Monday, November 3, 2008

Happy Sandwich Day!!

It all started with a card game, so the legend goes. One fateful night in 1762, John Montagu, better known to the world as the 4th Earl of Sandwich, was in the midst of an all-night card game when he felt a wave of hunger overtake him. Rather than sully his cards with the juice of his roasted beef, the right 4th Earl asked his servant to slap that meat between two slices of bread, and, lo and behold, the modern sandwich was born.

You may be wondering why I bring this up now. Well, in addition to November 3 being the day on which we celebrate the births of Adam Ant and Dolph Lundgren, today is also Sandwich Day - commemorating the birth of the 4th Earl of Sandwich and the invention of one of the greatest contributions to western cuisine in the last 1000 years (right next to SPAM and Cheez Wiz). How do you celebrate Sandwich Day? Easy - eat a sandwich, or four.

The origins of Sandwich Day are not easily traceable, even after a thorough Google search. But I have a pretty good idea when it started, because I was there when it happened. Flashback to the fall of 1993, Wesleyan University. I woke up, ate a sandwich and had the brilliant (brilliant!) idea to commemorate the inventor of my morning (1 PM) meal. And so I plastered the campus with posters exhorting my fellow hipsters-in-training (back then, the term on campus was "coolio", which I also claim to have coined, at least for that purpose. No disrespect to Coolio.) to take a sandwich by the hand and stuff it in their food-holes. In the 15 years since the founding of Sandwich Day, it's celebration has spread to all corners of the world.
So, in honor of the 15th anniversary of Sandwich Day, I hereby present my Top 8 Mos' Favoritest Sandwiches of All Time (in rough, but not exact order):

1. Chicken Parmigiana, Dina's, Middletown, CT (Dina's came under new management sometime in the last 10 years. The new owners make a decent, but not quite comparable sub)

2. Lamb Sandwich with onion marmalade, Alon's, Atlanta, GA

3. "Dagwood" style sandwich with Karl Ehmer's cole-slaw, Karl Ehmer's, Poughkeepsie, NY (now closed)

4. Turkey Sandwich, Love 'n Haight Sandwiches, San Francisco, CA

5. Shwarma sandwich, Shemesh Shwarma, Jerusalem, Israel (no longer serves shwarma - go figure)

6. Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

7. Egg Sandwich with Turkey Bacon and a Hash Brown on Toasted Biali, Jay Street Deli, Brooklyn, NY

8. "The Effron": turkey, muenster, tomato and grilled sweet onions, on rye, grilled on panini, 61 Deli, New York, NY (burned down in 2006)

Honorable Mention (because it's The Wifey's favorite): Roasted turkey, thinly sliced granny smith apples, cranberry sauce, and brie on spelt bread.

As you can see, at least half of these favorites are now just memories, but ah... what sweet memories they are.

So go ahead - eat a sandwich, and thank John the 4th Earl Montagu while you're at it.

Feel free to share your favorite sandwiches with us.


DeliciousE said...

R.I.P. oh Radical One.

Harrison Wise said...

Thanks for a great post... if you're up for a new shawarma joint, try Karam in Bay Ridge on 86th Street & 4th Avenue.

and John's Deli on Stillwell & 86th Street has some crazy sandwiches... roast beef, etc.

Dana said...

Love my grilled ham and swiss on rye with well grilled onions. YUMMO!

jake said...

Great post! Why is it I can never remember to mark this most auspicious day on my calendar? It's definitely on for this year. Thanks again...