression, early descriptions do not indicate this was a "make do" affair for people who could not afford bread. Rather, it was presented as a creative upscale interpretation on a well established theme. In recent years "breadless" sandwiches have been rediscovered as practical solutions for people on bread-free diets. In fact, people have been stripping bread from sandwiches forever. Think: hamburgers without buns. Today's bread alternatives feature thinly sliced meat, "meaty" vegetables (eggplant, portobello mushrooms) and lettuce. These "breadless sandwiches" are often rolled, not sliced.

"Three guesses won't reveal the shape and form of the latest innovation in sandwiches. Believe it or not, the newest adaptation of the sandwich is minus the two ever-present slices of bread. Sandwiches, heretofore, have been known as a snack of some particuarly satisfying morsel thrust between slices of bread. At first, the number of slices was limited to two, and then some one devised a way of piling chicken, tomatoes, bacon, lettuce and dressing together in a mountainous form, and the number of slices was accomodatingly rushed up to three. The club sandwich, as it was named, became famous and other combinations just as satisfying to hungry appetites were brought to light, all including the three slices of toasted bread. These were immediately called double-deckers. Then came the discussion--how should we eat a three-tiered sandwich? There was a general controversy over which it should be, and still the battle is waged, fork vs. fingers for sandwiches. To make matters more complicated; and giving the fork a chance for active play, the sandwich loaf made its appearance. This loaf, as you all must know by now, is a delicate triple-layerd affair generously frosted wtih creamy cheese. Now the latest in sandwiches, this breadless affair, simply demands the use of a fork, as you will readily note upon reading the recipe. Here it is--the eggplant-tomato sandwich:
"Eggplant-tomato sandwich:
Cut slices of eggplant about one-quarter inch thick and dip them in beaten egg which has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Then crumb with fine bread crumbs and saute in butter or part butter and fat. When the eggplant is tender, put between each two layers of eggplant a slices of fresh tomato and two strips of bacon about 3 inches in length. The bacon should be previously broiled until crisp and kept warm on the stove. Place soft, melted yellow cheese, on the top layer of each eggplant sandwich and place in the oven until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately after being removed from the oven. Plan to serve two sandwiches for each person, as they are bound to make an immediate hit. Garnish the platter with parsley and stuffed olives or radishes. Try eggplant-tomato sandwiches for buffet supper."
---"'Breadless Sandwich' is Latest Innovation," Dorothea Duncan, Washington Post, January 27, 1935 (p. S6)

"Breadless sandwiches are great for snacks, and what a good way to use up small amounts of leftover potato or egg salad and single slices of cold meat. Just put about two tablespoons on a slice of meat and fold the meat slice in half."
---"Kitchen Tip," Chicago Daily Defender, June 4, 1970 (p. 28)

Related items? Club sandwiches & Open sandwiches.

Food historians tell us the practice of serving savory foods before meals was established in ancient cultures. Why? Long before the advent of modern nutrition science, people who studied the relationship between food and the human body recognized the ability of some items to what the appetite and encourage proper digestion. Apicius [Ancient Rome]contains many such recipes. About

The serving of savory protein/bread or pastry combinations [croutons, crustades] continued through the Middle ages, migrating toward refined spicy vinegar-based specialties of the Renaissance table. "Canapes," as we known them today, originated in France. They were a creation of classic French cuisine and, as such, were quickly adopted by countries (ex. England, United States) in the habit of following French culinary trends. In other cuisines this concept evolved differently.

What is a canape?

"Canapes--The primary meaning of this word is a slice of crustless bread, cut in rectangular shapes, the size and thickness of which varies depending on the nature of ingredients to be put on them. Canapes which are also called croutons are made of toasted or fried bread and can either be spread with various mixtures or left plain, depending on the nature of the dishes for which they are to serve as an accompaniment. Canapes are mostly used as an accompaniment to winged game, and, in this case, they are spread with a gratin forcemat or some other forcemeat and when actually at table the trail intestines of birds, which are not drawn for cooking, are also spread on the canapes. Recipes for preparing these will be found under the entries entitled Roties...Canapes (hors-d'oeuvre)--These canapes, which are made from crustless bread, home-made bread, common brioche or pastry, are garnished with various compositions. Recipes for this type of canape, some of which are referred to as Canapes a la russe, will be found in the section entitled Hors-D'Oeuvre. See Cold hors-d'oeuvre. Canapes for various dishes--These canapes are cut and browned in the same ways as those described above. They are mostly described as croutons and are used as foundations fro fried or grilled escalopes, noisettes, tournedos, kidneys, etc."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Prosper Montagne [Crown Publishers:New York] 1961 (p. 208)

What is the derivation of the term and when did it begin to appear in English?

This is what the food historians say about canapes:
"Canape. A French word which basically means sofa or couch, has become a culinary term in France since the late 18th century, when it was applied by analogy to the thin pieces of fried or toasted bread which served as supports for various savoury toppings. A century later, in the 1890s, it became in English word referring to a titbit of this kind. Now that yet another hundred years have passed, the usage continues, although it sounds old-fashioned and is most likely to be found in contexts such as catered receptions or 'cocktail parties'...Canapes may be hot or cold. If hot, they come close to what are called savouries in British English.In either case they are capable of being classified as hors d'oeuvres in some culinary contexts. Large canapes trespass on the territory of the open sandwich. In Italy, the term crostini continues to have much the same meaning as the old French usage. Thin slices of toast, cut into e.g. square or diamond shapes are used as a base for a savour topping. "
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 128)

"Canapes are small thin pieces of bread or toast topped with some sort of savoury garnish or spread, and served as snacks with drinks. The word canape means literally 'sofa' in French (it comes ultimately from medieval Latin canopeum, source of English canopy), and the idea behind its gastronomic application is that the toppings--anchovies, caviar, smoked salmon, ham, etc.--sit on the pieces of the bread as if on a sofa. It is a relatively recent introduction into English, first mentioned in Mrs. Beeton's Cookery Book (1890)."
---An A-Z of Food and Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 53-4)

A survey of canape recipes through time:

"Anchovy canapes.

Cut some slices of crumb of bread, 1/4 inch thick; cut these in pieces 2 1/2 inches long, 1 1/2 inch wide; and fry them in clarified butter, till a nice golden colour; When cold, spread the pieces with Anchovy Butter; Steep some anchovies in cold water; drain, open, and trim them; Place 4 fillets of anchovies, lengthwise, on each piece of bread, leaving three small spaces between the fillets; fill the first space with chopped hard-boiled white of egg; fill the middle space with chopped parsley, and the third with chopped hard-boiled yolk of egg; Dress the canapes in a flat china boat, or small dish, generally used for all these cold Hors d'oeuvre."
---The Royal Cookery Book, Jules Gouffe, translated and adapted for English use by Alphonse Gouffe [Sampson Low, Son & Marston:London] 1869 (p. 409)
[NOTE: This source also contains recipes for shrimp canapes, caviar canapes, crayfish tails canapes, lobster canapes, and smoked salmon canapes.]

"Hot Canapes (Roties)

These are served as garnishes or entremets.
Veal-Kidney Roties. Take the kidnesy from a roast loin of veal. Chop and pound them very fine with their own fat, a little parsley, the peel of a lime, a little sugar. Spread on little slices of bread. Butter a pie dish and arrange your roties on it. put them into the oven until they have a nice color. Sprinkle with sugar and pass under the broiler to glaze.
Roties a la Richelieu. Make a salpicon of diced veal sweetbreads, cockscombs, and artichoke bottoms. Dice mushrooms and heat in butter, mositen with gravy, add the salpicon, cook with white veal stock, season, thicken with raw egg yolks. Let cool. Spread on bread slices, brush with beaten egg, fry, serve with a reduced white veal stock.
Capon Roties. Make a forcemeat of roast capon with sugar and lime rind. Prepare like either of the above.
Cucumber Roties. Cube, marinate, and press your cucmbers. Heat in butter with scallions and parsley, add gravy and bouillon, recude. Thicken with 3 raw egg yolks. Let cool. Add 2 more raw egg yolks. Spread on slices of bread. Smooth with a whole beaten egg. Bread. Fry. Serve with gravy.
Bacon Roties. Dice a pound of bacon and a slice of ham. Dry out and drain. Mix with parsley, scallions, 4 egg yolks, coarse pepper. Spread on slices of bread. fry. Pour a cullis, which must be very lightly salted, into your platter, adding a dash of vinegar. Put your rotis into this sauce and serve.
Similar roties can be prepared with spinach, and green beans, with poultry livers, with ham, with anchovies, and with fish, by adapting the above recipes."
---Alexandre Dumas' Dictionary of Cuisine edited, abridged and translated by Louis Colman, from Le Grand Dictionnaire de Cuisine [1873] [Simon & Schuster:New York] 1958 (p. 139-140)

"234. --Anchovy toast.

Ingredients: Toast 2 or 3 slices of bread, or, if wanted very savoury, fry them in clarified butter, and spread on them the paste, No. 233. Made mustard, or a few grains of cayenne, may be added to the paste before laying on the toast."
---Mrs. Beeton's Cook Book, Isabella Beeton [title pages missing, probably 1874]
[NOTE: recipe no. 233 is for Anchovy Butter or Paste]


--Take slices of the crumb of bread about half an inch thick, and stamp them out in rounds, ovals, or diamonds, then fry them in boiling oil or butter till they are lightly browned. These form the foundation of the canapes. They may be seasoned and garnished with anchovy, shrimp, or lobster paste, toasted cheese, hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, beetroot, crayfish, or salmon. A combination of two or three things gives them a handsomer appearance. They should be dished on a napkin and garnished with parsley, &c. Time to fry, ten minutes."
---Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery with Numerous Illustrations [Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co:London] (p. 103)

"Sardine Canapes
Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Mrs. D. A. Lincoln

"Sandwiches & Canapes
," Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Fannie Merritt Farmer

[1896:New York]
Cut serveral thin slices of bread, remove the crusts and toast them till they are of an even brown. Butter slightly and spread with any kind of potted meat or fish. Put two slices together, and cut them in long strips. They afford a tasty dish for tea or supper parties."
---The Cook Book By "Oscar" or the Waldorf, Oscar Tschirky [Saalfield Publishing:Chicago] 1896 (p. 126)
[NOTE: This book also includes recipes for: artichoke bottoms for canapes, canapes of caviar, cheese canapes, canapes of crab, egg canapes, eggs and caviar canapes, canapes of lobster, canapes Lorenzo, canapes Madison, olive and anchovy canapes, olive and caper canapes, oyster canapes, canapes of sardines, canapes of smoked salmon and tricolor canapes.]

"Canapes or Toasts
which are quite different from Tartines (garnished slices of bread and butter) are made from the white bread cut into various shapes and no more than 1/2 cm (1/5 in) thick. These are then either fried in clarified butter or moreusually toasted. As a general rule the ganrish for a Canape should consist of only one main item. But without destroying this principle, a combination of various items is acceptable provided that the flavours and presentation are in harmony. The best sort of garnish for canapes is fresh butter mixed with a puree of, if very finely chopped meat, poultry, shellfish, fish, cheese etc. It is recommended that the toast should be very well buttered whilst still hot so as to keep it soft and this holds good for any garnish used from Canapes even when it appears that butter does not enter logically into the composition of the garnish, e.g. when it includes marinated fish, anchovy, fillets of herring etc. When garnishing Canapes with compound butter based on a puree it is recommended that this is done by using a piping bag and fancy tube. This method is correct, quick and gives the opportunity for individual artistry in presentation."
---The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery [Le Guide Culinaire], A. Escoffier, translated by H.L. Cracknell and R.J. Kaufmann [John Wiley & Sons:New York] 1979 (P. 123-4)
[NOTE: Escoffier lists these canapes in the Hors-d'oeuvre section: canapes a l'Amiral, canapes d'Anchois, canapes a l'Arlequine, canapes au Caviar, canapes au crevettes, canapes city, canapes a la danoise, canapes a l'ecarlate, canapes d'ecrevisses, canapes au gibier, canapes d'homard, canapes Lucile, canapes au poisson, canapes printaniers, and canapes rochelais. He lists these canapes in the Savories section: canapes or toasts, canapes cadogan, canapes a l'ecossaise, canapes des gourmets, canapes de haddock, canapes Ivanhoe, canapes aux oeufs brouilles, canapes Rabelais, canapes de saumon, and canapes Saint-Antoine.]

[1919:New York]
," International Jewish Cookbook, Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

"To make canapes:
cut thin slices of bread in fancy shapes, or neat slices, and toast them (not too hard and dry) often upon one side only, or saute them in olive oil. These shapes may be oval, diamond, crescent or any form one chooses. The next step is to spread them with a savory butter or highly seasoned paste. On the butter or paste, arrange bits of fish, meat or any appetizeing foods, taking care that neither flavors nor colors clash and also that garnishes are decorations are simple and effective."
---A Book of Hors D'oeuvres, Lucy G. Allen [Little, Brown and Company:Boston] 1925 (p. 6)
[NOTE: Canape recipes included in this book: Anchovy, Tomato and anchovy, Artichoke and Caviar, Caviar and tomato, Caviar salad, Caviar with aspic, Cheese, Chicken and Pepper, Clam (Hot), CloverLeaf, Crab neat, Curried lobster (hot), Danish, Devilled tongue, Evelope, Epicurian, Herring, Hollandaise (Hot), Italian, Latticed, Lobster, Lobster and pimiento, Manhattan tongue, Olive and cheese, Oriental, Pate de foie gras, Pickled lobster, Quick caviar, Ripe olive and egg, Russell (Caviar), Russian (Caviar), Sardine, Savory (Hot), Shrimp, Southern (Hot), Striped, Tomato and bacon.]

Tranches de pain de mie, taillees de forme rectangulaire, dont la grandeur et l'epaisseur varient suivant la piece qu'elles doivent supporter. Les canapes, designes aussi sous le nom de croutons, sont grilles ou frits au beurre, et farcis ou non, selon la nature des articles qui'ils accompagnent. Les canapes sout surtout employes comme accompagnement des gibiers a plume, et sont, dans se cas, presque toujours recouverts de farce a gratin ou d'une farce perparee, sur table meme, avec l'interieur de certains oiseaux cuits sans etre vides. On trouvera des methodes pour appreter ces dernieres farces au mot roties..Canapes (Hors-d'oeuvre).--Ces canapes, qui se font en pain de mie, en pain de menage ou en brioche commune, se garnissent avec des compositions diverses. De de genre de canapes, dont quelques-un sont designes sous le nom de Canapes a la russe, out trouvera les modes de preparations a la serie des hours d'oeuvre."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Prosper Montagne [Librarie Larousse:Paris] 1938 (p. 277)
[NOTE: This is the first edition of the famous Larousse Gastronomique cooking encyclopedia. There are many updated editions, many translated into English. Your librarian can help you find these.]

Related item? Pinwheel sandwiches.

Chicken burgers
What exactly is a chicken burger? Great question! With no exact answer.

Ground protein mixtures bound with egg, bulked with breading, & blasted with spices have been enjoyed from ancient times forwards. Think: fish cakes, croquettes, timbales, & kofta. This is a short course on meatloaf. Recipes and proteins vary according to culture and cuisine. Until recently, most of these dishes required pre-cooked meats. It was a great way to serve leftovers. Today's supermarket meat counters offer an interesting variety of raw ground protein products. All of which can be assembled, formed, combined for cooking on whatever heat source to satisfy whichever course. American food companies offer similar products promoted for convenience.

The term "chicken burger" first surfaces in USA print after WWII. Recipes are all over the culinary map. The unifiying "burger" factor means nestled in a personal-sized bread begging for condiments.

[1946: Barnyard burgers made with ground chicken]
"Chicken Burgers. Barnyard-burgers are made from ground cold chicken, if this delicacy is ever left lying around at your home, or turkey or roast. Onion and bread stuffing may be added, moistened with one or two eggs and and seasoned to taste. Saute until brown in chicken fat and serve on whopping big biscuits."---"Hamburger Recipes are Items for Collectors, With a Range to Suit Cannibal and Gourmet," Corsicana Daily Sun [TX], July 18, 1948 (p. 2) [NOTE: most likely this ground chicken was pre-cooked, see 1957.]

[1955: commercial product]
"It's New. Chicken Burgers, 7 oz, 49 cents."---display ad, News Palladium [Benton Harbor MI], December 15, 1955 (p. 25) [NOTE: no description or illustration.]

[1956: barbecued Barnyard burgers ]
"Chicken burgers. One cup cooked chicken, chopped, 1 egg slightly beaten, 1 cup soft bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons minced parsley, 1 tablespoon minced onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt; dash of pepper. Combine all ingredients and form into 4 patties. Broil until brown on both sides. Serve hot in toasted enriched buns. Garnish with stuffed olive."---"Tuna and Chicken Burgers Add Variety to Barbecue," The Bee [Danville VA], June 7, 1956 (p. 8)

[1957: pre-cooked chicken patties]
"...the newest taste treats of them all...Chicken Burgers, Pre-cooked chicken, ground and seasoned and made into patties. Can be fried or broiled. each 19 cents"---display ad, Berkshire Eagle [MA], January 24, 1957 (p. 28)

[1961: fast food chicken sandwich]
Chicken sandwiches are served on hamburger-type buns with similar condiment/vegetable choices.

[1966: canned chicken burgers]
"Chicken burgers, 2 cans 27 cents."---display ad, Journal-Daily News [Hamilton OH] July 6, 1966 (p. 16)

[1989: chicken burgers promoted as low-cholesterol alternatives]
"If you're worried that you'll have to skip spring and summer barbecues to stay on a heart-health diet, here's some good news for the chef. The test kitchens have developed two new flavorful recipes, low in fat and without added salt that you can serve at yopur next barbecue while you deep your cholesterol in check. Mouth-watering Barbecue Chicken Burgers are a tasty alternative to traditional, high fat foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers. Filled with oats for a hearty texture and flavor, these burgers are a healthy source of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber....To booste their nutritional benefit, why not serve Barbecue Chicken Burgers on whole wheat buns with lettuce and tomato? For an added burst of flavor, top them with a tangy, yogurt-based sauce, instead of condiments high in sodium...

Barbecue Chicken Burgers
2 1/2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
One 8-ounce carton low fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
6 whole wheat hamburger buns, split, toasted.
Lightly coat rack of broiler pan with vegetable oil cooking spray. Combine chicken, oats, 1/2 cup yogurt, onion, egg whites, parsley and 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; mix well. Shape to form 6 burgers. Place on rack of prepared broiler pan or over medium-hot coals on outdoor grill so burgers are 4-5 inches from heat. Broil 5 minutes; turn. Continue broiling 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. For sauce, combine remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, mustard and remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder; mix well. Top each burger with 1 tablespoon sauce. Serve on whole wheat bun. Garnish with lettuce and tomato, if desired."---"Enjoy barbecues and still keep cholesterol in check," The Telegraph [Alton IL]. May 31, 1989 (p. B5)
Related foods? Chickenfurters & Turkey bacon.

Chicken sandwiches (fast food)
While recipes for breaded, fried, boneless chicken descend from Old World recipes (think:
wiener schnitzel, S. Truett Cathy's Atlanta-based Chick-Fil-A is generally credited for introducing chicken sandwiches to the fast food world. They may (or may not) have been the first food restaurant to make a chicken sandwich. They were, however, the first to capitalize on it. In the American land of hamburgers & hot dogs, this was a pretty daring and brilliant move.

"1961 Truett invents the boneless breast of chicken sandwich, calling it a "Chick-fil-A." He perfected the recipe over a four-year period using cooking techniques from his mother’s humble boarding house kitchen."
SOURCE: company web.

Records of the U.S. Patent & Trademark officeconfirm Chick-Fil-A brand foods were introduced to the American public June 27, 1964:

"Word Mark CHICK-FIL-A Goods and Services IC 029 030. US 046. G & S: BREAD CRUMBS (SEASONED COATER), PICKLES (KOSHER DILL CHIPS), AND PEANUT OIL. FIRST USE: 19640601. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19640627 Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS Design Search Code 03.15.03 - Chickens, hen, chicken; Chickens, rooster; Chicks; Rooster 03.15.24 - Stylized birds and bats 27.03.03 - Animals forming letters or numerals Serial Number 72296117 Filing Date April 22, 1968 Current Filing Basis 1A Original Filing Basis 1A Registration Number 0866527 Registration Date March 11, 1969 Owner (REGISTRANT) CHICK-FIL-A, INC. CORPORATION GEORGIA 535 CENTRAL AVE., SUITE 102 HAPEVILLE GEORGIA 30054 Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED Type of Mark TRADEMARK Register PRINCIPAL Renewal 1ST RENEWAL 19890311 Live/Dead Indicator LIVE"
About the founder:
"S. Truett Cathy likes to say that he first got in the restaurant business at the age of 8. At that tender age he bought six Cokes for a quarter, then sold them to his neighbors for a nickel apiece. His profit on a half dozen sales was a nickel. Fifty-four years later, as founder and president of Chick-fil-A, Inc., Cathy predicts his company's sales for 1983 will reach about $130 million...In 1946 Cathy opened his first restaurant, a coffee shop with 10 stools and four tables and chairs across from the Ford Motor Co. plant in Atlanta. Five years later he opened another one. The fare at these modest restaurants was the usual--hamburgers, steaks, chicken. The chicken, though, was a problem. It always took longer to cook, and when everything else in an order was ready, the chicken held it up. 'We finally discovered you could cut the cooking time in half by taking the bone out,' Cathy said. He decided to use just the breast portion, did some experimenting to develop a light breading, putting the whole thing on a bun, added some cole slaw and potato salad, and Chick-fil-A was born. That was about 1960. In 1967, Chick-fil-A opened 'literally in a hole in a wall' in its first shopping center in Atlanta. 'In 1974, we opened up 14 units, a milestone for us,' Cathy said. 'Now we're coast to coast..."...Full meals, salads and desserts have been added to the menu, but the classic Chick-fil-A meal is centered around a solid chicken breast, covered with a thin bread coating...Cathy claims Chick-fil-A has the world's record forooking a chicken breast--four minutes. It took a long time for Chick-fil-A to get much national attention with its boneless breast sandwich. Today, many fast food restaurants offer something similar. 'We say we're the first and the best,' Cathy said."
--- "Cathy Puts His Chicken Where Your Mouth Is," The Winchester Star [VA], December 19, 1983 (p. 30)

Chick-Fil-A also laid foundation for today's popular shopping mall food courts:
"When S. Truett Cathy started his Chick-fil-A Inc. restaurant chain 21 years ago, he had trouble convincing mall developers to lease him space. Developers then believed that eating and shopping did not mix. Cathy demolished that theory. A year after his first Chick-fil-A opened in Atlanta's Greenbriar Mall in 1967, it had the highest sales per square foot in the shopping center. Landlords still discouraged the idea in the first few years, but Cathy continued to open new outlets in malls in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He discovered that malls presented special opportunities. For one thing, Chick-fil-A could take advantage of a captive market, often luring in passers-by with free samples of chicken breast sandwiches. Locating restaurants in malls also eliminated the need for real estate selection and construction of buildings and parking lots, allowing faster growth. Today, the Atlanta-based company has 366 mall restaurants in 31 states and annual sales of $181 million. Instead of discouraging fast food companies, developers now design shopping centers around them with sprawling food courts."
---"Why Chick-Fil-A Is Moving Away From the Malls," Anonymous, Georgia Trend [Norcross] May 1988.Vol.3, Iss. 9; Sec. 1. pg. 87

Related foods? Chicken nuggets & chicken burgers.

Most food historians agree that the club sandwich was probably created in the United States during the late 19th/early 20th century. The where & who behind this classic sandwich remains a matter of culinary debate. The most popular theory contends this sandwich originated in men's social clubs, most notably the Saratoga Club in Saratoga, NY.

Origin theories
"Club sandwich ...James Beard, in American Cookery (1972), insists...that the original club sandwiches were made with only two slices of toast...He and others have also cited the alternate name of "clubhouse sandwich," which suggest its origins were in the kitchens that prepared food for men's private social clubs. The first appearance of the club sandwich in print was in Ray L. McCardell's Conversations of a Chorus Girl in 1903, and recipes were printed in Fannie Farmer's "Boston Cooking-School Cookbook" in 1906, indicating the item had been popular for some time. A letter to The New York Times (March 9, 1983 p. C4) cited an explanation of the sandwich's origins in a book entitled New York, a Guide to the Empire State (1940, p. 309-310): "In 1894 Richard Canfield...the debonair patron of art, purchased the Saratoga Club [in Saratoga, NY ] to make it a casino...the club sandwich [originated] in its kitchens."
---The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 87)

"Some believe that it [the club sandwich] was originally only a two-decker, perhaps matching the two-decker club cars' running on U.S. railroads from 1895."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 692)

"Origin of the Club Sandwich
It will not surprise any who know how frequently most excellent things are born of necessity to know that the club sandwich originated through accident., A man, we are told, arrived at his home one night after the family and servants had retired, and being hungry, sought the pantry and the ice chest in search of something to eat. There were remnants of many things in the source of supplies, but no one thing that seemed to be present in sufficient abundance to satisfy his appetite. The man wanted, anyway, some toast. So he toasted a couple of slices of bread. Then he looked for butter, and incidentally something to accompany the toast as a relish. Besides the butter he found mayonnaise, two or three slices of cold broiled bacon, and some pieces of cold chicken. These he put together on a slice of toast, and found, in a tomato, a complement for all the ingredients at hand. Then he capped his composition with a second slice of toast, ate, and was happy. The name club was given to it through its adoption by a club of which the originator was a member. To his friends, also members of the club, he spoke of the sandwich, and they had one made, then and there, at the club, as an experiment, and referred to it afterward as the " club sandwich." As such, its name went out to other clubs, restaurants, and individuals, and as such it has remained. At least, this is the story as it is generally told."
---Salads, Sandwiches, and Chafing Dish Recipes, Marion H. Neil [1916] (p.91-92)

Historic recipes

The oldest recipe we have for something called a club sandwich from a American print source was published in 1897. Note: the ingredients are classic BUT it is not the triple-decker item we are currently used to being served (though? Just last year in Michigan we were served In England, beef would have been the meat of choice; in America it would have been ham.

The Coogler Club Sandwich
""Uncle Bud" Kernedle, he who presides over Durand's restaurant during the night hours, has promulgated the Coogler Club sandwich.... The Coogler sandwich consists of a slice of ham, two slices of pickles and a slice of turkey placed between thin pieces of light bread, along with a slice of tongue and an artistic touch of mustard. The sandwich will be copyrighted by the Coogler Club."
---"The Coogler Club Sandwich," Atlanta Constitution, May 30, 1897 (p. 10)

"Club Sandwich
Does your little one go to school and take a lunch? If so, prepare a club sandwich for the luncheon basket. Cut the bread in thin slices, toast and butter. Slice the white meat from a roast chicken, salt, pepper, and add a dash of mustard to suit taste. Put between the layers of chicken a slice of broiled breakfast bacon, not too well done. Lay next to toast two pieces of crisp lettuce, and you have the most palatable as well as healthful thing in the way of sandwiches."
---"Club Sandwich," New York American, April 6, 1898 (p. 10)

"An Atlantic City hotel serves a club sandwich that is composed of broiled ham, cold chicken, lettuce and mayonnaise dressing between thin toast. This is one of the newest evolutions of a dish that promises to rival hash as a general mixing up of foods. The club sandwich began mildly as a sandwich of cold chicken and lettuce; then warm broiled bacon was added, which in turn gave way to ham. The additional of mayonniase dressing with broiled ham seems rather startling, but under the mysterious influence of the toast, presumably, it has obtained a repuation among the hotel's patrons.--(New York Sun)"
---"Club Sandwich Rivals Hash," Boston Daily Globe, August 5, 1900 (p. 33)

"Club Sandwich
Toast a slice of bread evenly and lightly butter it. On one half put, first, a thin slice of bacon which has been broiled till dry and tender, next a slice of the white meat of either turkey or chicken. Over one half of this place a circle cut from a ripe tomato and over the other half a tender leaf of lettuce. Cover these with a gererous layer of mayonnaise, and complete this delicious "whole meal" sandwich with the remaining piece of toast."
---Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book, Isabel Gordon Curtis [Phelps Publishing:New York] 1903 (p. 224)

When did the the "club sandwich" grow from two slices of bread to three? Most of the recipe books from 1940 onward dictate three slices of toast. The earliest recipe we find for the triple decker sandwich was published in 1924:
"Shad-Roe Caviar Club Sandwiches
1 cup shad-roe caviar
3/4 cup minced ham
1/4 cup olives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
Cut three thin slices of white bread. Spread one with shad-roe caviar. Spread another with mayonnaise and sprinkle thickly with minced ham and olives. Butter the remaining slice of bread, then place the slice spread with mayonnaise over the slice spread with the caviar. Put a crisp lettuce leaf on top of each and cover with the plain buttered slice of bread. This makes a sandwich of three layers."
---The New Butterick Cook Book, Flora Rose [1924] (p. 149)

Over the decades there have many variations on this sandwich. Some are for presentation (cutting off the crust, cutting into triangle shapes, garnishes, serving instructions--some cookbooks even have guests making these right at the table!) others tinker with the ingredients:

"Russian Club Sandwiches
Prepare as many slices hot, fresh toast as required. Place a large slice ripe tomato on half the pieces of toast, lay two anchovies on top of tomato, sprinkle a teaspoon finely-chopped celery over, top with mayonnaise dressing, then cover with balance of toast."
---Every Woman's Cook Book, Mrs. Chas. F. Oritz [1926] (p. 592)

Florence A. Cowles' 1929 notes on club sandwiches:
"Who invented and christened the club sandwich? And how, why, when and where? No authoritative answers to these questions are available. One legend has it that a man came home late and hungry from his club one night, raided the ice box and made himself a super-sandwich which he dubbed "club." Another says that the chef of some club made himself a reputation by devising this special type of comestible. Anyway, who cares, and what difference does it make? The club sandwich is here to stay. It is a meal in itself, and a meal which may have highly diversified component parts, as long as the principal specifications of toast, meat and salad ingredients are adhered to. Originally it was constructed on the toppling tower plan, but in any other shape it tastes as good and convenience now dictates a more open formation which may be readily attacked. The club sandwich may consist of anywhere from one to five stories. The foundation is always toast, but the superstructure depends on the maker's fancy--and the materials at hand. The sandwich should be eaten with knife and fork."
---Seven Hundred Sandwiches, Florenece A. Cowles [1929] (p. 184-5)
[NOTE: this book contains 17 different recipes for club sandwiches, including an Open Club Sandwich which is served on three triangular pieces of toast radiating from the center of the plate. Other interesting recipes include the Five Course Sandwich (each layer represents a different course from dessert to appetizer), Picture Club Sandwich (French bread) and Bean Club Sandwich (baked beans, bacon & pickles].

"Russian Club Sandwich
This is a miniature course dinner, beginning with fruit cocktail and ending with a sweet. Cut six thin, round slices of bread, the smallest an inch and a half in diameter and the largest four inches. Lay the largest slice on a plate and spread with jam. On it lay the next largest slice of bread and spread with cream cheese. Then the next slice, buttered, and on this lay bacon or chicken with lettuce and mayonnaise. On the fourth piece of bread lay a slice of tomato and on the fifth a slice of cucumber, each slice of bread being buttered and each vegetable having a bit of mayonnaise and lettuce. On the top piece of bread, unbuttered, lay a slice of banana or other fruit and crown with a stuffed olive. If the layers prove topply they may be secured with toothpicks, but avoid this if possible."
---ibid (p. 188)

The general consensus of several American cookbooks published between 1920-1980 suggest the ingredients of the "classic" triple decker club sandwich are:

Toast (white is most often cited, with crust)
Tomatoes (sliced)
Chicken (cold, sliced)

Related items: Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato sandwiches. Opposite item? Breadless sandwiches!

Grilled cheese
Food historians generally agree that cooked bread and cheese combinations [in many different forms, textures and tastes] were ancient foods known across most continents and cultures. The earliest recipes for food like these are found in Ancient Roman cookbooks. Modern grilled cheese sandwiches descended from these ancient recipes.

Who invented the grilled cheese Americans know today? We will never know, but we can (given the ingredients) place it in time. Culinary evidence suggests our modern grilled cheese (consisting of processed cheese and sliced white bread) began in the 1920s. That's when affordable sliced bread and inexpensive American cheese hit the market. Goverment issue cookbooks tell us World War II Navy cooks broiled hundreds of "American cheese filling sandwiches" in ship's kitchens. This makes sense. The sandwich was economical, easy to make, met government nutrition standards.

Why is Grilled Cheese paired with Tomato Soup?
Post WWII institutional foodservice (including school cafeterias) paired grilled cheese with tomato soup to provide the required Vitamin C component. It was also economical and easy:
"Soups. The use of canned soups for all types of school food serve can add variety as well as good nutirtion to the menu. They contribute particularly to the small school with minimum equipment and to the school where the teacher must prepare the hot lunch in addition to classroom teaching...Serve a hearty soup and a sandwich to meet the total 2-ounce protein requirement of the Type A lunch."
---School Lunch Recipes Using Canned Foods, Home Economics Divison [National Canners Association:Washington D.C.] 1949 (p. 4)
[NOTE: This booklet mentions tomato soup but not grilled cheese.]

Grilled vs toasted?
Some people wonder about the difference between toasted cheese and grilled cheese. Are they the same thing? On the surface, recipes for both produce somewhat similar results (melted cheese nestled between two slices of crisp, warm, buttered bread). Actually? Food historians tell us this a linguistic puzzle. Notes here:

" made by placing a slice of bread in front of dry heat-a fire, a grill, or an electric toaster...Certainly, toast has a long history in Britain. Tost was much used in the Middle Ages, being made in the ordinary way at an open fire...Often toast was spread with toppings...Meat toppings for toast became fashionable in during the 16th century...Towards the end of the 16th century all knds of things began to appear on toast....[including] melted cheese."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 796-7)

" cook by direct exposure to radiant heat, as in when a piece of meat is placed on a grill...The North American word for the verb grill is broil."
---ibid (p. 354)

A survey of American cookbooks reveals that recipes titled for "toasted cheese" sandwiches predate those titled "grilled cheese." Other names for this dish exist too. A careful examination of ingredients and method confirm the connection. The term "grilled cheese" surfaces in American print during the 1930s. This coincides with the introduction of portable electic cooking tools, courtesy of Thomas Alva Edison. The Edicraft brand Sandwich Grill (also Deep Grill Plate, Waffle Baker) were weclomed by modern American housewives. Table cookery was not new: chafing dishes were popular from the 1890s forward. Late 19th/early 20th century American cookbooks regularly offer recipes for cheese toast (melted cheese served on toast points, no top). Cheese is typically grated or creamed into a "butter." Cayenne and mustard, traditional Rarebit ingredients, are not strangers to early grilled cheese.

"Grilled cheese" sandwich recipes through time
"Cheese Boxes

Cut stale bread in one-third inch slices, remove crusts, and cut slices in pieces three by one and one-half inches. Remove centres, leaving bread in box-shaped pieces. Fit in each box a slice of mild cheese, sprinkle with salt and paprika, and cover with a thin piece of bread which was removed with the centre. Saute in a hot blazer, using enough butter to prevent burning."
---Chafing Dish Possibilities, Fannie Merritt Farmer [Little, Brown, and Company:Boston] 1902 (p. 134)

"Toasted Cheese

Cut white bread in 1/4 in. slices, spread lightly with mustard butter and sprinkle thickly with grated cheese. Cover with buttered slices, press together and arrange in a wire broiler. Toast a delicate brwon on one side, turn and lightly toast on the other side. Serve hot with tea or coffee."
---"July Twenty-Sixth," Calendar of Sandwiches & Beverages, Elizabeth O. Hiller [P.F. Volland Company:Joliet IL] 1915?

"Cheese Dreams

Buttered bread
Tomato or mushroom catchup
Cut eight thin slices of white bread, remove the crusts and spread with butter. Place thick slices of cheese between the bread and fry in plenty of hot butter in the chafing dish. Serve hot with tomato or mushroom catchup."
---Salads, Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes, Marion H. Neil (p. 23)

"Toasted Cheese Sandwich

Allow four tablespoons grated cheese for each sandwich. Mix with a little salad dresing or white sauce to bind. Add a little chopped pimento and spread between slices of buttered bread. Toast ad serve at once."
---Seven Hundred Sandwiches, Florence A. Cowles [Little, Brown, and Company:Boston] 1929 (p. 181)

"Grilled Cheese

Luncheon: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Salad of Mixed Greens, Baked Bananas, Orange Cake, Tea."
---"Today's Menu," Marian Manners, Los Angeles Times, January 20, 1932 (p. A7)[No recipe offered]

"Grilled Cheese

Sunday night is a grilling time. Avoiding a pun is difficult, but modern cooking being what it is and modern tastes being what they are, the statement stands and may be accepted quite literally. Grilled cheese sandwiches are no new thing. We get them in drug stores for lunch and at tea rooms for supper. But when the housewife begins to grill there is no limit to the combinations she may use and the delicious Sunday night suppers she may serve. Open-face sandwiches of chreeese and tomato grilled, offer a combination of flavors sure to please the palate."
---"Capital Kitchen: Sunday Night Supper the Time to Bring out the Grill," Susan Mills Washington Post, May 2, 1934 (p. 14)
[NOTE: Edicraft Sandwich Grill, 1934. This photo was publihsed in "Table Cookery," Edicraft. This pocket-sized cooking booklet does not include a recipe for grilled cheese.]

[1936]--Grilled Cheese
("Place cheese between two thin slices of bread. Butter outside of sandwiches lightly, brown in oven.") & Hot Cheese Sandwich ("Sread two slices of bread lightly with creamed butter. On unbuttered side place slice of American cheese. Place second slice of bread over cheese with buttered side out. Watkins Paprika. Place sandwich in broiler, brown on both sides. Do not melt cheese too much."
---Watkins Cook Book [J.R. Watkins Company:Winona MN] 1936 (p. 126)

"Cheese Spread for Toasted Sandwiches. "Cheese Dreams."
The following delicious sandwich spread will keep for a week or more. Scald in a double boiler:
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound American cheese, diced
Cook thse ingredients ofver hot water for 15 minutes. Stir them constantly. Cool the mixture and keep it in a closed jar in the refrigerator. When ready to use it spread it between:
Rounds of bread
Place on each side of the canapes or sandwiches a generous dab of:
Toast them in a moderate oven 350 degrees F. until they are crisp, or toast them on a broiler."
---Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer [Bobbs-Merrill:Indianapolis IN] 1936 (p. 7)
[NOTE: This recipe does not appear in the 1931 1st edition of Joy.]

"Toasted Sandwiches

Spread sandwiches with filling but no butter. Brush outside with melted butter and toast in a broiling oven or saute in butter in heavy frying pan or table grill."
---The Boston Cooking School Cook Book, Fannie M. Farmer (p. 719)

"Toasted Cheese Sandwiches (sauteed in a skillet)

1/2 pound sharp Parmican or cheddar cheese shredded
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites
Bread slices
4 tablespoons butter
Blend shredded cheese with chives, salt, mustard and the egg yolks. Fold in whites of eggs, stiffly beaten. Spread slices of bread well with mixture and tiop each with another slice. Butter both sides of sandwiches liberally and saute in butter in skilllet till bread is nicely browned and cheese mixture fully cooked."
---Fireside Cook Book, James A. Beard (p. 152)

"Waffle or toasted sandwiches

These and the following sandwiches are good for the maidless hostess who has no toaster.
Cut into thin slices:
White or dark bread
Spread it lighly with:
Soft butter
Cut off the crusts and spread between the slices:
Cheese Spread or other sandwich fillings...
Cut the sandwiches to fit the sections of a waffle iron. Wrap them in a moist cloth until ready to toast. Heat a waffle iron, arrange the sandwiches upon the iron, lower the top and toast them until they are crisp."
---The Joy of Cooking, Irma S. Rombauer [Bobbs-Merrill:Indianapolis IN] 1953 (p. 137)

Related foods? Panini, Monte Cristo Sandwiches, Fondue & Welsh rabbit.

Dagwood Sandwich
The Dagwood Sandwich was introduced to the American public April 16, 1936. It was invented by Chic Young and featured in his syndicated comic strip Blondie. Dagwood was Blondie's affable but somewhat bumbling husband.

What were the original ingredients?
Tongue, onion, mustard, sardine, beans and horseradish. A loaf of bread appears on the table but we are not told what kind of bread he used. It appears unsliced. Dagwood's two year old son, Baby Dumpling, watches his father composes the sandwich. Frame 2: Dagwood asks "Here, want to try a bite?" Baby Dumpling runs in the opposite direction shouting "NOOOoo." Frame 3: Baby Dumpling hides, watching dad eat his sandwich. Frame 4: Baby Dumpling pronounces the sandwich "Poison." Dagwood, still eating while reading his newspaper, replies "Stop saying that." [NOTE: we are transcibing from the New Castle News [PA], April 16, 1936 (p. 17). Some newspapers ran different Blondie comics that day.]

Original 1936 comic strip here. Over the years, the Dagwood sandwich grew bigger and typically included everything "but the kitchen sink!" Here is a Dagwood sandwich circa 1944.

"Skyscraper Special

Slice of buttered bread
Layer of crisp lettuce (or watercress or endive)
Cold, sliced chicken (or ham or veal or pork or potroast or turkey or cold cuts or bacon or sausage or almost anything)
Thin slices of hard boiled egg (or a fried egg)
Layer of American cheese (or cottage or Swiss or cream cheese) Sardines (or anchovies or smoked salmon)
Slice of onion
Cold, baked beans
Second layer of lettuce
Second slice of buttered bread
Start building with crisp lettuce, continue with sliced chicken, egg, cheese, tomato, etc. Additions which may be inserted to taste are: sliced pineapple, chopped or sliced pickle, pickled beets, olives, cucumbers, Russian dressing, ketchup, mayonnaise, horseradish, salt and pepper."
---Blondie's Soups*Salads*Sandwiches Cook Book: 277 Ways to Prepare Attractive Meals Quickly, selected and illustrated by Chic Young [Bell Publishing Company:Drexel Hill PA] 1947 (p. 8-9)
[NOTE: Complete sandwich catalog from this book. If you want anything let us know.]

Compare with: Club sandwiches & the modern tall food movement.

Elvis Presley's Fried Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich
"Elvis made it famous. He made it part of American folk cuisine. He referred to it as a peanut butter and 'nanner sandwich, and his love for this treat helped to transform this simple delicacy into his signature dish. He loved these sandwiches and would ask that they be prepared for him at all hours of the day and night. As the basis for a good, hearty lunch, or even as an energy- packed snack, nothing can beat this crunch grilled sandwich. These step-by-step instructions will insure an authentic peanut butter and 'nanner sandwich.

1 ripe banana
2 slices white bread
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter
1) In a small bowl, mash the banana with the back of a spoon.
2) Toast the bread lightly.
3) Spread the peanut butter on one piece of toast and the mashed banana on the other.
4) Fry the sandwich in melted butter until each side is golden brown. Cut diagonally and serve hot.
---Are You Hungry Tonight? Elvis' Favorite Recipes, compiled by Brenda Arlene Butler [Gramercy Books:New York] 1992 (p. 20-21)
[NOTE: This book contains dozens of the King's favorite recipes, including Elvis' & Pricilla's Wedding Cake, served May 1, 1967 in Las Vegas (p. 54-63).]

What else did Elvis like to eat?
"If Elvis were to come into our own dining room tonight, he'd say, 'Yes, ma'am,' and 'Thank you, ma'am,' and probably ask for the same kind of good home cooking that his mother, Gladys, put on the table in Tupelo, Mississippi in the late 1930s. Gladys cooked all the traditional Southern favorites. Grits and black-eyed peas were served, ham and bacon were an occasional treat, and there was always fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and plenty of homemade country gravy. Elvis Presley was Southern-born and Southern-bred. his culinary tastes never varied far from Southern-style home cooking, altough he was exposed to, and did enjoy, certain Oriental foods that contained such ingredients as pork...Elvis played hard, worked hard, and ate hard, and he preferred rib-sticking kinds of foods. Elvis did not develop much of a taste for exotic or foreign foods. Nor did he consider trying ay dish that contained unusual ingredients or had an odd texture or flavor...At home, the King always specified exactly what foods should be kept on hand, whether at his Graceland masion in Memphis or at his house in Beverly Hills. His list always included fresh, lean, ground round, hamburger buns, rolls, at least six cans of ready-to-bake biscuits, pickles, potatoes, onions, shredded coconut, fudge cookies, assorted fresh fruit, canned sauerkraut, mustard, and peanut butter. His refrigerator also contained at least three bottles of mlk or half-and-half, thin-sliced, lean bacon, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, and freshly squeezed orange juice. His favorite soft drinks are said to have been Pepsi Cola, Nesbitt's Orange, and Shasta Black Cherry. He liked to chew Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint, and Juice Fruit gum."
---ibid (p. 6)

Hungry for more? Try The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley, David Adler. Your local public librarian can help you get both books. Why buy when you can borrow!

Gyros & doner kebabs
The history of gyros poses some unexpected questions. Certainly, the ingredients (lamb, pita bread, grilled vegetables, & seasonings) were known to Ancient peoples of the Middle East.
Kebabs (roasted skewered meat) and other spiced meat minces have been sold by Middle Eastern and Greek street vendors for hundreds of years. Doner kebabs have been popular in Europe (especially Germany) in the second half of the 20th century.

The Arabs, Turks, and Greeks all make a variation on the same theme of vertical rotissing seasoned meat. The Turks call it doner kebabi, the Greeks gyro...and the Arabs shawurma. It is said that the doner kebabi was born in the Anatolian town of Bursa."
--A Mediterranean Feast, Clifford A. Wright [William Morrow:New York] 1999 (p. 115)

"...[one of the] the most highly regarded dishes of Baghdad [9th century AD]: judhaba (also called judhab)...Judhaba was basically roast meat; one thinks of shish kebabs....In the case of judhaba, the first thing to note is that the meat in question is not a skewer or kebab grilled over coals but something sliced off a large cut of meat roasted in a clay oven--an tannur (tandoor)--and then, as we have seen, minced fine. The sweet that accompanies it was actually the essence of the dish, the judhaba proper. It was a sort of sweetened Yorkshire pudding, stuck under the meat as it roasted to catch running fat and meat juices...The only surviving tenth-century cookbook, Kitab al-Tabikh, the contents of which date mostly from the ninth century, gives no fewer than nineteen recipes."
---"What to Order in Ninth-Century Baghdad," Charles Perry, Medieval Arab Cookery, Essays and tranlations by Mxime Rodinson, A.J. Arberry & Charles Perry [Prospect Books:Devon] 2001 (p. 220-1)

Gyros, as we know them today, presumably evolved from this tradition. Food historians generally agree the name "gyro" and the current product are both recent inventions, originating in the New York. According to the New York Times, modern gyros were very popular in the city during the early 1970s. They were marketed as fast food and embraced by diners looking for something different.

"Gyro. A Greek-American sandwich made from rotisserie-roasted, seasoned lamb that is sliced and served with onions in a pocket of pita bread. The word (which first appears in print in 1970) is from the Greek gyros, meaning a "turn" and is pronounced "JEER-o." The dish is better known in America than in Greece and possibly created in New York, where gyros are sold at Greek lunch counters and by street vendors, although some say it originated in the Plaka neighborhood of Athens. It is not a dish found in classic Greek cookery or listed in Greek cookbooks. It also seems possible that the name "gyro" may have some association with the Italian-American sandwich called Hero."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 147)

"A sandwich that is said to have originated 2,000 years ago is capturing the attention of Manhattan's quick eaters. The sandwich, a Greek gyro, pronounce "year-oh" is a lamb, tomato and onion concoction nestled in a fold of a soft bread called pita. More than 30 Greek snack stores selling the gyro have opened in Manhattan in the last year, according to the proprieter's estimates. In a heavily trafficked areas such as Times Square, three stores have opened in the last two months. Why has the Greek Gryo gained a prominent place in the fast food race? Store owners, patrons and native Greeks agree that the two major reasons are that the gyro is "different" and "delicious...The increase in the snack's popularity may be related to the large number of Americans who visit Greece and sample the local cuisine...The term gyro denotes a ring or circle and refers to the rotation of the meat as it is cooked. Greek historians attribute the origin of the dish to soldiers from the army of Alexander the great, who skewered their meat on long knives and cooked it by repeated turning over an open firet. Modern gyros are cooked on an electric rotisserie and are sold for prices ranging from 85 cents to $1...A Young Greek couple enjoying a gyro or "doner kebab" at the new Plaza de Athena on Broadway at 45th Street said they thought the food was "close to what it's like in Athens."
---"The Gyro, a Greek Sandwich, Selling Like Hot Dogs," New York Times, September 4, 1971 (p. 23)

"There will be lots of broiled meats, including gyro, that agglomeration of meat sold in booths all over New York, although its Greek provenance is questionable. "We found that people are associating it with Greeks, so we included it," said Harry Raptakis, chairman of the bazaar. "Besides, it might even have some Greek background to it." Of things definitely Greek, there will be souvlaki and shish kebab, which will be broiled atop a 2-by-10 food cinderblock cooking pit. "We only use lamb," said Mr. Raptakis."
---"Joys of Greece at L.I. Fair," Irvin Molotsky, New York Times, June 9, 1978 (p. C21)

"A keen nose for street food once led my husband and me to discover something called doner kebab in the market stalls in Herakleion the capital of Crete, long before it reached New York under the name gyro." ---"Dining a la Cart: Street Food Mirrors the Tastes of a City," Florence Fabricant, New York Times, April 17, 1991 (p.C1, C8)

"Gyro. [Spitted spiced lamb]. Gyro, gyro oli is a favorite children's game, comparable to farmer in the dell, which describes the round-and-round motion of gyro. Since spreading to Greece from the Middle East, industrious Hellenes have brought it to the United States (New York is spinning with gyro restaurants), and one more snack has been added. On a vertical spit, which turns electrically, or is run manually by the mikro (apprentice), the meat is roasted t flavorful crispness." ---The Food of Greece: Food, Folkways and Travel in the Mainland and Islands of Greece, Vilma Lia couras Chantiles [Anteneum:New York] 1975 (p. 155)
[NOTE: This book contains a recipe for gyro on p. 156. Your librarian can help you find it.]

About doner kebab

"A doner kebab is a Turkish specialty consisting of slices of marinated lamb or mutton which are packed in a cylindrical mass on a vertical spit and then grilled as they revolve. Slices are cut from the surface as it reaches the required degree of 'oneness', and are typically eaten with pitta bread or rice. Turkish immigrants have brought it to many parts of Europe, and sicee the early 1970s the doner kebab house has become a familiar part of the British inner-city scene. The term means literally 'turing roast meat', incidentally (doner derives from the verb donmek, 'turn, rotate'); and the Turkish letter o is pronounced similarly to German o (the closest English sound is er). The Arabic word for the dish is shawarma."
---An A to Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 111)

"Doner kebab...has become a familiar sight in western countries wherever Turkish immigrants have become established...When Turks began to work in large numbers in Germany during the 1960s, their food followed but, although much liked by the immigrants, it did no find favour with Germans until the ofering was dressed up as a pitta bread sandwich filled with the doner meat, a salad of shredded lettuce, and a sauce (usually chilli, barbeque, or garlic). The meat itself may be lamb, beef, or chicken and will be both thinly sliced 'leaves' and minced or minced and ground...Doner kebab is very significant in Austria, Denmark, and Britain... It is also important in Australia, alhtoug it may go under different names (depending upon which immigrant group is more important) such as souvlaki or gyros. In Canada their is a variation called Donair, named after a Halifax restaurant which invented it in 1973. The gyro of Greece (also named for its turning action) is the same but different. Clifford Wright suggests it was not introduced into Greece itself until after the exchange of populations between Turkey and Greece in the 1920s. It too has travelled, particularly to America and Australia...The shawarma of the Middle broadly similar, although the meat may be more highly spiced, and other sauces such as tahini may be offered."
---Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2nd edition, 2006 (p. 254-5)

"In Turkey, doner kebab consists of thin cuts of lamb laid over warm "fladenbrot," a round flat loaf similar to pita, and steeped in tsatsiki sauce, with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce on the side. It is usually served in sit-down restaurants. In Germany, "doner," has taken on a sandwich form, and is sold from small booths catering to takeout customers. The meat is slowly roasted on a vertical spit, sliced almost paper-thin, and then stuffed into a triangular piece of fladenbrot, topped by the vegetables. For about 60 cents more, a few slabs of feta cheese are included. The sauces - garlic or tomato-based and ranging from tangy to sharp - often vary. "The different doner booths make their own sauces according to their own recipes," says Tuncay Zulkaflu, owner of Knig Doner in Dresden. What makes "Istanbul Doner," another doner booth in Dresden and two-time winner of a magazine-sponsored survey for the city's best doner, so popular? "The sauces," answers a worker there. "It is a very special recipe, but it is a secret, so I can't say [what it is]...There are an estimated 9,300 doner vendors in Germany...As far as the doner's place on the German snack circuit, "It is equal to the bratwurst or bockwurst," says Uwe Stuhrberg, editor at Sax Magazine, which conducted the doner surveys. According to a 1998 study on doner by the Turkish Studies Center at Essen University, the average German eats eight doners per year. Not bad for a sandwich developed less than thirty years ago, when Turkish "guest workers" in Germany, who found themselves unemployed in the midst of the '70s economic crisis, starting selling doners to support their families. Back then, vendors prepared the meat themselves and sold it from street corners. It remained mainly a mom-and-pop industry until German reunification, when vendors tapped into the East German market."
---"More Germans nix kraut for kebabs," Omar Sacirbey, Christian Science Monitor, August 25, 1999, FOOD; Pg. 17

German kebab company plans doner domination (2003)
Germany moves to regualte kebab industry (2007)
Doner University: Germany kebab qualification for students

Our research indicates Turkish-style kebabs were enjoyed in Germany in the early 19th century. These were coated with bread crumbs. Perhaps this was a forerunner?

"Small chunks of lamb, mutton and pork can be treated in the same way [placed on a spit over a moderate coal fire. As soon as the pieces, which should should not be too close together, begin to exude their fat, they should be sprinkled with a mixture of fine salt and fine breadrumbs and this should be continued until no more fat appears. If this is done carefully and not heedlessly, as happens in most kitchens, each individual piece becomes evenly coated with a crust which can be made more crunchy by an increase in heat just before serving...], rather like the delicious kebabs of Turkey, especially if slices of Spanish or Levantine onions are interspersed with the meat. Tiny branches of bay, sage, rosemary or other bitter, aromatic herbs can also be placed between the pieces of meat as long as they do not create too strong a flavour. The pieces should not be too close together. A little more salt should be applied under the breadcrumbs than is necessary for the eel and, if desired, a little of the favourite household seasoning can also be used."
---The Essence of Cookery, Karl Friedrich Von Rumohr, Translated by Barbara Yeomans, originally published in Germany in 1822 [Prospect Books:London] 1993 (p. 78)

Related food? Kebabs

Horseshoe sandwich
The Horseshoe sandwich belongs to Springfield, Illinios. Local folks confirm the moniker was bestowed for the horse shoe shape of the meat. The french fries represent the nails in the shoe and the oversized platter is the anvil. The "Ponyshoe" sandwich is a smaller version.

"Ask anybody about the inventor of this cardiac-arrest concoction and you're likely to get two or three different names. Some say Joe Schweska created the first Horseshoe at the Old Leland Hotel in 1928. Others point to Steve Tomko at Wayne's Red Coach Inn as the originator. No matter, from the first bite you'll roll your eyes skyward and thank the heavens for such a creation. The Horseshoe is made by laying two pieces of toasted bread on a warm platter, then layering meat (the original recipe called for ham) over the toast. Next smother the entire plate with a rich cheese sauce and circle the platter with crispy french fries. Since its creation more than 70 years ago, many have duplicated the Horseshoe. While there are endless variations of meat and/or vegetable combinations, ranging from ham to corned beef, from bacon and egg to sauted vegetables, most agree that the key to a great Horseshoe is the cheese sauce. Some swear by beer, others use wine, still others are loyal to the Welsh rarebit sauce said to have been used in the original 1928 recipe. For a truly original dish, try the Horseshoe at many local restaurants and pubs, including Norb Andy's, Maldaner's, and D'Arcy's Pint. It's Springfield's original comfort food."
Springfield Illinois Convention & Visitors Bureau

"The Horseshoe has been a staple of politicans, public officals, bureaucrats, secretaries, salesmen, and Springfield residents for 50 years. It was created in 1928 at the now-defunct Leland Hotel, once the creme de la creme of late night watering holes for politicians gathered at the state capitol a few blocks away. It is simply an open face sandwich filled with any variety and combination of ingredients and topped with a sharp cheese sauce embedded with french fried potatoes. The combination is not unusual but the appearance is different and unless the diner is particularly fastidious, he can cram his mouth with a combination of meat, egg, potatoes, bread, and sauce with one sweep of a fork. "It's a real meal-in-one sandwich," says Wayne Coumbes, owner of Wayne's Red Coach Inn, which boasts it has the original Horseshoe recipe and serve 300 Horseshoes daily. A chef named Steven Tomko created the Horseshoe for the Leland and Coumbes wound up with the recipe after a series of partnerships in other restaurants, including one that Tomko once operated. "It was named after the horseshoe cut of ham. The hot, sizzler platter it's served on is supposed to represent the blacksmith's anvil and the french fries represent the nails for the horseshoe...Peggy Haynes, a cook at Norb Andy's restaurant, which has been preparing Horseshoes since the late 1950s, recalls that "when the sandwich first was made, the french fries were real thick and they only put a few of them around the edges so they looked like nails stuck in the horseshoe."..."The sauce makes the difference," says Coumbes. The original recipe calls for a white sauce made of butter and cream and a sharp cheddar cheese...At Norb Andy's, the recipe has been doctored to include a dash of white wine, "which cuts the sharpness of the cheese." And other Springfield establishments use a spash of beer to concoct their own versions. Almost every restaurant offers a choice of ham, chicken, turkey, hamburger, egg, and shrimp as a basic filling, and allows two choices without extra charge. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Horseshoes is their price. At the Red Coach Inn, the sandwich sells for $2.25...To the uninitiated palate, the most common taste among the Horseshoe variations is the ham choice, which mingles with the cheese sauce to create a food sensation similar to the Monte Cristo sandwich."
---"Du Jour: The eat horseshoes don't they? Yes, but only in Springfield, F. Richard Cioccone, Chicago Tribune, June 4, 1979 (p. B1)

Hot roast beef (& turkey) sandwiches
Open, hot roast beef [or turkey] sandwiches slathered with gravy and served with mashed potatoes are popular in many parts of the country. They are known by different names according to region: "Roast Beef Commercials" in the upper mid-west (Minnesota), "Hot Beef," (South Dakota), "Roast Beef Manhattans" in central mid-west (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois), "Hot Roast Beef Sandwich" on both coasts. These economical belly-filling simple dishes are generally served (no matter what they're called) in working-class eateries and community dinners. Every once in a while you find hot roast beef/turkey type entrees in trendy restaurants experimenting with retro comfort fare.

Where did the idea come from? Cookbooks confirm people have been serving sliced/diced meats mixed with sauce over starches (bread, noodles, rice) for hundreds of years. This type of meal was generally served to family, as it generally used leftovers. Protein sources vary according to place and period: chipped (dried, frizzled) beef on toast was well-known by American pioneers. Many popular variations did not include meat (Welsh Rarebit, Biscuits & Gravy) or included scant pieces of meat in the gravy (ham gravy).

This 1877 recipe for "Beefsteak Toast" is not so very different from the modern version.

"Just at present there is a big run on the hot roast beef sandwich, with the bread soaked in gravy, with gravy in the plate and gravy poured over it all. The general appearance is that of a tired ark in a gravy flood. Though unattractive to look at it eats all right, which is the main point. Certain restaurants have been charging 30 cents for it without accessories, but a new pace has been opened in a basement of Nassau Street [New York City] were the price is 20 cents, with mashed or baked potatoes and bread and butter. The saving of 10 cents and the additional provender have drawn to the cellar so large a number of the hungry that hundreds have to wait fifteen or thirty minutes for tables or counters at which to eat."
---"Popular Luncheons," Washington Post, May 16, 1900 (p. 6)

"Hot Sandwiches. A very noticeable feature of present day catering is the sandwich--especially the hot sandwich. They are a prominent feature of popular priced and quick luch laces and may of the best hotels run one or more hot sandwiches each day. As generally made in the European plan hotel, two slices of bread are laid on a platter, side by sied; then the sliced meat is placed on the bread, over which is poured the gravy (real gravy, not the messy kind), and alongside it a garnish of mashed potatoes. When well put up, they make a nice luncheon. Suggestions for hot sandwiches:
Hot turkey sandwich, browned sweet potato.
Hot minced chicken sandwich on toast.
Hot capon sandwich, oyster sauce.
Hot fresh ham sandwich, country gravy.
Hot minced chicken sandwich, a la King.
Hot roast turkey sandwich, chicken gravy.
Hot chopped beefsteak sandwich, chili sauce.
Hot sliced chicken sandwich, egg sauce.
Hot roast beef sandwich, au jus."
---Hotel Butcher, Garde Manger and Carver, Frak Rivers [Hotel Monthly Press:Chicago] 1935 (p. 90)

What does "Commericial" mean in this context? It's one of several grades of beef defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Commercial...(in U.S. Government grading of beef) graded between standard and utility."
---Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Stuart Berg Flexner, Editor in Chief [Random House:New York] second edition (p. 411)

"Ted and Dorothy Husted established Wall Drug in 1931...Diners feast on the house specialty--billed as the Hot Beef--a hot roast beef sandwich on white bread with the halves separated by a scoop of mashed potatoes and covered with right brown gravy. It's a true taste of South Dakota."

---American Sandwich: Great Eats From All 50 States, Becky Mercuri [Gibbs Smith:Salt Lake City] 2004 (p. 112)

Related food? Sprinfield's Horseshoe sandwich.

Monte Cristo sandwich
Recipe-wise, food experts generally consider the Monte Cristo sandwich to be a simple variation of an early 20th century French dish called
Croque Monsieur. According to several articles published in newspapers and magazines, Monte Cristo sandwiches were first served in southern California and were very popular in the 1950s-1970s. Therin ends the agreement. The who/what/why/where/when behind the Monte Cristo sandwich is still very much a subject of debate.

"Monte Cristo...Prepare Croque Monsieur...substituting very thinly sliced chicken for the ham and Swiss cheese for the Gruyere."
---Joy of Cooking/Irma S. Rombauer et al, [1997 edition] (p. 191)
[NOTE: the 1976 edition of this book makes no mention of Monte Cristo]

"Monte Cristo sandwich...A sandwich composed of ham, chicken, and Swiss cheese enclosed in bread that is dipped in beaten egg and fried until golden brown. The origin on the name is not known."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 209)

"A classic story deserves a classic sandwich, even though nobody knows how the sandwich got its name. It may have been invented in San Francisco in the 1950s."
---"I'm going to see a remake of "The Count of Monte Cristo...," Hartford Courant, January 24, 2002 (p. 10)

"Monte Cristo sandwich invented in the Coronado Hotel in San Diego..." [no date provided] ---"LA really is a bread basket," Los Angeles Times, December 19, 1996 (p. H13)

"...the [Blue Bayou in New Orlean's Square, Disneyland/Anaheim California] restaurant's Monte Cristo sandwich probably has been the most recognizable -- and demanded -- item on the menu since it first appeared in 1966. It hasn't changed since then," said Boll, "and it's become a standard. It's a very, very popular item. We serve about 160 to 200 of them every day. When the first one of the day comes out, everybody who sees it wants to order one. It comes close to the croque monsieur that originated in France."
---"Chef du Jour: Disney's counter of Monte Cristo," Los Angeles Times, July 15, 1993 (p. 36)

The earliest reference we find to a Monte Cristo sandwich is printed in a 1941 menu from Gordon's on Wilshire Blvd., Los Angles. We do not know how these were made.

The oldest recipe we have (so far) for the Monte Cristo sandwich was printed in The Brown Derby Cook Book, 1949. The Brown Derby restaurant is located in Los Angeles, California and is famous for serving Hollywood's elite.

"Monte Cristo Sandwich.
Take three slices of white bread. Butter the first and cover with lean baked ham and chicken. Butter the middle slice on both sides, place on meat, and cover with thinly sliced Swiss cheese. Butter the third slice and place, butter down, over cheese. Trim crusts; cut sandwich in two; secure with toothpicks; dip in light egg batter; fry in butter on all sides until golden brown. Remove toothpicks and serve with currant jelly, strawberry jam, or cranberry sauce."
---The Brown Derby Cookbook [Doubleday & Company:Garden City NY] 1949 (p. 183)
[NOTE: This sandwich appears to be a cross between a club sandwich and a toasted French-style sandwich, two very popular menu items of this period.

"Monte Cristo

Spread slice of buttered bread with a slice of cooked hamand a sliced of cooked chicken. Cover with second slice of buttered bread. Butter top of bread and cover with thin slices Swiss cheese. Cover with third slice buttered bread. Trim, cut in half, and fasten with wooden picks. Dip into egg-milk mixture and saute in butter until golden brown on both sides."
---The Sandwich Book, Ann Seranne and Eileen Gaden [Doubleday & Company:Garden City NY] 1964 (p. 71)

An old menu from Disneyland's Tahitian Terrace restaurant features the Monte Cristo.
[NOTE: Disney didn't invent the Monte Cristo, but it is certainly responsible for introducing it to thousands of theme park visitors.]

Several popular American cookbooks published in the 1920s-60s published recipes for sandwiches which are essentially Monte Cristos [ham--sliced & deviled/turkey/chicken sandwiches dipped in egg & then fried to a tasty golden brown], under different names:

Seven Hundred Sandwiches/Florence A. Cowles [1929]
---Hot Ham Sandwich II (p. 174), Fried Cheese Sandwich (p. 180)
Prudence Penny's Cookbook/Prudence Penny--Los Angeles Examiner newspaper [1939]
---French Sandwich (p. 267); John Hall's French Fried Chicken Sandwich (p. 339)
The American Woman's Cook Book/Ruth Berlozheimer [1940]
---Suggestions for Breakfast Sandwiches (p. 155)
Toll House Tried and True Recipes/Ruth Wakefield [1947]
---Toasted Ham Sandwich (p. 245)
The Fireside Cook Book/James Beard [1949]
---French Toasted Cheese Sandwiches (p. 151)
Good Housekeeping Cook Book [1955]
---Baked Ham-And-Egg Sandwiches (p. 358)

When does Croque Monsieur enter the menu?

Rounds of thin, stale bread
Very Thin slices of ham
Savoury prepared mustard
Softened butter
Grated Gruyere cheese
Cut the rounds of bread thin, spread with bnutter mixed with a little French savoury mustard. Sprinkle rather thickly with the grated cheese and lay on this a round of thinly-cut ham the size of the round of brtead. Cover the whole with another well buttered round of bread, press frimly together and drop in frying-fat at the 'smoking' stage of heat (or 375 degrees if you use--as you should--a frying-thermometer). If desired, each round may be dipped in a good batter and fried like tiny fritters. Serve very hot with crisp fried parsley."
---A Concise Encyclopedia of Gastronomy, Andre L. Simon [Harcourt, Brace and Company:New York] 1952 (p. 424)

--A rather fantastic name for a kind of hot sandwich which is served as an hors d'oeurvre or as a small entree. It can also feature in a list of small dishes for lunch, tea, etc. Cut some slices 3 1/2 inches long and 2 1/4 inches wide and 1/8 inch thick, from a fresh loaf, or failing that use some stale bread. Spread with butter on one side only and lay a thin slice of Gruyere cheese on top. Put a slice of lean ham on top of the cheese, and close the sandwich. Fry till golden in a frying pan in clarified butter."
---Larousse Gastronomique, Prosper Montagne [Crown Publishers:New York] 1961(P. 324)

"Croque Monsieur

Cut crusts form thinly sliced bread and spread each slice with a paste made by mashing shredded Swiss cheese with cream. Put two slices together with a thin lice of ham between. Dip sandwiches in egg-milk mixture and saute in hot butter until golden brown on both sides."
---The Sandwich Book, Ann Seranne and Eileen Gaden [Doubleday & Company:Garden City NY] 1964 (p. 70)

"Croque Monsieur--Cheese Dream

'A rather fantastic name,'says Larousse Gastronomique, 'for a kind of hot sandwich which is served as an hors d'ouevre or as a small entree. It can also feature in the list of small dishes for lunch, tea, etc.' The name of fantasy is a French conceint, but the putting together of ham (or bacon) and cheese, between slices of bread which are then fried to a crusty gold, has some universality about it. New Zealanders, among others, grate the cheese and mix it with beaten egg, as does the chef at Scotland's Fortingall Hotel. It is a 'Cheese Dream' in many English-speaking regions, and there are variastions known as Croque Mademoiselle and Croque Madame--Donn Pearce's recipe, from San Francisco, includes sliced mushrooms; in Paris Simone Beck's puffy feminine version is flavored with cognac, kirsh, or rum, and both are run under the broiler at the last moment. When prepared as appetizing tidbits, the sandwiches are cut up into small mouthfuls. Here is the basic recipe we use, made with whatever cheese needs using up:
8 slices bread (Cheese Bread, page 174, is particularly good)
soft butter
4 slices country ham
about 1/3 lb. cheese
clarified butter (or equal amounts butter and cooking oil
Remove crusts from the bread slices and butter one side. Trim ham slcies to cover half the bread, place on top, then cover with cheese. (If cheese is a melting type like Mozzarella or a soft-ripened variety, simply break in pieces; a firm cheese should be sliced; a hard one should be grated and mashed with a little butter to make more meltable. Any combinations can be used.) Close the sandwiches with the other pieces of bread, butter side down, and press firmly. Heat a large skillet or pancake griddle, melt several tablespoonfuls of clarified butter (or oil and butter--straight unclarified butter will burn), and when sizzling add the Croques Monsieur. Cook on each side about 3 minutes, pressing down with the spatula and adding a little more butter before turning. Serve the golden Croques hot, cutting in quarters if they are to be used as appetizers."
---The World of Cheese, Evan Jones [Alfred A. Knopf:New York] 1976 (p. 159)
[NOTE: Happy to send the Cheese Bread referenced above.]

Related dishes? Grilled cheese & Panini.

Open sandwiches, Scandinavian style
These exquisite works of edible art descend from practical traditions:

"Smorrebrod can be anything between heaven and earth. Primarily it consists of a piece of bread of some kind. The Danes make most use of rye bread because it is more suitable than other varieties for many of their sandwiches...Upon the bread something, generally butter, is in most cases spread. As one would expect, when the Danes spread the fine butter for which they are famous, they spread it generously. Not only because it gives them vitamin A or because they like the taste but also because fatstuffs help to keep out the cold. And keeping out the cold is important for most of the Danish year. Though butter ranks first as "the something to spread", spiced lard or pork dripping, maybe even goose or duck dripping, are often used. Not only, in the case of the pork fat, as an economy measure but because the Danes prefer fat to butter when liverpaste, salt meats and most kinds of sausage, are to be the crowning glory of the smorrebrod. When it comes to the question of what to put on the "buttered bread" (The Danish works for "butter" and "to butter" are the same as for "grease" and "to grease" so the expression "buttered bread" include bread spread with dripping of one kind or another) the only answer can be: "There is absolutely nothing edible which cannot be used for smorrebrod". The Danish town housewife patronizes the charcuterie of cooked meat shop around the corner; her country sister may bu certain kinds of pale (literally "something laid on", i.e. any fish, meat, vegetable etc. used on the buttered bread) from the butcher who brings his mobile shop to her door...Above all both town and country housewife will make use of leftovers from paleg. "Leftovers embraces anything from slices of cold pork sausage garnished with a remnant of red cabbage to slices taken from a still substantial joint of meat. It is this use of lefovers which makes smorrebrod such a useful thing to know about in order to be able to cope in an interesting yet substantial manner with those unexpected guests...The average dane has only one hot meal daily. For lunch and/or supper he eats smorrebrod."
---Oskar Davidsen book of Open Sandwiches, compiled by James R. White from traditional Danish recipes and specialties of the House of Oskar Davidsen [Host & Sons Forlag:Copenhagen], 3rd revised edition, 1962 (p. 9-10)

"The Sandwich Story Somewhere in the centre of Copenhagen there ought to be a monument to the man or woman who discovered smorrebrod, the open sandwich which is Denmark's national dish. An appropriate site would be the Town Hall end of the new Hans Andersen Boulevard, for the inventor of smorrebrod obviously had something of a fantasy of the great Danish storyteller. Alas, historians are silent as to the identity of the man wo first placed fish, fowl, meat and vegetables on a piece of buttered bread. Some Danish encyclopedias do not even list one of the most important words in the Danish language. The inventor of the smorrebrodsseddel or sandwich list is, however, known. And nobody has ever disputed that it was not untul old Oskar Davidsen acceeded to the request of young Axel Svensson to be allowed to make something amusing out of the restaurant's sandwich list that open sandwiches in all their infinite variety began to develop into what they are today...The origin of the sandwich is a subject on which even historians can but speculate. Some suggest that recognisable sandwiches were known in ancient Babylon, wothers that a rabbi contrived them for the Passover by placing bitter herbs between two slices of unleavened bread to symbolise Jewish privations in Egypt. When smorrebrod first saw the light of day is equally a matter for speculation. Certainly it appeared centuries before an Earl of Sandwich first placed pieces of meat between two slices of bread to enable his guests to eat without leaving the card table. The Danish workd simply means "buttered bread". But the origins of open sandwiches can be traced back to the days when, in Denmark as elsewhere, a round of bread served as a plate for both hot food and cold. Naturally the rich refrained from eating their plates but these, soaked in nourishing gravy from the main course, invariably found their way to the mouths of the serfs or deserving poor of the parish. And between rich and poor there was doubtless a class which ate both bread-plate and the delicacies which reposed upon it. As yet...this open sandwich could not have been known as smorrebrod for butter was still unknown in Denmark...The earliest mention of the word smorrebrod is found in the works of the playwright Ludvig Holberg (168401754) who describes the diet of the gentry as consisting of soup, salt meat or smorrebrod. No mystery, however, surrounds the invention of the smorrebrodsseddel or printed list of open sandwiches. It was Emil Bjorn, head waiter at the Copenhagen officers' club, who, when harried by shouted orders from the card tables, conceived, in 1883, the idea of lists on which the guests could mark off their requirements. Bjorn's idea was soon adopted by restaurants throughout the country, but many years were to pass before these scant lists were developed into what they are in Denmark today."
---ibid (p. 11-12)

Related items" Canapes & Breadless sandwiches.

Our survey of historic cookbooks and food articles confirm grilled sandwiches, including those cooked with special apparatus designed for the purpose, have been popular from the beginning of the 20th century forwards. Electric sandwich makers were just as intriguing to folks in the
1930s as they are they are today. Think: Grilled Cheese. Food historians generally agree panini (plural, the singular is panino), as we Americans know them today, originated in the panintecas (sandwich shops) of Italy, perhaps as early as the 1960s. Our survey of newspaper articles confirms panini origin captured American attention in the mid-1970s. As time progressed, panini evolved from upscale fare to trendy sandwiches for the masses. Industry experts credit novel combinations (ingredients/textures) and the product's *staying power* (they can be made ahead of time) for paninis modern success. In the 1990s, panini nudged their way into family restaurants and institutional menus (colleges, hospitals, airports). Sales of panini grills soared, both commercial and home versions. Frozen panini products happened.

"For centuries bread was the complete meal par excellence, until it became the support or container for a condiment or filling, without losing the identity associated with its linguistic diminutive [panino, diminutive of pane, denotes a sandwich in Itlian--Trans.]"
---Italian Cuisine: A Cultural History, Alberto Capatti & Massimo Montanari [Columbia University Press:New York] 1999 (p. 153)

"Panino..."small bread." Small sandwich. The name was apparently coined at Milan's Paninoteca Bar Quadronno. Panini cresciuti (grown rolls) are fried Sicilian potato rolls containing ham and cheese. From the Latin panis."
---The Dictionary of Italian Food and Drink, John Mariani [Broadway Books:New York] 1998 (p 177-8)

"'Panini' is the Americanized version of the Italian word panino, which means little sandwich and refers to a class of sandwiches that became popular in the United States in the late 1990s. Flavor is the key to panini, which are based on high-quality Italian artisan breads like focaccia or ciabatta. The sandwiches are layered, but not overstuffed, with flavorful combinations of cheeses, meats, or roasted vegetables. Various dressings or condiments are added, and the sandwich is pressed and lightly grilled. Panini-style sandwiches are popular in trendy restaurants throughout the United States."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 2 (p. 235)

"[Panini] are said to have originated in Lombardy, Italy, in response to the demand among Milanese office workers for a quick lunch without sacrifice in flavor and quality. In both Italy and the United States, panini are eaten for lunch and as snacks and appetizers. In Italy, sandwich shops traditionally wrap the bottom of the panino in a crisp white paper napkin, providing a practical solution to drips while enchancing aesthetics. Quality Italian bread is an absolute must for a killer panini, and most sandwich chefs will opt for a relatively thin artisan bread like grooved focaccia or ciabatta, slicing it in half horizontally. Panini are always grilled, so most restaurants and cafes have invested in professional grooved sandwich presses that flatten and heat the sandwich while creating a crunch, buttery outer crust."
---American Sandwich: Great Eats from all 50 States, Becky Mercuri [Gibbs Smith:Salt Lake City UT] 2004 (p. 81)

The earliest print reference we find for panini (as a food) in an American newspapers is 1956. We cannot tell from the article if the panini served at this fair is the same as the one commonly found in contemporary menus.

"The visitors ate Italian sausage, also pizze fritta, zeppole, calzone, torrone, panini, pepperoni, taralli."
---"Old World Festival in East Harlem," New York Times, July 25, 1954 (p. SM 22)

"Another attraction, even for northern Italian visitors to Rome, is the nice price of a meal, now even nicer...Most cafe-bars serve sandwiches--which may be called tramezzini, panini, or medaglioni, depending on their composition..."
--"Revel in Rome's Unholy Year '76," Los Angeles Times, March 7, 1976 (p. G7)

"By noon today it is probable that lines will already be forming at the brand new Caffe Orsini, opening at 11:30 this morning at Bonwit Teller's second floor, overlooking 57th Street. Luxuriously decorated with rough white plaster walls, tomato-pink upholstered banquettes, tile inlaid tables and polychromed wooden wall sconces and frames, this Continental style coffee house is an offspring of Orsini's restaurant on 56th Street. The menu will offer stylish Italianate salads and panini sandwiches..."
---"Food and Style: Shoppers Find Both in Store Restaurants," Mimi Sheraton, New York Times, October 7, 1976 (p. 77)

"Speaking of Italian foods, many readers wrote in about an earlier reference to "panini." I stated that the only recipe for panini that I could uncover in my research was for panini di pasqua, or Easter Breads. Panini, I was told is simply the plural of the Italian panino, an overall word for rolls. One reader wrote that "the sandwiches you get on small rolls in cafes in Italy are 'panini imbotiti' - stuffed rolls.""
---"Q & A," New York Times, April 14, 1982, (p. C8)

"The restaurant also makes a pungently flavorful lasagna, the thin sheets of pasta layered with cheese and so barely sauced that it is reminiscent of the spare food that Kleiman popularized at Verdi. This is not the southern Italy that comes out of No. 10 cans of tomatoes, but the southern Italy of light-handed cooks. There are calzone, both fried and baked (I found the fried version rather bland), and a whole range of wonderful panini, Italian sandwiches stuffed into crusty home-made rolls."
---"Ethinic Places Serve Foods That They Love Best," Ruth Reichl, Los Angeles Times, Jan 13,1985 (p. 86)

"I'll bet a hundred bucks that panino, the Italian word for sandwich, will soon slip off your tongue like honey. Pretty soon, you'll start noticing restaurant menus and sandwich shops featuring panini (plural) exclusively. You'll find them at such places as the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) cafe, Il Panino, in the new downtown museum complex, and at a spot in Beverly Hills called Giannino's. You'll see them on the menu at Il Piccolino and at Angeli Caffe, both in Los Angeles, and you'll see them at picnics and party buffets.An Italian might shrug if you ask the origin of panino. Said Celestino Drago, who operates Il Panino, "No one ever asks where or how they came about. They are just there." In Italy, panini are everywhere. They are fast food eaten on the run, to and from work, on the job, in train stations, in cars on the street. Sky-high piles of panini are packed in glass cases at almost every bakery and coffee shop for the hordes who want to grab a bite before or after work or a movie. Mothers pack them in schoolchildren's lunch bags. The ever-growing numbers of young, fast food lovers in Italy, called paninari, prefer the social scene at sandwich shops and McDonald's golden arches to the family dinner table, where every family member should be, but no longer is, to the chagrin of traditionalists bemoaning the disintegration of the Italian family fiber. In Milan, upscale paninotecas have emerged only in the last five years as havens for gourmet sandwich-eaters, who stand at tables to nibble on such fillings as duck or wild boar prosciutto while sipping fine wine. In Los Angeles, the panino has just begun to find a place among those who enjoy Italian flavors and great bread. For it's the bread that distinguishes every panino. The word derives from the word pane, meaning bread. There are dozens of different types of bread used for panini. Every region in Italy boasts a specialty. In Tuscany, you'll find michetta, a roll with a hole in middle, a strong favorite, whereas in Milan the specialty is rosetta, a rosette-shaped roll, and in Genoa it is focaccia, a flatbread with baked-on flavorings such as pesto, garlic butter and onions. The rolls may be elongated, round, square or flat. They may be seasoned or not. We give a few recipes for dough typically used in panini, but you can also use store-bought rolls and loaves found in fancy food shops as well as the neighborhood supermarket. Some Italian bakeries such as Il Fornaio in Beverly Hills and Santa Monica carry several popular panino varieties used by Il Panino, including michetta and ciabatta. Kaiser rolls, onion rolls and the like are ideally suited for panini. Square loaves such as pane in cassetta, ideal for grilling, can easily be substituted with firm-textured white or wheat bread. In Italy, with the exception perhaps of those found at paninotecas in Milan, panino fillings tend to be traditional types-sausage, roast peppers, cheeses, tomatoes, vegetables, mortadella, salamis and other sausages. In Sicily, veal and chicken cutlets are slapped between two pieces of bread. Roast peppers are also a popular panino filling. The panini appearing in Los Angeles, however, are something else. "They are not as fancy as those you'd find at the paninotecas in Milan, because we want to educate slowly, but they are interesting," Drago said. Actually, anything goes. At the MOCA cafe, Il Panino, Drago has introduced eight sandwich fillings that are California variations on the traditional Italian theme. In a sandwich called Milano, sliced turkey is served with California goat cheese, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, and arugula. A smoked salmon and mascarpone cheese filling is garnished with salmon roe, capers and chives. Evan Kleiman, chef and co-owner of Angeli, a California-style Italian restaurant, fell in love with the sandwiches on her first visit to Italy at the age of 16 and does take-offs on traditional themes. "You open your mind to what is put in between two pieces of bread," she said. A sandwich Kleiman has called panino rustico contains chicken salad, dressed with Dijon mustard and arugula. This and other fillings such as roast pork are found in her book, "Cucina Fresca," co-authored with Viana La Place (Harper & Row: 1985). The roast pork is seasoned with Dijon mustard and topped with pickled onions. Dino Baglioni of Il Piccolino restaurant in Los Angeles serves several types of panini, including some using long, tapered rolls and round ones. They may be filled with red and green peppers and sausages; veal scaloppine with mozzarella cheese or ricotta cheese with prosciutto. There is also a sandwich made with smoked salmon, horseradish and capers. At Giannino's, the paninoteca in Beverly Hills, the sandwiches are simple and basic. Nothing fancy here. The sandwich called Godfather contains ham, mortadella, provolone and mixed peppers; the Capone has capocollo (sausage) and mixed peppers, and the tachinello contains smoked turkey and Swiss cheese." Panino Translated as "little loaf," panino is known throughout Italy as a sandwich you pick up on the go. Now panini are here in Los Angeles to delight the palate and expand the
---"Sandwich Repertoire," Rose Dosti, Los Angeles Times, Jul 23, 1987 (p. 1)

"Just watch. In coffee bars, cafes and delis everywhere, soon you'll hear: "Give me a grilled veggie panino." The distinctive little sandwich familiar at way stations on Italian autostradas, the pressed panino (panini in the plural) is gaining a foothold in Washington. Picture a good old grilled cheese, but without the grease, layered with sauteed vegetables or deli meats or a combination. Light, flavorful and, yes, oh-so-trendy, panini (like coffee bars) have leap-frogged across the country. From Seattle to Chicago to Dallas, hot pressed sandwiches, made with focaccia or rustic bread, striped with grill marks, are a have-to-have with that latte. "People want a little something other than sweets at a coffee bar," says Joel Edwards, president of Issaquah, Washington State-based Caffe Andiamo, which manufactures a panini press called Pane Bella Grill. "And for cafe owners panini are a way to attract that 11-to-2 customer base." Edwards credits Nordstrom stores with spreading the craze eastward. All Nordstrom espresso bars feature pressed panini. "What's unique is the press itself," says restaurant consultant Mark Caraluzzi, co-owner of Bistro Bistro and D'Angelo. "It's a gentle heat that crisps the bread but steams the inside so it doesn't dry out." Grill stripes, Caraluzzi contends, let the customer know his sandwich was not browned in a puddle of oil. "We are the grilling country," he says."
---"Let Them Eat Panini," Walter Nicholls, The Washington Post, July 5, 1995, (p. E11)

"Panini grills have been around for more than 100 years, but were generally ignored in the United States until the Italian grilled sandwiches made with them began to show up in carryout shops and on restaurant menus. Now these grills are set to become the Belgian-waffle irons of the 21st century. Two years ago, I couldn't find anything called a panini grill. Suddenly, there are all kinds of possibilities. Eat your heart out, Dagwood. Panini are nothing more than grown-up cheese-and-meat sandwiches toasted on a ridged grill that has a weighted top to press down the sandwich to the thickness of a waffle. It is that weighted top that seems to draw men to panini grills. They are the functional equivalent of something you might cook with in the yard. ''Men have taken to the panini grill like they took to barbecue,'' said Michael Chiarello, the host of a cooking show on public television that is based in the Napa Valley. ''Guys just want a general concept of a recipe -- bread and stuff,' he said. ''They don't want to measure anything.'"
---"Presses New and Old Prove That Panini Aren't Picky," Marian Burros, New York Times, July 17, 2002, (p.F6).

Bread of choice for panini? Ciabatta. Compare with Grilled Cheese & Monte Cristo sandwiches.

Peanut butter & jelly
Who invented this popular sandwich, why & when? The when is easy to document, the why is a relatively simple matter of technology, economics & commerce. The who? Is still a mystery.

Let's start with a quick study of the ingredients. Food historians tell us that finely chopped nuts (especially almonds) were regularly used by ancient cooks in a variety of dishes. BUT! It wasn't until the late 19th century that peanut we know it...came on the market. Did you know that peanut butter was first marketed as a health food? Ancient cooks also knew how to preserve fruit. BUT! It wasn't until the 15th century that modern jellies/jams/preserves were made. Ancient cooks also made bread. BUT! Sliced pre-packaged bread...the stuff we Americans use today to make our peanut butter & jelly sandwiches...didn't happen until the late 1920s. Interesting, yes? More notes on the history of PB&J ingredients:

"The first located reference to the now immortal peanut butter and jelly sandwich was published by Julia Davis Chandler in 1901. This immediately became a hit with America's youth, who loved the double-sweet combination, and it has remained a favorite ever since...During the early 1900s peanut butter was considered a delicacy and as such it was served at upscale affairs and in New York's finest tearooms. Ye Olde English Coffee House made a "Peanut Butter and Pimento Sandwich." The Vanity Fair Tea-Room served its peanut butter with watercress...The Colonia Tea-Room served peanut butter on toast triangles and soda crackers. That peanut butter could be combined with so many divers products demonstrated that it was a relatively neutral platform providing a nutty taste and a sticky texture that bound together various ingredients.

Peanut butter sandwiches moved down the class structure as the price of peanut butter declined due to the commercialization of the industry. Peanut butter's use also moved down the age structure of the nation as manufacturers added sugar to the peanut butter, which appealed to children. The relationship between children and peanut butter was cemented in the late 1920s, when Gustav Papendick invented a process for slicing and wrapping bread. Sliced bread meant that children could make sandwiches themselves without slicing the bread with a potentially dangerous knife. As a consequence of low cost, high nutrition, and ease of assembling, peanut butter sandwiches became one of the top children's meals during the Depression. "
---Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea, Andrew F. Smith [University of Illinois Press:Urbana] 2002 (p. 35)
[NOTE: this book is the BEST source for information on the history of peanuts & peanut butter. It is well researched and copiously documented. Ask your librarian to help you find a copy].

"Peanut butter sandwiches moved down the class structure as the price of peanut butter declined. After the invention of sliced bread in the 1920s, children could make their own sandwiches without using a sharp knife. The combination of these two factors helped make peanut butter sandwiches one of the top children's meals in America. Beginning in the 1920s, manufacturers lobbied school cafeterias to buy inexpensive peanut butter. Its flavor was liked by children, and minimum time and equipment were required to prepare it."
---"Peanut Butter," Encyclopedia of Food and Culture, Solomon H. Katz, editor in chief [Thomson Gale:Detroit] 2003, Volume 3 (p. 56) (p. 12)

In the 1920s peanut butter sandwiches were quite adventuresome.
"Suggestions for Various Beech-Nut Peanut Butter Sandwiches.
1. One half cupful of Beech-Nut Peanut Butter and aof finely chopped seeded rasiins moistened with two tablespoonfuls of lemon juice.
2. One half cupful each of Beech-Nut Peanut Butter and stoned chopped prunes moistened with two tablespoonfuls of orange juice.
3. Spread slics of bread generously with Beech-Nut Peanut Butter then fill with thick slices of tomato which have been allowed to stand in French dressing for fifteen minutes.
4. Spread slices of bread with Beech-Nut Peanut Butter and fill with chopped celery mixed with one tablespoonful of minced pimientos to each cupful of celery and a little salad dresing. Season with salt and paprika.
5. Blend together equal quantities of Beech-Nut Peanut Butter and cream cheese, spread on slices of bread, lay lettuce leaves moistened wtih French dressing on half the slices, sprinkle generously with stuffed olives and cover with the remaining slices of bread.
6. Spread slices of thinly buttered bread with Beech-Nut Peanut Butter, then with Beech-Nut Orange Marmalade and ccut into finger lengths. These sandwiches are also very delicious toasted before being cut."
---The Beech-Nut Book: A Book of Menus And Recipes, Ida Bailey Allen [Beech-Nut Packing Co.:Canajoharie N.Y.] 1923 (p. 22)

Peanut Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Apricot Sandwich
Peanut and Pimento Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Raisin Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Apple Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Salted Peanut Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Jam Sandwich
Peanut Salad Sandwich
Peanut and Celery Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Cabbage Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Orange Sandwich (orange juice & peel)
Peanut Butter amd Marshmallow Sandwich
Peanutpine Sandwich (peanut butter, honey, walnuts, lettuce, pineapple)
Peanut Butter and Prune Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Ham Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Tomato Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich
Pimcel Sandwich (celery, pimento, salad dressing, salt & paprika)
Peanut Butter and Ginger Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Currant Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Maple Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Honey Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Strawberry Sandwich (strawberry jam)
Egg and Peanut Butter Sandwich
Peanut Butter & Cherry Sandwich
Dixieland Sandwich (roasted peanuts, fried bacon, pimentos & salad dressing)
Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Peanut and Lettuce Sandwich
Southern Sandwich (tomatoes, mayonnaise & salted peanuts on whole wheat)
Peanut Butter and Chili Sandwich (on wheat)
Peanut Butter, Cheese, and Olive Sandwich
Peanut Butter and Olive Sandwich (with mayo on white or rye)
Peanutraise Sandwich (raisins, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt, lemon juice & orange juice)
---Seven Hundred Sandwiches, Florence A. Cowles [Little,Brown:New York]

Peanut butter
Peanuts (aka ground-nuts, ground-peas, goober peas) are a new world food. Archaeological evidence suggests the first peanut butters (ground peanuts, really) were made by Ancient South American Indians. Peanuts were introduced to the the Old World by European explorers. These nuts thrived in Africa. Historians tell us that peanuts were introduced to North America by Europeans via Africa.

Peanut butter, as we know it today, was introduced in the second half of the 19th century. It was originally promoted as a health food. Nut butters were valued for their high protein content and easy digestion. Peanut butter was a perfect alternative to meat in a time when the industry was rife with public health concerns. At first, peanut butter was a food known mostly to wealthy people who frequented health spas. Before long, the product was available to the public at large, though companies targeted their promotions to the upper classes. Recipes for early 20th century fancy tea sandwiches sometimes included "nut butter." When that market was saturated, companies began adding sugar to make the product more appealing to children. Bingo! The popularity of the product soared and to this day is a staple in most American pantries. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches & Peanut butter cookies have become standard American fare.

Food historians currently entertain several theories regarding the origin (invention, if you will) of peanut butter. While ground peanuts were used by native Amercans and Africans early on, John Harvey Kellogg (of Battle Creek Michigan cereal fame) was the first person to obtain an American patent for the process [1895]. In the late 19th century many American households owned grinders for coffee and meat. Special grinders were also made purposely for grinding nuts.

"Early peanut butters had several problems. The first was that peanut oil has a melting point below room temperature. Gravity separated the oil, which then oxidized and turned rancid. Likewise, salt added to the peanut butter separated and crystallized. Grocers received peanut butter in tubs or pails and were advised to use a wooden paddle to stir it frequently...During the early years of the twentieth century, William Norman, an English chemist, invented a method of saturating unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, thus preventing them from turning rancid. In 1922, Joseph L. Rosefield...applied these principles to peanut butter. He developed a process to prevent oil separation and spoilage in peanut butter. He removed 18 percent of the liquid oil and replaced it with an equal amount of hydrogenated oil, which was solid at room temperature. The result was a semisolid peanut butter; no oil rose to the surface. The peanut butter was thick and creamy and did not stick to the roof of the mouth as much as previous products. Hydrogenated oil permitted a finer grinding of peanuts, which prevented the salt from separating from the peanut butter...Rosefield selected the name 'Skippy' for his new peanut butter. Most likely, the name was derived from a children's comic strip also called 'Skippy...Rosefield introduced creamy and chunky-style peanut butter in 1932. Three years later, the company inaugurated its first wide-mouth peanut-butter jar, which became the industry standard...Peanut butter was born at the end of the nineteenth century as a health and vegetarian food, but by the 1920s it was a major national product...In less than twenty-five years, peanut butter evolved from a hand ground delicacy to a mass-produced commercial commodity sold in almost every grocery store in America. it was employed in virtually every type of food from soups, salads, sauces, and main courses to desserts and snacks of every description. Peanut butter was versatile, inexpensive, available, and ready to use. Its makers appealed to children, who could make their own sandwiches and other peanut butter treats."
---Peanuts: The Illustrious History of the Goober Pea, Andrew F. Smith [University of Illinois Press:Urbana] 2002 (p. 42-44)

Ella Eaton Kellogg's recipe:

Peanut Butter.--A nut butter mill is desirable for the preparation of nut butter at home. If one designed for the purpose is not obtainable, a coffee or hand wheat mill may be used. Blanch the nuts, but do not roast and grind. The meal thus prepared may be cooked by putting it (dry) in the inner cup of a double boiler and cooking as directed for grains, for eight or ten hours. As it is required for use, add water to make of the desired consistency, and cook again for a few minutes, just long enough to bring out the essential oil of the nuts. Water may be added as soon as the nuts are ground, and the mixture placed in a covered bean pot and baked from eight to ten hours in a moderate oven, if preferred."
---Science in the Kitchen, Mrs. Ella Eaton Kellogg [Modern Medicine Publishing Co.:Battle Creek, MI] 1895 (p. 395)

Early promotional literature
"What is the element generally most lacking in the diet of children? Protein or muscle making foods, and vitamine or protective foods. But children are largely goverened by intelligence, and if the right foods are put within their reach they will usually choose the. So keep a jar of Beech-Nut Peanut Butter on your table at all three meals. You will find that the youngsters will love and freely eat it. ou can then feel sure that they will be properly feeding their muscles and stocking their bodies with protective vitamines. Spread slices of bread with Beech-Nut Peanut Butter ready for the children before they are called to the table, and you won't have to coak them to eat."
---The Beech-Nut Book: A Book of Menus And Recipes, Ida Bailey Allen [Beech-Nut Packing Co.:Canajoharie N.Y.] 1923 (p. 12)

Which American peanut butter brand pioneered plastic jar packaging?
Popeye Brand, May 1965, for a variety of sensible reasons.

"It starts out as a sturdy jar of peanut butter; it ends up as a lightweight storage unit or bouncing toy. These are some of the qualities attributed to the new unbreakable jar used to package this classic American nut spread...Other virtues possessed by the polyethylene jar include kitchen safety and lower consumer prices resulting from reduced shipping costs. It also adds outdoor convenience when picnicking, traveling and camping. First national distribution of 'bouncing' peanut butter is in a 28-ounce jar size. The container itself weighs one ounce, compared to eight ounces for a glass container of comparable size, and saves six pounds per case in total shipping weight. Transportation saving plus elimination of breakage and handling costs enable the plastic jar of peanut butter to be priced from five to ten cents lower to the consumer, according to the manufacturer. This high-density, blow-molded poly container is tinted in a peanut butter shade, closed with a continuous thread metal top and labeled with foil. The trade name for 'bouncing' peanut butter is Popeye, a product of the Sussex Foods, Inc. Everett Mass." ---"World of New Foods-Plastic Peanut Butter Jar," Daily Gleaner [Kingston Jamaica], dateline New York, August 26, 1965 (p. 18)

"All this time the [Leavitt Corporation of Everett. Mass.] had 'harbored the hope of getting into the peanut butter business in its own right. Mr. [Jean Paul] Weinstein said; So they bought Sussex Foods, Inc., which held the rights to the Popeye name for its product. Again, some sort of fund approach was sought, and in May the company came out with Popeye peanut butter that bounced. Actually, you can't bounce the peanut butter, but you can bounce the container--because it's made of pliable plastic. The Sussex division is on a three-shift basis, now Mr. Weinstein reports, because Popeye peanut butter is bouncing right off the store shelves as fast as they can be put there."
---"Advertising: Another Day in the Nut World," Walter Carlson, New York Times, August 22, 1965 (p. F12)

"Bemis ingenuity licks three more problems for industry!...a peanut butter jar that weighs one ounce and won't break...Blow Molded Plastic Containers. One large company got the jump on the competition by being the first to package peanut butter in this lightweight, shatterproof plastic jar, designed, colored and manufactured by Bemis. As a bonus benefit, the manufacturer also reduced his shipping costs substantially. (The new jar is eight times lighter than convention ones.) And it bounces when dropped! No mess from Mom, no cut fingers for Junior. A good peanut butter jar! And we can design and manufacture plastic jars that are just as good for mayonnaise, mustard and other foods."
---display ad, Bemis Company, Inc., [Minneapolis] Wall Street Journal, January 28, 1966 (p. 9)
[What did these early jars look like?
"Pik Nik" brand.]

Recommended reading:Creamy & Crunchy: an informal history of peanut butter, the all-American food/Jon Krampner (2013)
[NOTE: This book suggests George Bayle's snack food product may have predated Battle Creek Sanitarium health food. Food for thought.]

Reuben sandwiches
Food historians generally agree the origin of the Reuben sandwich (as we know it today) can be traced to the 1920s. It gained national attention, when a sandiwich by this name won an industyry-sponsored contest. The locus of origin remains a prime real estate dispute. Most print evidence credits chef Reuben Kulakofsky, the Blackstone Hotel, Omaha Nebraska. Native New Yorkers disagree. They firmly believe Arnold Reuben, a New York City deli owner, deserves the credit. Welcome to the delicious world of culinary fact & folklore!

Most of the Reuben history information you find on the Internet is extracted from this source:
"Nothing makes an Omahan madder than to hear that the Reuben sandwich was invented in New York City. As every good Nebraskan knows, Reuben Kulakofsky, an owner of Omaha's late, lamented Central Market, created the Reuben back in the 1920s. Here's the story: Reuben and his buddies used to meet regularly to play poker at Omaha's grand old hotel, the Blackstone. According to Omaha World-Herald Food Editor Jane Palmer, "Out of each pot, they'd save a nickel or a dime and, later in the day, they'd phone for a cold midnight lunch." What came were cold cuts, bread, condiments, etc., from which the players concocted their own sandwiches. The favorite, hands down, was Reuben Kulakofsy's creation. Blackstone owner Charles Schimmel, one of the "regulars," thought so much of this sandwich he put it on the hotel menu and called it a "Reuben." So what's this about a New York Reuben? According to Michael and Arieane Batterberry (One the Town in New York, 1973), the Reuben was created by Arnold, owner of Reuben's, a deli that opened on East Fifty-eighth Street between Fifth and Madison in 1928. They add that Reuben's had begun eleven years earlier "as a sandwich stand in Atlantic City." Even after its move to a posh New York location, the Batterberrys say "Reuben's laid no claim to being more than a delicatessen, and always had a sandwich counter at its entrance."...There's more to the Omaha Reuben story, too. In 1956, Fern Snider, a cook at the Blackstone, entered a quantity recipe for the Reuben in the first National Sandwich Idea Contest sponsored by the Wheat Flour Institute. It served forty-eight, took top honors, and won her a trip to New York...In 1976, twenty years after Fern Snider won the sandwich contest, Omaha World-Herald food editor Jane Palmer profiled the Reuben, interviewing Bernard Schimmel, son of the man who'd put the sandwich on the Blackstone Hotel menu in the late 1920s. "
---American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 342-3)
[NOTE: This book contains both Fern Snider's (1956) as well as Jane Palmer's (1976) Reuben recipes.]

The “birth” of the Reuben Sandwich. As we know it today. The first National Sandwich Contest, sponsored by the Midwest-based Wheat Flour Institute, selects the “Reuben” for first place winner. Note the thinness of the finished product. NYC deli owners prided themselves on “skyscraper high” sandwiches. This one is strikingly level, like the vast plains of Nebraska:

Portions: 48
Enriched Russian Rye Bread, 144 slices
Thousand Island dressing, 5 lb, 2 ½ qt.
Cheese, Swiss, 1-oz slices, 6 lb., 96 slices
Sauerkraut, 1 qt.
Corned beef, ½-oz slices, 6 lb. 192 spices.
Method of Preparation
Spread bread with Thousand Island dressing.
On each of 96 slices arrange 1 cheese slice, a scant No. 60 scoop of kraut, and 2 slices of corned beef.
Stack these slices to form 48 sandwiches.
Close the remaining bread slices and fasten with wooden picks.
Grill to order on both slices until browned. Cut diagonally in thirds. Garnish with French fried potatoes.
---Winning Sandwiches for Menu Makers From the National Sandwich Idea Contest, Kathleen M. Thomas, director of Home Economics, Wheat Flour Institute editor [Cahners Books International:Boston] 1976 (p. 30)
[NOTE: the preface of this book states: “The Contest That Gave us the Reuben. For over twenty years the skill of sandwich makers throughout America’s hotel, restaurant, and institutional industry has been encouraged and recognized by the granddaddy of all recipe contests, the National Sandwich Idea Contest… The recipes in this book represent the best of twenty years of sandwich competition, starting with the champion of the first contest in 1956, the now ubiquitous ‘Reuben.’” (p.2)]

Sloppy joes
During the second half of the nineteenth century ground beef gained popularity in America because it was both economical and nourishing. Recipes for
Hamburg Steaks (aka hamburgers) were included in many popular American cookbooks. Cooks often added inexpensive fillers (bread crumbs, ketchup, tomato paste, eggs, sweet peppers, minced onions, Worcestershire sauce, bottled horseradish, pickle relish, mustard, salt & pepper were the most popular) to stretch the meat. This ground beef mixture was then fashioned into meatballs, meat loaves, hamburger stew, and loose meat sandwiches.

Early 20th century American cookbooks offer plenty of sloppy-joe type recipes, though they go by different titles: Toasted Deviled Hamburgers, Good Housekeeping Cook Book, Katharine Fisher [1944] (p. 534); Chopped Meat Sandwiches, Young America's Cook Book, Home Institute of the New York Herald Tribune [1940] (p. 36); Hamburg a la Creole, Prudence Penny's Cookbook, [1939] (p.67); Beef Mironton, The New Butterick Cook Book, Flora Rose [1924] (p. 266); Minced Beef Spanish Syle, Mrs. Rorer's New Cook Book, Sarah Tyson Rorer [1902] (p.157).

Where do sloppy joes fit in?

"The origins of this dish are unknown, but recipes for the dish date back at least to the 1940s. It dates in print to 1935. There is probably no Joe after whom it is named--but its rather messy appearance and tendency to drip off plate or roll makes "sloppy" an adequate description, and "Joe" is an American name of proletarian character and unassailable genuineness. There are many individual and regional variations on the dish. In Sioux City, Iowa, a dish of this type is called a "loosemeat sandwich," created in 1934 at Ye Olde Tavern Inn by Abraham and Bertha Kaled."
--- Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p.297).

"Sloppy Joes...I remember eating these in the 1940s and suspect they may have been a way of stretching precious ground beef during World War II. Apparently not. My friend and colleague Jim Fobel tells me that in his own quest to trace the origin of the Sloppy Joe, he talked to Marilyn Brown, Director of the Consumer Test Kitchen at H.K. Heinz in Pittsburgh (the Heinz "Joe," not surprisingly, is reddened with ketchup). Brown says their research at the Carnegie Library suggests that the Sloppy Joe began in a Sioux City, Iowa, cafe as a "loose meat sandwich" in 1930, the creation of a cook named Joe..."
---The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 349)

The state of Iowa does seem to have a history of loose meat sandwiches:

Taylor's Maid-Rites (est. 1926)

"Sloppy Joe's...any cheap restaurant or lunch counter serving cheap food quickly, since 1940."
---Dictionary of American Slang, Wentworth & Flexner, 2nd supp. edition (p. 488)

"Sloppy...[definition 6] Sloppy Joe, sloppy joe (a) designate a loose-fitting sweater; (b) U.S. a kind of hamburger in which the minced-beef filling is made into a kind of meat sauce;...." [this source traces the phrase *sloppy joe* as it relates to food only as far back as 1961].
---Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office's TESS trademark database yields 100+ matches on the phrase "sloppy joe," none of which are conclusive.

The earliest recipe we find so far for sloppy joes was printed in 1963:

1/2 lb ground beef
1 can (1 lb) beans and ground beef in barbecue sauce
1/4 cup catsup
3 hamburger buns, split and toasted

1. In medium skillet, saute meat, stirring, until it loses its red color.
2. Add beans and catsup, mixing well. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Spoon mixture over buns.
---McCall's Cook Book, (p. 625)

Recipe from the McCormick Company, manufacturers of prepackaged Sloppy Joes seasoned mixes

Want to make your own sloppy joes? You will find several recipes listed in RecipeSource. Just run a search on "sloppy joe." You will also find a recipe for sloppy joes in recent editions of The Joy of Cooking, Irma S. Rombauer

Submarine sandwich
Food historians generally agree the modern American
sub, hero, wedge, hoagie, grinder, Po'Boy, Rich Girl, gondola, torpedo, zepplin..and their heated cousins Philly cheese steak & Chicago Italian beef are regional variations on the same culinary theme. Vietnamese Banh Mi are current trend. These overstuffed meat, cheese and vegetable oblong-shaped foods nestled between thick Italian or chewy French bread were recipes built on local culinary traditions and ethnic preference. Six-foot sandwiches surface in New York City, circa 1950s.

Old-world filled breads (calzones, empanadas, pasties, &c.) were introduced to America in the 19th century by immigrant laborers. The classic "Sub" (salami, cheese, peppers, olives, oil) was introduced to America by immigrants from Southern Italy in the early part of the 20th century. The progenitor of the sub was probably the muffolette. After World War II Italian food gained popularity with mainstream America. Over time, the sub assimilated. This accounts for the use of other meats (turkey, roast beef), cheese (American, Swiss), vegetables (lettuce, tomato) and spreads (mayonnaise, mustard).

What's in a name?
"The submarine is a noble edifice built of meats, cheeses, fish--preserved and pickled--and fresh vegetables and greens, all stuffed into a whole long loaf of bread and laved generously with oil herb-flecked vinegar and other delicious lubricants. It is the king of all sandwiches, and its kingdom is growing. Facts about it are hard to pin down...I have seen and eaten subs in New England, in the South and in California. A restauranteur...Peter Palazzolo...recently estimated that there are between 3000 and 4000 places in the East and Midwest where subs may be bought. The shops I have visited...sell anywhere from 200 to 1000 a day, ranging in pricee from twenty-five cents to a dollar...In its simplest form, the sub is made of two or three ingredients. In its most imaginative, inspiring and maddening form, it can contain as many as thirty, and more. The word "submarine: or its diminutive "sub" may be used for both the cimple and the elaborate sandwich. The origin of the word is self-evident--the long loaf does roughly resemble an underwater craft. It also looks like an over-earth Zeppelin...Indeed, there are as many names as there are ingredients in a good-sized submarine. The names have no particular local significance. One could suppose that submarines would be called submarines in New London, Connecticut, wehre the Navy has a submarine base. Up there they are called grinders. This might be due to the workout one's teeth get while consuming a grinder. Next to the submarine, the most common name is hero, or Italian hero. There are two plausible explanations. One is the heroic size of the sandwich. The other is the heroic appetite required to finish one. Another oft-used name is Hoagie...It can be stated with certainty that the name does not derive from that of Hoagy Carmichael, composer of Stardust. That is about all I know. Jess Stien, managing editor of the American College Dictionary, confessed to me that he did not know the etymology. Neither did an editor of Fountain and Fast Food Service, a quick-lunch trade journal. My own guess, for what it is worth--about the price of an inexpensive hoagie--is that the word originally was hoggie, or hoggy--used derisively by people who confused hearty appetites with gluttony...Gourmet magazine, regarded by many as a final authority on food, calls the sandwich the poor boy or po'boy; so do many Southerners...The original poor boy did originate there, but the sub did not...Last summer Gourmet published three poor boy-flute variations...the first encounter with the submarine occured in 1946, when I was recently discharged from the Army and New York's Greenwich Village...The mainstay of my diet was pizza...unti I found out about the sandiwch...Down the street from my apartment was a grocery store operated by the Scarsi Brothers, who came from the Piedmont section of Italy...On day as I was entering I nearly colleded with a man coming out...He was eating the biggest sandwich I'd ever seen. I asked one of the Scarsi brothers if he had made that sandwich, and he said proudly he had. 'Would you like to make me one?' I asked eagerly...Mr. Scarsi took up a loaf a sthick as his husky wrist and as long as his forearm and sliced t lengthwise nearly through. He spread both sides generously with a good stiff mustard. Then he took tissue-thin slices of prosciutto ...and covered one side of the sandwich. On the other he placed thick slices of provolone, a smoky Italian cheese which is best when it is aged...Now he was piling on cappo collo, a highly spiced pork shoulder cut, also sliced thin, He followeed that with lettuce leaves, crushed green and black olives, and a portion of the curd cheese called ricotta. Finaly he put on two kinds of salami. When he put the sandwich together it was three inches thick. I was sure it would cost more than the dollar I was limited to daily...'Thirty cents,' he said...after my first bite, into another world, for there are few senasations comparable to the slow, ecstatic contentment that spreads over a man when first he begins to work on a sub...Mrs. Nina Manganaro, who with her brother, Louis began operating a store around 1919. Her cousin, Ernest Petrucci, had esbalished it in 1885 and the Manganaros had come from Naples, and so, said Mrs. Manganaro, had the submarine."
---"The Noblest Sandwich of the All," Richard Gehman, Saturday Evening Post, January 1, 1955 (p. 16+)

"Pizzerias may have been among the first Italian-American eateries, but even at the turn of the century distinctions were clear-cut as to what constituted a true ristorante. To be merely a pizzamaker was to be at the bottom of the culinary and social scale; so many pizzeria owners began offering other dishes, including the 'hero' sandwich (also, depending on the region of the United States, called a 'wedge,' a 'hoagie,' a 'sub,' or a 'grinder') made on a Italian loaf of bread with lots of salami, cheese, and peppers."
---America Eats Out, John Mariani [Morrow:New York] 1991 (p. 66)

"I happened to glance through a column that appeared in the New York Times [1957] which Manganaro's, the famed food establishment at 492 Ninth Avenue in Manhattan, staked a claim to the original hero. That may be open to debate, but I was interested in that store's beginnings, which I had never read before. "In 1905...James Manganaro, who had been making whale-sized sandwiches of prosciutto and French bread to nourish himself on all-day fishing trips, came from Italy to New York to join his cousin in the grocery business. ..It was James Manganaro who branched into the sandwich business, making them the same way he liked a sandwich--big."
---Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Food Encyclopedia, Craig Claiborne [Times Books:New York] 1985 (p. 212)

Each sub-type sandwich has it's own naming story. Some can be substantiated, others are fine examples of culinary lore.

"During World War II, the commissary of the United States Navy's submarine base in Groton, Connecticut, ordered five hundred hero sandwiches a day from Benedetto Capaldo's Italian deli in New London, where the name 'sub' was soon applied to the item."
---America Eats Out, John Mariani [Morrow:New York] 1991 (p. 114-5)

According the the Oxford English Dictionary, the first print reference for the word "submarine," as it applies to this sandwich, was published in 1955. That article makes no reference to Capaldo's. The earliest print reference we find stating the word "sub" dates to World War II is this:

"The good folks fo Groton have posted a sign, "You are Entering the Submarine capital of the World," to eliminate confusion, because some people believe that New London, across the Thames River, is the sub capital. And it is, sort of. It's the capital of submarine sandwiches, being the birthplace of that wonderfullly portable meal, introduced to the world by New London's own Benedetto Capaldo. What had originally been a "grinder" because of the way you had to chew to get through the Italian bread became a "sub" during World War II. By then the submarine base commissary was ordering almost 500 sandwiches a day, and Benny had to hire four helpers to stuff the submarine-shaped loaves with salami, tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce. When the sailors eventually left town, they took their discover with them. The Naval Sub Base, usually referred to as the "New London Sub Base," really is in Groton, which long ago was part of New London."
---"The Submarine Capitals of the World," Jamie Kageleiry, Yankee, March 1990 (p. 86) [NB: Local words are sometimes used many years before they hit national print.]

Notes from the Reference Librarians @New London (CT) Public Library confirm Capaldo's:
...searched our old city directories during the World War II time period and found that Benedetto Capaldo was a grocer and his store was located at 357 Bank Street from 1939 - 1943 and then later at 370 Bank Street (1944 - 1954). Presently, 357 Bank Street is a restaurant called Hot Rod Cafe. There is no current lisitng for 370 Bank Street. It appears that 1948 was the last year Benedetto Capaldo was listed in the city directory. Unfortunately, we don't have an index for the newspaper, so I won't be able to search the papers. ...looked through one of the books we have on the history of New London and found a little bit of information. This is from Reinventing New London by John Ruddy, " Legend has it that the New York Fruit Store on Shaw Street was the birthplace of the Italian grinder in the 1920s. Benedetto Capalbo (different spelling), the owner, was reputed to be the first in America to make the famous sandwich, known varioulsy as the hero, hoagie, and sub. Fifty years later, a suggestion that the building belonged on the National Register of Historic Places was met with snickers, and it was torn down."

"...In the 1930s food writer Clementine Paddleford [she was a food writer for the New York Herald Tribune newspaper] noted that the name derived from the hyperbole that one must be a hero to eat such a sandwich."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 154)

Term used exclusively in Westchester County, NY (Yonkers, especially)

"Wedge (for the shape of the sandwich, usually cut at an angle) is another common alternative for hero..."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 154)

"To the Editor: Your article ''In Hoagieland, They Accept No Substitutes'' (May 28) and the many names for a sandwich on hero bread brought to mind an experience I had in Brooklyn. I have lived in Yonkers all of my life, and we refer to the hero/hoagie/grinder/submarine as a wedge. When I went to a coffee shop in Brooklyn, they had a sign listing meatballs as a sandwich special of the day, and I ordered a meatball wedge and they hand't a clue as to what I was talking about!"
---New York Times, Jun 4, 2003. pg. F.8

"Westchester: Wedge Sandwich
A regional sandwich name in Westchester (Yonkers) for the hero/sub/hoagie is "wedge." Again, I checked the telephone directories.
Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, Bronxville, Tuckahoe
Corrected to January 3, 1958

Pg. 320, col. 3:
Specializes in Hot Wedges
434SawMillRiverRd -- YOnkers 9-9269

Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, Bronxville, Tuckahoe
Corrected to October 13, 1959

Pg. 315, col. 1 ad:
YOnkers 9-9269
Specializing in
Barry Popik

"It is an article of faith here, though no one can prove it, that hoagies started in South Philadelphia and spread. The most prevalent explanation for the name is that they were the regular lunch fare of Italian-American workers from South Philadelphia in an old shipyard at Hog Island in the days before the area became the site of the city's airport. There, according to the tradition, the sandwiches were called hoggies, a word that was eventually corrupted. There are heretics who say the first hoagies were made in Chester, about 10 miles south of here, but that doesn't bother Antoinette Iannelli. ''I don't know anything about that,'' she said the other day. ''All I know is that I made the first hoagie in Philadelphia.'' In support of her claim, she has a sign above the door to her South Philadelphia lunch counter and grocery store, right under the name Emil's, reading ''home of the original hoagie.'' Mrs. Iannelli, a small, brisk woman who will be 73 years old this month, punctuated her words with vigorous stabs at her cash register, which she has commanded for decades, since Emil, her husband, decided to return to his native Italy. It was about 50 years ago, she said, that she and Mr. Iannelli moved here from Maine, looking for work. Finding none, they opened a fruit stand with a meat case on the side. One morning, she said, a young police officer came in saying he had had a fight with his wife and she had refused to pack his lunch. He asked Mrs. Iannelli to make him a sandwich. She cut a loaf of Italian bread in half, she said, packed it with meats, olives, onions, lettuce and tomatoes and mixed a sauce to keep it moist. ''Lo and behold,'' said Mrs. Iannelli, ''that was it. The next day that policeman was back saying 'Antoinette, fix me one of those sandwiches for the captain.' The day after that the whole street was lined with police cars.'' Soon, she said, she was sending hoagies all over South Philadelphia, and, when World War II started, out to the shipyard. Then she offered a mild heresy of her own. The idea did not come from this area at all, she said. ''I remembered seeing a sandwich like it made in Maine, by a woman from northern Italy, and she had seen them made over there,'' Mrs. Iannelli said."
---"ABOUT PHILIDELPHIA," William Robbins, New York Times, Aprril 17, 1984, (p. A14)

"Settlers from Naples, Sicily, Calabria and Abruzzo poured into South Philadelphia in the 1880's and 1890's, and in the 1950's singers like Mario Lanza, Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Bobby Rydell sprang from these hard streets...According to those who have explored the murky recesses of local food history, hoagies owe their name to the Hog Island shipyard on the Delaware River. During the Depression, or so the story goes, construction workers there used to buy Italian sandwiches from a luncheonette operated by one Al DePalma, who called them ''hoggies.'' Time changed the name to hoagies. Hoagies are not fundamentally different from New York's heroes or Boston's grinders or Everytown's submarines. Call them what you like, but Philadelphia must eat more per capita than anyplace else, and in a city where almost everybody, including Wawa convenience stores, fills eight-inch-long bread rolls with cold cuts, South Philadelphia fills them better than anyone. The bread is the key to quality. So who better to make a great hoagie than a great bakery? That would be Sarcone's, a fixture on Ninth Street, which a few years ago opened a tiny deli a few doors away. Its Old Fashioned Italian (Gourmet) hoagie is a minor masterpiece. A roll with a crunchy seeded crust and a soft, yet densely chewy, interior provides a solid base with plenty of absorptive power. Both are sorely needed after they pile on the prosciutto, coppa, spicy sopressata, provolone, oregano, tomatoes, onions, hot peppers, oil and vinegar."
---"In Hoagieland, They Accept No Substitutes," R. W. APPLE Jr.., New York Times, May 28, 2003, (p. F1)

"Phillufia, or Philly, which is what we kids called the city, was where the epicurean delight made with cold cuts, cheese, tomatoes, pickles, and onions stuffed into a long, hard-crusted Italian bread loaf was invented. The creation of that sandwich took place in tile Italian pushcart section of the city, known as Hog Island. Some linguists contend that it was but a short leap from Hog Island to hoagie. while others claim that the label hoagie arose because only a hog had the appetite or technique to eat one properly."
---"What Did You Say?," Richard Lederer, USA Today, July 2009, (p. 52)

Who invented the six-foot sandwich, where & when?
This oversized party food is attributed to the Manangaro family, whose Italian food shops were located at on Ninth Avenue, New York City. References to the sandwich first surface in the mid-1950s. The original sandwich cost $28.50, weighed between 22 & 25 pounds, served between 40-50 people, and was presented on a board crafted for the purpose. Who was responsible for the invention? Therein lies the rub which caused a family feud of epic proportions. Two brothers, Sal and Jimmy Dell'O'rto (direct descendants of the original Manganaro proprietor) claim the honor. Another story credits an unnamed publicist hired to promote the family business.

"A Ninth Avenue sandwich shop is offering something different: a 25-pound 'Hero' sandwich six-feet long. Salvatore Dell'Orto said he made one for a customer who wanted something unusual. Since then four others have placed orders. The king-size, multiingredient sandwiches cost $28, are one-foot wide- and are delivered on a board."
---"Six-Foot Sandwich Built in New York," Christian Science Monitor, December 31, 1959 (p. 3)

"Perhaps the best-known purveyor of hero sandwiches and her fillings in New Manganaro's, that vast and fantastic Italian emporium at 488 Ninth Avenue (near 38th Street). Manganaro's has, in fact, a six-foot hero that costs $28.50 and must be ordered a day in advance. The sandwich allegedly serves 30 to 40 adults."
---"Food: Hero Sandwich Traced Abroad," Craig Claiborne, New York Times, August 27, 1963 (p. 34)

Manganaro's on Ninth
"At least the Capulets and Montagues didn't have to share a name. Not so the descendants of a 19th-century Neapolitan who opened an Italian deli on Ninth Avenue 107 years ago. In high fairy-tale tradition, the business eventually passed to descendants: four brothers named Dell'Orto who, citing difference in management style, divided it up between the oldest and youngest pairs. That was in 1961, and the family relations were never the same. Salvatore and Vincent, the older brothers, took over the original store, Manganaro's Grosseria Italiano, a prosperous business that sold groceries and had a small sandwich counter in the back. James and Mario, the younger brothers, got the business next door, a budding sandwich shop called Manganaro's Hero Boy. Both businesses were given the right to use the Manganaro name, but relations between them quickly soured. By the early 1960s the two sides had stopped speaking, and since then a trail of litigation has kept the feud alive...The stores locked horns in court in the 1980s, when Hero Boy sued the Grosseria for establishing a telephone line called 'Manangaro's Hero Party Hotline' that sold six food and party hero sandwiches. 'By doing that, he bummed into my business,' said James, asserting that in the 1960's and 1970's he spent considerable sums to promote his six-foot heroes, a sandwich he says Salvatore had hardly dabbled with until the 1980s. But Salvatore strongly disagrees. In fact, he said, 'We originated the six-foot sandwich.'"
---"Family Feud: Manganaro's Against Manganaro's," Tara Bahrampour, New York Times, May 14, 2000 (p. 34)

"The business itself originated in 1893 as Petrucci's Wines and Brandies, where groceries were sold as well. In the 1920's, James Manganaro, an immigrant from Naples, took it over and gave it his name. He did so well that in 1927 he bought the building at 488 Ninth Avenue...In 1955, the six-foot hero was brainstormed when the family and a publicity agent figured that a large hero sandwich would be a good marketing ploy. Dubbed Hero-Boy, the 22-pound extravaganza cost $28.50 in the 1960s (it costs $106 now). Back then, it won such renown that Sal and the sandwich wound up on the quiz show 'I've Got a Secret.' (They stumped the panel). In 1956, the family bought the vacant store next door, and sandwiches, including the six-foot hero, were made there as well...It didn't take long for customers to become confused, placing an order with one Manganaro store, confirming the order with another...How did the feud begin? 'Some checks for use were mistakenly sent next door, and he banked them and never told me about it, Sal said of his brother Jimmy...Jimmy's recollection is quite different."
---"A Family, A Feud and a Six-Foot Sandwich, Glenn Collins, New York Times, December 8, 2001 (p. A1)

Jimmy's side of the story:
"History of Manganaro's Hero Boy. It began on Ninth Avenue in New York City in the late 1800's. From there, a family tradition has evolved into one of the City's most talked about places. There are not many restaurants that can boast on having a 'fifty' year plus background of serving some of the best food in the area and continuing on with the legacy that their family was so proud of. In 1956, with his mother Nina, James Dell'Orto operated the Italian Groceria known as Manganaro's. James decided to take this one step further and got the brilliant idea of doing a hero sandwich that would be the first of its kind and called it the Six Foot Hero Boy. It was an instant success and was the beginning of an Italian-style hero that could feed a party of thirty or forty people. The orders began coming in and Manganaro's Hero Boy began its exciting journey of becoming one of New York's finest eateries."
[NOTE: In December 2013, the Six-foot hero costs $345.00. It comes with a complete party pack including chips, salad & pasta.] ?

Manganaro's dissolved in 2011. Hero Boy survives in 2013. "Death of a Hero: Iconic Restaurant to Close", Josh Barbanel, Wall Street Journal, Feburary 28. 2011.

The place? New Orleans. The people? Most commonly attributed to Benny and Clovis Martin. The year? Varies, though most agree the name was made popular during the 1929 streetcar strike. Culinary evidence suggests the sandwich predates the name.

"Po'boy. Also "poorboy." A sandwich made from French bread loaves split in half and filled with a variety of ingredients like ham, beef, cheese, oysters, tomatoes, and gravy. Similar to a hero, they are a specialty of New Orleans, where they were originally called push sandwiches because the meat was pushed along the length of the bread to save the best parts for last. The Po'boy was created in the 1920s by Benny and Clovis Martin, owners of Martin Brothers Grocery, who served the sandwich to striking streetcar workers free of charge (other sources say for fifteen cents) until the strike ended. They used up more than a thousand loaves of bread in one day. Another story says the term is related to the French for a gratuity, pourboire. Nonetheless, the term "poor boy" for a sandwich goes back to 1875. An oyster loaf is a form of po'boy made with oysters."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 246)
[NOTE: According to Mr. Mariani, the 1875 reference is from the 2nd edition of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language.]

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the earliest print origin to 1932:

poor boy sandwich.
A kind of large sandwich; = PO' BOY n1932 New Orleans Classified Telephone Directory 108/2 Po Boi Sandwich Shoppe Inc. 1951 N.Y. Herald Tribune 4 July 7/8 The beginning of the Po' Boy sandwich we credited to a sandwich shop in New Orleans. 1978 C. TRILLIN Alice, let's Eat 166 Three hours after we had arrived..I was settled under a tree, almost too full to finish my second hot-sausage po' boy. 1984 P. PRUDHOMME Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen x. 268, I think they're superb on sandwiches; we use them on our po boy sandwiches made with French bread and various fillings. 2003 Time Out N.Y. 3 Apr. 35/4 New Orleans raised chef Richard Pierce is serving po'boys and jambalaya at this new restaurant.

Excellent summary with supporting primary documents here. What goes in a Po'Boy?

"Oyster Loaves, the plain Way.

Take the Crumb out, and save the Bit you cut out, then beard your Oysters, and toss them up in some of the Liquor, and some clear Broth, and some Crumbs of Bread, season with a little Nutmeg and Sallt, and squeeze a little Lemon, then put in your Loaves, and egg over the HOle, and cover it with the Piece, and fry them in clarify'd Butter, so serve hot."
---The Complete Practical Cook, or, a New System of the Whole Art and Mystery of Cookery, Charles Carter, facsimile 1730 edition [Ecco Print on demand] (p. 46-47)

"Oyster Loaf. La Mediatrice.

Delicate French Loaves of Bread.
2 Dozen Oysters to a Loaf.
1 Tablespoonful of Melted Butter.
This is called the "famous peacmeaker" in New Orleans. Every husband, who is detained down town, laughingly carries home an oyster loaf, or Mediatrice, to make "peace" with his anxiously waiting wife. Right justly is the Oyster Loaf called the "Peacemaker," for well made, it is enough to bring the smiles to the face of the most disheartened wife. Take delicate French loaves of bread and cut off, lengthwise, the upper portion. Dig the curmbs out of the center of each piece, leaving the sides and bottom like a square box. Brush each corner of the box and the bottom with melted butter, and place in a quick oven to brown. Fill with broiled or creamed oysters. Cover with each other and serve."
---The Picayune Creole Cook Book, Second edition, facsimile 1901 edition [Dover Publications:New York] 1971 (p. 66)

"La Mediatrice (The Peacemaker)

This is the amusing name given to one of New Orleans gastronomic masterpieces--fried oysters served in either a loaf of hot new bread, shrom which the soft part has been scooped out, or in large rolls. In the old days, when a husband was coming home in the early hours of the morning, in order to pacify his irate wife who was awating him he would get a loaf of bread, still hot from the baker's oen, and have it filled with piping hot fried oysters, and hurredly take it home. History does not tell us whether it always had the desired effect. Oysters are very plentiful in the waters around New Orleans, two of the most famous New Orleans oysters beeing the Bayou Cook and the Barataria oysters. For the 'Peacemaker' the oysters are dipped in flour, then brushed over wtih the beaten yolk of egg, well seasoned with salt and pepper and fried in deep fat for not more than 3 or 4 minutes, till al light golden color. Drain thoroughly and have ready a loaf of bread--a sandwich loaf is ery suitable --the top being removed and the inside or sift part of the loaf removed also, thus forming a case. Pour a little melted butter in the loaf and set it in the oven to get thoroughly warm. Place the oysters in the loaf, garnish with a few slices of sliced gherkins, cover with the lid and serve very hot."
---Recipes of All Nations, Countess Morphy [W,. H. Wise & Company:New York] 1935, 1943(p. 678-679)

Philly cheesesteaks, Chicago Italian beef sandwiches, & New Orleans Muffulettas
While the origins of these tasty Italian sandwiches (and their relatives:
Greek gyros & souvlakis) are of ancient southern European heritage, food historians generally agree the modern versions were introduced to America by food vendors in the 20th century. Each one is popularly attributed to a specific person, and the *true* recipe is honored. Regional culinary pride at its very finest.

Philly cheese steak: Philadelphia, PA
"Philadelphia Cheese-steak. A sandwich made with thin slices of beef topped with cheese and other condiments and served on a crisp Italian-style roll. It is a specialty of Philadelphia. Its origins have never been satsifactorily explained, although Pat and Harry Olivieri of Pat's Restaurant claim to have created the item in 1930 (although Pat Olivieri claimed to have added the cheese only in 1948)."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 238)

Philly folks order cheese steaks "wit." This means with Cheez Whiz & sauteed onions. The fact Cheez Whiz was introduced in 1953 makes us wonder whether this was a later permuation and/or what was the original cheese. Hmmmmmm....

Italian beef sandwiches: Chicago, IL
"Italian beef stand. An inexpensive restaurant or streetside stand selling sliced beef in a spicy gravy. Italian beef is a specialty of the Midwest, especially Chicago. The name merely refers to some vague idea of how Italians would serve their beef--highly, seasoned--but there is no such dish in Italy."
---Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink (p. 168)

Muffulettas: New Orleans, LA
"One day, the owner of the Central Grocery, Lupo Salvatore himself a Sicilian immigrant -- made an agreement for the Sicilian baker to supply bread to the Central Grocery, which then re-sold the bread to its customers. With that agreement, the Sicilian baker became a wholesaler, and the workers no longer bought their bread from the Sicilian baker but from the Central Grocery, where the workers bought all their lunch ingredients: bread, meats, cheese and salad. In 1906, Lupo Salvatore decided to combine these ingredients into a sandwich. He decided to use the muffoletta bread, because of its ability to hold the filling without leaking. To make each sandwich, Lupo filled a muffoletta loaf with olive salad, meats and cheeses; then he wrapped the sandwich in paper; and then he sold it as a muffoletta sandwich, except that he misspelled the name as muffuletta. After all, Lupo was a grocer, not a baker and thus not familiar with the spellings of the many Sicilian breads. In any event, even when misspelled, the muffoletta sandwich was so much easier to carry that it became an immediate, major success for the Central Grocery....Because muffoletta sandwiches were such a success, other groceries including the nearby Progress Grocery also began to sell muffoletta sandwiches. The other famous New Orleans sandwich, the po-boy, dates from the 1920's and so is not as old as the muffoletta sandwich. Over the last century (1903 2003), history lost the name of the Sicilian baker who first baked and sold muffoletta bread in New Orleans. But history did not lose the name of the Sicilian grocer who first introduced the muffoletta sandwich to the world: Signor Lupo Salvatore, owner of the Central Grocery."

"Certain dishes are so ingrained in this region's stew-pot cuisine that to eliminate them would be unthinkable. One is muffuletta, an Italian submarine-type sandwich with a distinctive olive salad. It was created at Central Grocery Store in the early 1900s and still is sold there. Marie Lupo Tusa, daughter of the grocery's founder, tells the story of the sandwich's origin in her cookbook, Marie's Melting Pot (1980). Sicilian farmers selling produce at the nearby Farmers' Market stopped at the grocery every day for lunch. "They would order some salami, some ham, a piece of cheese, a little olive salad and either long braided Italian bread or round muffuletta bread," Tusa wrote. "In typical Sicilian fashion they ate everything separately." Her father decided it would be easier for the farmers if he cut the bread and put everything on it like a sandwich. After experimenting, he determined that the softer muffuletta bread worked better than the crusty Italian loaves, Tusa says. Shortly, the farmers began asking simply for the "muffuletta."

Banh mi: Vietnam
USA-centric media concentrates on where to obtain this trendy menu item. They provide scant references to its origin, history and evolution. Our research confirms "banh" is indeed a traditioal food of Vietnam. The origins are ancient and the "true" ingredients are indigenous. The Banh mi celebrated to day is a far cry from Vietnam's street foods. Presumably, this hybrid product was either created from, or inspired by, French culinary influence. Many popular ethnic-based Americanized foods were launched similar fashion. Think: spaghetti & meatballs and California rolls.

None of the articles we read provided a date/decade for the genesis of banh mi. The most daring authors alluded vaguely to the beginning of 18th century French imperial rule. If we had to make an educated guess? We would place this food in the mid-20th century, most likely after WWII. American hero-type sandwiches (Philly Cheese Steaks, New Orleans Po'Boys, etc.) wedged their way onto the American culinary map during 1930s.

What is traditional Vietnamese banh?
"Banh is a word for which there is no satisfactory English equivalent. Spring rolls can be called banh, as can crepes. Sandwiches, and any baked goods are called banh. Sweets and savouries wrapped in leaves to be steamed or grilled are called banh. The only constant is that banh are small culinary bundles or other constructions, often eaten with the hands. Vietnamese who speak English generally refer to them as 'cake'...banh are quintessential street food. The oldest form of banh...what is arguably the world's oldest form of cooking other than simply exposing meat to fire, are those wrapped in leaves. In every market, and on street corners of every city and town, you will see them. Tightly wrapped in green leaves and tied with complex knots that would make a sailor proud, they fill baskets with their abundance...Each region in Vietnam has its own banh, just as each region of France has its own wine. The various ethnig groups prepare different types of banh with their local ingredients. People from the Tay ethnic minority wrap yams in banana leaves and call it banh khoai so. Hmong people use banana leaves to wrap banh ngo non, or young corn banh. Sweet potatoes and cassava are other common ingredients in the highlands. Leaf-wrapped banh are popular and enduring because they are so well suited to local materials and conditions. Leaves provide a container in which foods are cooked, and alos help to preserve the food, and keep it from getting dirty or mouldy. It is so compact and portable that if you have banh, you've alsways got a moveable feast, with no worries about disposing of a plastic wrapper. The most common ingredient in banh is rice both sticky and fluffy. A popular type is 'square cake', kwown in the north a banh chung, a savoury sticky rice preparation filled with mung bean paste and minced pork, wrapped in banana leaves, or the leaves of rushes, and steamed. While these can be found any day of the year, they are also important festival fare...In the central and southern parts of the country this cake is called banh u. The filling is the same, but hte package is intricately folded into a little pyramid...Banh tet, sometimes called Banh day, is said to have been first prepared by votaries on the Hung temple, near Hanoi. Thos is called the birthplace of the Vietnamese people, and its banh is meant to symbolise the continuity of the race, its determination to 'go forth and multiply'. Banh tet is always filled with rice, the gastronomic symbol of fertility."
---World Food: Vietnam, Richard Sterling, Lonely Planet (p. 181-182)

French connection & American introduction
"The French left their Vietnamese colonies with a legion of trained baguette bakers, pate makers and charcutiers who added their own flavorings to sausages and deli meats. This culinary legacy inspired Banh-mi, crunchy rolls piled with Vietnamese-style cold cuts. They are sold on practically every corner in Saigon, and now scores of California shops specialize in them. One of my favorite versions is at My Vi, a fascinating place to while away a lunch hour. At one end of the restaurant, people line up at a portable Chinese-style barbecue for take-out cha-shu and barbecued duck. At the other end, they eat "French submarines." My choice was Banh mi dia-a marvelous sandwich plate of assorted Vietnamese-style cold cuts and pate with two sunny-side-up eggs in the center. A little salad of marinated carrots and fresh chile slices also comes on the plate alongside a huge fluffy mound of wonderful homemade mayonnaise. (The owner gave a discourse on his homemade mayonnaise, which began with, "You take a fresh chicken egg.")"
---"Exotica on Rye," Linda Burum, Los Angeles Times, May 31, 1987 (p. 95)

"Banh mi, Vietnamese sandwiches served on hot, crisp French bread, are everywhere in and around Asian Garden, and the competition keeps the prices down and the quality high-banh mi that, the basic, fresh-chile-spiked barbecued pork sandwich-is usually 99 cents, and it's hard to find a bad one. If you throw in an extra half-buck for the deluxe sandwich, you'll get bits of every pig part you can imagine."
---"'Garden of Eatin'," Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times, February 6, 1992 (p. 25)

"The Vietnamese are master sandwich makers, a legacy of their time under the French, when they were introduced to, among other things, French bread and fine coffee. You ordinarily won't find Vietnamese sandwiches, or banh mi, in restaurants, though. They are considered street food, great for a quick snack or lunch."
---"From Memphis to Vietnam," Eric Asimov, New York Times, March 10, 1999 (p. F2)

Trendy fare
"Operators across the country are exploring ways to upgrade the traditional American sandwich. But some are predicting that the next sandwich craze is waiting in the wings in Vietnamese neighborhoods across the country. Banh mi sandwiches - a classic Vietnamese combination of pâté, ham, sausages or head-cheese, topped with pickled carrots, cucumbers, daikon, fresh cilantro and jalapeños on a French baguette - have been common in cities with large Asian populations for the past two decades. But as more non-Asian diners discover the inexpensive and tasty treat, operators are seeing crossover potential to appeal to a broader audience. Banh mi specifically was mentioned by a study released in April by Packaged Facts, a New York-based market research firm specializing in consumer goods, as one of several Asian dishes with "potential for mainstream appeal." According to Packaged Facts, the total U.S. retail sales of Asian foods increased by 27.3 percent from 2000 to 2004, driven in part by a growing Asian-American population. The sandwich is a classic example of cultural fusion, a vestige of the French colonial era in Vietnam. The bread is French, of course, as is the smear of pâté, ham and mayonnaise. The rest is Vietnamese, offering a refreshing spice and crunch. A banh mi is essentially a submarine sandwich with an exotic twist. Some use Asian-style barbecued pork, lemongrass chicken and other hot options as well, and most banh mi shops allow guests to customize their orders."
---"Banh mi on a roll," Lisa Jennings, Nation's Restaurant News, May 16, 2005 (p. 41)

"A baguette, still warm from the oven, its golden crust trellised with cracks. Sandwiched inside, a bright green thatch of cilantro and jalapenos, a tangle of pickled carrots and daikon, a smear of pate. Loaded between that, maybe a layer of rich barbecued pork or zesty meatballs, even spicy sardines. This is banh mi, an addictive Vietnamese street food and the culinary pay dirt of French colonialism."
---"COOKING; A slice of Little Saigon; The banh mi sandwich, a fresh baguette with savory fillings, is the quintessential Vietnamese comfort food," Amy Scattergood, Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2008 (p. F1)

"No one knows precisely when the first bánh mì hit New York, although historians of that ingenious Vietnamese delicacy estimate that it was sometime during the Koch administration [1978-1989], back when there wasn't such a huge market for crackly demi-baguettes, warmed in the oven, slicked with mayo and pâté, then layered meticulously with a variety of cold cuts and a thatch of pickled and fresh vegetables. One thing is certain: Since that fateful day, the bánh mì (pronounced bun me) has come into its own, transcending its humble Chinatown origins to infiltrate not only hipster enclaves like Williamsburg, which, in the two years since Silent H opened, has become a bánh mì hub, but also the menus of cocktail lounges (Pegu Club, which serves a fried-oyster bánh mì), coffee shops (Roots & Vines, where you can have a bánh mì with your Counter Culture latte), and even wine bars (Terroir offers a mortadella-stuffed bánh mìItaliano). It's fair to say, in fact, that the bánh mì is the new panino, and the toaster oven (found wherever bánh mì are made, including a new financial-district street cart) the new panini press."
---"Another Bánh Mì in the Oven; Is the humble Vietnamese hoagie poised to become New York's No. 1 sandwich?," Robin Raisfeld, Rob Patronite, New York Magazine, April 13, 2009

"In Vietnamese, the word banh mi means "bread," and the sandwich itself is a culinary testament to the influence of French colonialism, which began in the mid- 1800s. During this time, baguettes, along with cream, butter, pte, custards and coffee were introduced to the country, and over the years, consequently morphed into the many French-influenced Vietnamese dishes we know today. Classic French-style crepes became Ban xeo, a rice flour/coconut crepe filled with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts, while a classic French asparagus veloute (a stock-enriched cream-based soup) gets a Vietnamese makeover with the addition of crabmeat, dried shrimp and fish sauce. There are many banh mi variations and options, whether you're taking on the challenge of re-creating one of these sandwiches at home or ordering from a local Vietnamese bakery. In addition to the more common filling of pork or sliced pate, sandwiches can be stuffed with grilled chicken, sardines, even head cheese. When ordering one of these baguettes at a Vietnamese bakery, never fear. Most establishments make life easy by listing each sandwich variation in English and Vietnamese along with a larger- than-life-photo to help you through the process. And the price cannot be beat. For a 12-inch sandwich, you'll get set back $3, and many bakeries have a promotion of buy five, get one free to sweeten the deal that much more."
---"A Vietnam tradition: the banh mi sandwich," Kendra Bailey Morris, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 22, 2009 (p. G3)

Pinwheel sandwiches
Pinwheel (aka rolled) sandwiches descend from
canapes: fancy 19th century finger sandwiches served with tea or cocktails. Checkerboard sandwiches, ribbon sandwiches, refrigerator cookies and other artfully crafted bit-sized presentations are closely related. The earliest print reference we find for Pinwheel Sandwich in American cookbooks is dated 1929. It is interesting to note this item is not quite the menu item we know today. In the food world, this is not an unusual occurance. Careful examination of ingredients and method often reveal similar recipes with different names. This method is generally a more accruate way to trace the evolution of a specific dish. Modern-style Pinwheel Sandwiches (made with several layers of bread and fillings) surface in the early 1930s. Tortilla Pinwheel sandwiches surfaced in 1987.

Vintage sandwich sampler

"Rolled Bread and Butter.

Rolled bread and butter is much preferable to flat slices for afternoon teas, as ladies may hold it without spoiling dainty gloves. Butter the loaf--not a fresh one--having first decrusted it with a very sharp knife; cut a slice as thin as possible and roll each slice with flat of hand--practice soon perfects. Pile the rolls log-fashion, or in a pyramid, on a doyley- covered bread plate; garnish daintily with parsley or cress."
---The American Home Cook Book, Grace E. Denison [Barse & Hopkins Publishers:New York] 1913 (p. 351)

"Rolled Sandwiches.

1 long loaf bread
Softened butter
1 pint (2 cups) cooked chopped ham
1/2 pint (1 cup) chopped stuffed olives
1/4 lb (1 cup) chopped English walnut meats
Boiled dressing.
Mix the ham, olives, and nuts with enough boiled dressing to moisten them. use a loaf that is square at the ends and one day old. Remove the crusts from the loaf with a very sharp knife cut it into even slices, one-eighth of an inch thick. Place these slices together in the original form, wrap them in a damp cloth, and let them stand for two hours. By that time they will be soft enough to roll without breaking. Spread each slice with the softened butter and the mixture, roll it, and then wrap it in a piece of waxed paper that is wide enough to go nearly twice around it and long enough to extend beyond the roll in a twist at each end. Keep on ice until wanted."
---Salads, Sandwiches, and Chafing Dish Recipes, Marion H. Neil [David Mckay:Philadelphia PA] 1916 (p. 120)

"Pinwheel Sandwich.

Spread a small circle of bread with cream cheese and lay a slice of stuffed olive in the center. Arrange half-inch long strips of pimento one-eighth inch wide so that they flare, pinwheel style, from the olive."
---Seven Hundred Sandwiches, Florence A. Cowles [Little, Brown & Company:New York] 1929 (p. 214)

"Pinwheel Sandwiches.

Remove the crust from a loaf of fresh bread. Cut into thin length-wise slices. Spread with soft butter and any spreading cheese or sandwich spread. Roll tightly, like a jelly roll, from the end. If desired place a row of stuffed olives or pickles across this end before starting to roll. After rolling each slice wrap in wax or parchment paper, aluminum foil, transparent cellulose sheeting or a damp cloth. Chill well and slice across into thin sandwiches. Delicious sandwich spreads now come in jars."
---Good Housekeeping Cook Book, Dorothy B. Marsh [Good Housekeeping:New York] 1933 (p. 153)

"Pinwheel sandwiches.
Remove the crusts from a loaf of fresh bread; cut into 1/4-inch slices lengthwise of the loaf; spread with creamed butter, savory butter, or cream cheese. Roll; wrap in heavy waxed paper. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour. Cut in thin crosswise slices. Pinwheel sandwiches are most attractive when the filling furnishes a color contrast to the bread. Pimiento butter and parsley butter...are particularly effective."
---Good Cooking, Marjorie Haseltine and Ula M. Dow, [Houghton Mifflin:Boston MA] 1936 (p. 337)

"Pinwheel Sandwiches.
---America's Cook Book, Home Institute of the New York Herald Tribune [Charles Scribner's Sons:New York] 1937 (p. 738)

"Any hostess who wants her guests to vividly remember her tea or bridge should try serving rolled sandwiches which three the feminine eye. These thin, tasteful sandwiches are so simple to prepare that they are almost essential to a well-planned party. The secret to making these rolled sandwiches is to use plenty of butter, which holds them together. There are any number of butter spreads which are delicious, and when other fillings are used both sides of the bread should be spread with butter to prevent them from soaking through. Rolled sandwiches, so frequently served in the smartest tea shops and cocktail rooms, are made in this way: Remove crust from the top, sides and ends of the loaf of bread but not the bottom. Spread the top with butter spread or other fillingon top of butter, making sure that the filing comes all the way to the edge. Cut the bread into a thin slice lengthwise and roll tightly tobether crosswise to make a firm roll. Wrap in wax paper or in a damp towel and place in the refrigerator for ahlf andhour or more to allow the filling to set. Srpead the top of the loaf again, cut off a thin slice and roll as before. When ready to serve, cut rolls crosswise into thin sandwiches, using a sharp knife. We suggest that you try all sorts of cheese, deviled ham or chicken, watercress, or spices, raisins, or nuts combined with butter in making delicious rolled sandwiches. Decorative and handy for any occasion, the sandwiches make a delightful luncheon when served with tall frost glasses of chocolate milk shake made with ice cream."
---"Dainty Rolled Sandwiches are Easy to Make," Philadelphia Tribune, April 21, 1938 (p. 8)

"Curiously enough, at a time whe you would think that hors d'oeuvres had gone the way of all elaborate entertaining, this department has received several inquires concering their manufacture. The canape, it seems, continues to complement tea and cocktails at late afternoon sessions, and even amateur cooks strive for professional results. Ways of preparing chilled pinwheel sandwiches were a major request. These offer limitless possibilities, for the flavored butter that is used as the basic spread may be seasoned with almost anything you can think of. Anchovy butter, for instance, is made by blending two tablespoons of creamed sweet butter with a half teaspoonful of anchovy paste. Cheese butter is effected by combining equal parts of butter and soft cheddar cheese. Still another spread is prepared by mixing a small bunch of finely chopped parsley with a half-teaspoon of lemon juice and a fourth-cup of softened butter. This last requires a dash of salt to bring out the savor of the parsley. A Tempting Sandwich Roll Here's a very tempting way to use parsley butter in making a chilled sandwich roll:

"Chilled Pinwheel Sandwich Roll
(Makes about sixty miniature sandwiches)
Cut off the entire crust from a loaf of white bread, and slice bread lengthwise in four layers. Using the quantity of parsley butter stipulated above, spread evenly over top surface of each layer. Prepare one cup of sardines mashed in lemon juice, another of sliced stuffed olives, and a third with softened cream cheese. Then, along the length of each layer, spread three parallel rows, one of each filing. Roll each layer--separately--in the shortest direction. This will yield four long cylinders. Wrap each in wax paper, and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. To serve, slice half-inch disks, and set on a round platter in a circular arrangement."
---"Chilled Pinwheel Sandwiches of Flavored Butter May Be Made in Infinate Variety," Jane Holt, New York Times, November 9, 1942 (p. 20)

Tortilla Pinwheel Sandwiches
Pinwheel (aka rolled) sandwiches descend from canapes: fancy 19th century finger sandwiches served with tea or cocktails. Our survey of historic American newspapers suggest Tortilla Pinwheel sandwiches surfaced in 1987. The fact that tortilla pinwheels were introduced about the same time as New Southwestern Cuisine appears to be a parallel gastronomic coincidence. The earliest recipes in Amerian print call for cream cheese, ham, Dijon mustard, and dill. A far cry from TexMex. Even more intriguing? The first recipe we found actually called for lahvosh (lavash), a traditional Armenian flatbread. About lavosh.

Were these sandwiches Armenian fare? It appears so! The pinwheel presentation, like the use of tortillas, appears to be an Armenian-American adapation.

"Eating food folded in lavash is an Armenian obsession. A wrap made by spreading a filling on lavash and rolling it tightly is called brdooch in the vernacular of an Armenian village. The most common filling for brdooch is salty cheese and herbs. Brdooch was a popular fast food and a basic meal for many generations of Armenian peasants and townsfolk...And the time came when the grandchildren of brdooch-loving Armenians landed in the United States. It's no big surprise that they turned brdooch into an American fast food. Armenian-American food entrepreneurs modified those original small them names like 'Hye Roll' (hye means Armenian), 'Hye Wraps,' and 'Aram Sandwich.' Just as the basis of Mexican food is the tortilla, the foundation of the Armenian brdoock and its modern variations is lavash. The authentic new way of eating a real brdooch is to make a long, pipe-like wrap, hold it with two hands and bite, starting from the top."
---Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore, Irina Petrosian and David Underwood [Yerkir Publishing:Bloomington IN] 2006 (p. 30-31)

The first print evidence we find for making pinwheel sandwiches with tortillas is a recipe for "Ham and Cheese Lahvosh Rolls" makes no references to origin, ethnic tradition, "inventor" or company promotion.

"For a light lunch or substantial snack, ham and cheese lahvosh rolls are sure to satisfy any appetite. Crisp lettuce, cream herbed cheese, thinly sliced ham and crunch almonds are all wrapped up in tender, chewy lahvosh bread. Quickly assembled, these rolls stay fresh wrapped in foil in the refrigerator. They may be sliced thick or thin as your appetite commands. These pinwheel sandwiches have a nutritious side too. Ham and cheese both offer protien, and the almonds provide vitamin E, riboflavin , niacin, calcium, iron and dietary fiber...

"Ham 'n' Cheese Lahvosh Rolls
1 chop chopped almonds
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 teaspoon dried, sweet basil
1/2 cup sliced green onions
2 large cracker bread rounds or 6 large tortillas
1 pound thinly sliced ham
8 leaves red leaf lettuce.
Spread almonds in shallow an or on a cookie sheet. Toast at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice until lightly browned; cool. Blend cheese with mustard, garlic, dill weed, basil, almonds and green onions. Soften cracker bread or flour tortillas to package directions. Spread cheese mixture on one side of cracker bread or flour tortillas. Top with ham slices and lettuce. Roll tightly, sealing edges. Roll in aluminum foil and chill until ready to use. Cut in long diagonal slices, placing cut-side down on serving plate. Makes 6 to 8 servings."
---"Pinwheel sandwiches quick summer snack," Salina Journal [KS] August 19, 1987 (p. 16)
Compare with:
"Armenian Cheese Sandwich (Haigagan Banirov Sandvich)
This sandwich, the standard lunch of Armenian farmers and shepherds for centuries, has traditionally consisted of bread, cheese, and perhaps some pieces of onion and leafy greens or herbs...
Armenian Thin Bread, rolled to a diameter of about 14 inches
Thinly sliced feta cheese
Thinly sliced, seeded, and drained tomato
Thinly sliced cucumber (use the tiny, almost seedless variety of available
Salt to taste
Fresh mint leaves Sprinkle the bread (lavash) with water to soften...When pliable, arrange the cheese slices in a straight line 4 inches from the bottom, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border on each side. Place the tomato slices and then the cucumber slices over the cheese. Sprinkle with salt on top and with mint leaves. Fold over the sides of the bread, then fold the bottom edge over the filling and roll up tightly like a jelly roll. Serve at once. Makes 1."
---The Cuisine of Armenia, Sonia Uvezian [Hippocrene Books:New York] 1974, 1998 (p. 100-101)
[NOTE: If sliced, this recipe would make a perfect Pinwheel Sandwich.]

The second article we found confirms the Armenian connection. Why were Americans using tortillas? The author suggests it was a matter of product availability:
"Get a rise out of the dinner crowd by serving some delicious, chewy flat bread with ethnic origins. Flat breads are among the most ancient form of baked bread, evoking images of our ancestors heating grainy gobs of dough on a hot rock. But with the invention of modern ovens, we can enjoy the same interesting textures without the trouble of striking flint or grinding our own flour. Pizza and tortillas are the most familiar flat breads to modern Americans...I tried my hand at making from scratch the Armenian or Lebanese-style of flat bread similar to a flour tortilla, only with a huge diameter. But to obtain the size required flipping the bread hand to hand, stretching it gradually much as skilled pizza-makers or strudel makers do, I didn't. Instead. I'd recommend staring with a large flour tortilla for the clever pinwheel sandwiches. Top a large, flexible tortilla with ham sliced paper-thin and leaf lettuce. Roll up tightly into a cylinder and then cut crosswise slices; serve with mustard and mayonnaise mixed together."
---"Chewy flatbreads have ethnic ties," Joyce Rosencrons [Scripps Howard News Service], Daily Intelligencer/Montgomery County Record [PA], August 26, 1987 9p. 19)

The following month, tortilla pinwheels were promoted as nutritious gourmet-on-the-go fare, without a culinary nod to Armenian cuisine.
"The recipes suggested here are terrific late-night study snacks, which are usually prepared with a minimum of fuss at the last minute or can be made ahead, frozen and popped into the microwave for enjoyment later...Quickly assembled pinwheel sandwiches, made with tortillas, almonds and Neufchatel cheese, make a great late-night study snack...

"Late-night Ham and Cheese Rolls
1 chop chopped onions
2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese, softened
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh dill weed
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 cup sliced green onions
6 large flour tortillas
1 pound thinly sliced ham
8 red leaf lettuce leaves
Spread almonds in shallow pan or on baking sheet. Toast at 350 degrees 10 minutes, stirring once or twice until lightly browned. Cool. Blend cheese with mustard, garlic, dill, basil, almonds and green onions. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Spread cheese mixture on 1 side of tortillas, then top with ham and lettuce. Roll tightly, sealing edges. Roll in foil and chill until ready to use. Cut in long diagonal slices, placing cut-side down on serving plate. Makes 6 servings."
---"Nutri-Data," Toni Tipton, Los Angeles Times, September 17, 1987 (p. H34)

Tuna melts
Although hot sandwich-type combinations of bread, cheese, meat, and condiments were known to ancient cooks, tuna fish sandwiches are generally considered a 20th century recipe. The canned tuna industry was launched in 1903 and food companies played an active role in promoting their products to the American public. Many companies authored cookbooks and recipe brochures to show housewives how to use their product. Tuna fit neatly into the sandwich market, where diced lobster, crab and salmon mixed with dressings were already in vogue.

Recipes for tuna sandwiches (mostly cold tuna salad) begin to show up regularly in American cookbooks published in the 1920s. These books also contain several recipes for toasted/broiled cheese and meat combinations, though none with tuna. The only hot fish sandwich recipes we find in the 1920s and 1930s are for sardines, without cheese. It is not until after World War II we begin to find recipes for toasted tuna and cheese combinations (either open or closed, broiled or sauteed). They were not called cheese melts but they would have produced a similar product. Consider:

1946: "Tuna Fish Sandwiches with Cheese," Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer (p. 30)
---broiled, open with tomatoes & grated cheese (no type specified)
1954: "Tuna buns," Start to Finish, Ann Batchelder (p. 70) [food editor of the Ladies Home Journal]
---baked, open on hamburger buns, cheddar cheese, gherkins
1972: "Tuna Cheesewiches & Broiled Tuna Burgers" Del Monte Kitchens Cook Book (p. M-3)
---baked, closed in foil-wrapped hamburger buns, swiss cheese & ketchup
---broiled, hamburger buns, cheddar cheese

So, when did the name "tuna melt" begin? Jean Anderson, food historian and cook book author, offers this explanation:

"Who came up with this broiled, cheese-topped open-face tuna salad sandwich? And when? The first recipe I could find for anything simliar appears in Ida Baily Allen's Best Loved Recipes of the American People (1973). "Tuna-Cheese Grilled Open Sandwich," she calls it. The catch here is that Ida Baily Allen died in 1973. Best Loved Recipes is clearly a compilation of recipes gathered throughout her long career, which began early in the twentieth century. There are no dates on any of the recipes, or for that matter, any historical notes. My good friend cook book author Sandy Gluck thinks Tuna Melt is a 60s or 70s creation and that the creator may have been a dormitory coed with a toaster-oven. Sandy says the first time she was asked to make a Tuna Melt was in the early 1980s when she was the chef at a restaurant in New York's Chelsea district. Tuna Melt recipes differ from cook to cook because tuna salad recipes, themselves, vary."
---The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 344)

The earliest print references we find for "Tuna Melt" are ads publsihed by popular family restaurant chains circa 1975:

"Tuna Melt Banquet. Tuna Salad and American Cheese grilled in butter, served with french fries anda salad with your choice of dressing."---ad, International House of Pancakes (IHOP), Des Moines Register, Alrip 13, 1975 (p. 26)

"Tuna Melt. Tuna and Melted Cheese on Dark Rye Bread Served with French Fried Potatoes and Cole Slaw."---ad, Howard Johnson's restaurant, Los Angeles Times, September 18, 1975 (p. O24).

Western sandwiches
The classic Western Sandwich (aka
Denver Sandwich) is composed of scrambled eggs or egg omelet cooked with ham, onions, green peppers, salt and pepper. It is served hot on toast or rolls.

Americans did not invent the Western Sandwich. Combinations of eggs, meat and spices were enjoyed by ancient people, and evolved in many different cultures and cuisines. Our notes on the history of omelets & scrambled eggs. These recipes arrived on our shores with colonial settlers and immigrant cooks. 17th-19th century English and American cookbooks have plenty of ham and egg recipes which confirm the popularity of this particular combination. Eggs on Toast, Frizzled Ham and Eggs, and other popular recipes from Estelle Woods Wilcox's Buckeye Cookery, [Minneapolis] 1877.

Who came up with the idea?
There are three primary theories regarding the origin of this sandwich in the USA. All are plausible. One camp credits 19th century Chinese cooks working on the western railroads. Like chop suey, some traditional Chinese recipes adapted well to American ingredients. Another other camp attributes this sandwich to Anglo-American food culture. And then? There's Basque piperade.

Enter: Egg Foo Yung
While Chinese cookbooks offer several recipes centering on eggs (omelets, etc.), Egg Fu Yung appears to be a Chinese-American hybrid based on the non-Chinese ingredients. Modernized recipes (20th century forward) are plentiful; some include standard Chinese vegetables & meat/fish products.

"Other Chinese were cooks for the work gangs, and one of these, I am willing to believe, invented the sandwich that is called a "western" in the states east of the Mississippi and a "Denver" in most of the rest of the country. When a hungry cowboy asked for a sandwich between meals, the story goes, the Chinese cook prepared eggs foo yung by making the traditional Oriental omelet from meats and vegetables at had--in this case the green pepper that was grown by early Spanish in the West, along with onions and some chopped ham. Put between slices of bread, this hasty Chinese creation became the prototype of one of the most American of all sandwiches."
---American Food: The Gastronomic Story, Evan Jones, 2nd edition [Vintage:New York] 1981 (p. 166)

"Foo Yung Eggs, Foo Yung Daan. The Egg Foo Yung that is so popular in Chinese-American (as distinct from Chinese) restaurants deserves an honored place in your repertoire. This type of omelet, together with Chop Suey and Chow Mein, which were invented in America, serves to bridge the gulf between Western and Chinese tastes. In recent years, Egg Foo Yung has fallen in the esteem of those who have become knowledgeable about Chinese food, perhaps because of its past associations. However, any dish is only as good as the ingredients used and the skill of the cook. When properly made, I think this dish is delectable. Egg Foo Yung is not strictly a dish invented for the American taste by Chinese cooks. There was a great tradition from which it drew."
---Jim Lee's Chinese Cook Book, [Harper & Row:New York] 1968 (p. 98-9)

Ango-American pioneer fare
Some food historians attribute the Western Sandwich to 19th pioneers on their treck into the American west. A few notes to place this recipe in context:

"Western sandwich. The American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating and Drinking (1964) fixed the origin of this sandwich in Westward Ho days when pioneer women masked the flavor of over-the-hill eggs by mixing them in plenty of onions. Of course those frontier women lacked some of the principal ingredients of the classic Western Sandwich--green and/or red bell peppers. Other food historians believe the sandwich may have originated with chuckwagon cooks, then been refined and embellished over the years. Whatever its origins, the Western Sandwich seems not to have made it into the pages of cookbooks--or onto the menus of restaurants--until well into the twentieth century. In the West, it's often called a "Denver."
---The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson [Clarkson Potter:New York] 1997 (p. 349)

"The Western Sandwich was invented by pioneers. It was common for eggs to get "high" after a long haul over hot trails. In order to salvage the eggs, and kill the bad flavor of them, pioneers women mixed eggs with onions and any other seasonings on hand.

1/4 pound ham or 4 slices bacon, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4 eggs
Bread or round buns

Fry ham or bacon in a skipped for several minutes. Toss in green pepper and onion and cook until vegetables are almost tender. Beat eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper. Pour over mixture in skillet and cook until eggs are set. Turn with a broad spatula and brown second side lightly. Place between slices of buttered bread or buns. Makes 4 sandwiches."
---American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of American Eating and Drinking, Menus and Recipes [American Heritage:New York] 1964 (p. 539)

The Denver connection?
We've been searching for the answer for years. So far, no credible results. Our research indicates the first print references to Denver Omelets (aka Denver sandwiches) were published in the American mid-west, not Denver. It may be interesting to note that references to Denver Sandwiches predate references to Denver Omelets.

The oldest print reference we find mentioning the Denver sandwich is this ad from Weis Restaurant in Alton Iowa, c. 1904:
"Every living Creature has a furnace within himself that is kindled with good things to eat, and plenty of it. Eating is not only a luxury but a necessity. What is better when you are cold and hungry than a good warm cup of Coffee, Tea or Cocoa, or a tender piece of Steak or Chop, such as we serve. You can also get a Cheese, Ham, Egg or Denver Sandwich..."
---Alton Democrat [IA], December 17, 1904 (p. 14)

The oldest recipe we find for Denver Sandwich is c. 1925. Note: the use of pickles, not green peppers!

"Denver Sandwich.
Make twelve slices of toast and butter. Beat six eggs until light and beat into them two cupfuls of finely chopped boiled ham, two finely chopped small onions, and three finely chopped dill pickles. Heat three tablespoofulls of butter in a sautepan, turn in the mixture, and stir and cook five minutes: spread over six slices of toast, place one sandwich on a lettuce-covered late, garnish with sliced dill pickle and serve."
---"Chef Wyman's Suggestions for Tomorrow's Menu," Los Angeles Times, September 6, 1924 (p. 6)
Caroline Trask Norton's Rocky Mountain Cook Book (c. 1903) does not include recipes for Denver/Western sandwiches or omelets, or any similar dish under a different name.

Basque influence?
"Basques in America...The French Basque omelet called piperade may have been an influence on the western omelet and the Denver sandwich made from it."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004 Volume 1 (p. 698)

Regarding piperade? Yes, quite likely an influence. The French Basques settled in the Nevada territory:
"Piperade. A specialty of the Basque country which is sort of supercharged scrambled eggs. To make it you stew tomatoes and peppers in olive oil or goose fat, then mix them with beaten eggs and scramble the whole. Piperade is a Bearnais dialect word, derived from the local piper, 'sweet pepper' (standard French has poivron)."
---An A to Z of Food & Drink, John Ayto [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 2002 (p. 257-8)

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20 March 2015