Updated: Jun 3, 2022
They’re in your kid’s lunch boxes, they’re on every diner menu across the country, and they can be as simple as a pb&j or as elevated as New York’s Serendipity’s famous $214 grilled cheese made with Dom Perignon and 24 karat gold flakes. Alas, the grilled cheese is no longer available, but sandwiches certainly aren’t going anywhere. There are a lot of stories floating around about the origin of the sandwich but what I found is that the sandwich got its name from the 4th Earl of Sandwich, English politician John Montagu. John Montagu supposedly was part of a 24-hour Euchre card game in 1762 and asked for meat to be served to him between slices of bread. The reasoning is said to be so he could seamlessly handle the cards, sans the grease, and not need to leave the table during the game. On November 24, 1762, English historian Edward Gibbon wrote in his diary, “seeing men eating “a bit of cold meat or a Sandwich.” This seems to be the first written mention of a sandwich. There’s also information about Hillel the Elder, a rabbi and scholar born in Babylon during the first century B.C., who apparently made sandwiches using Paschal lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened matzoh bread according to a Jewish text called The Haggadah.
The Moldy Sandwich
Picture this, a New York saloon during the end of the 19th century, men ordering a whiskey or beer and getting served a moldy sandwich to go with it. In order to “legally” serve alcohol, food had to technically be served alongside the drinks. The Raines Law of 1896 restricted how alcohol could be served in New York State. The moldy sandwich eventually became unofficially called, the Raines Sandwich. The sandwich was never meant to be eaten, it just got passed around from table to table for days on end. Playwright Eugene O’Neill described the sandwich as “an old desiccated ruin of dust-laden bread and mummified ham or cheese.” Sometimes the Raines Sandwich was even made of rubber. The Raines Law, supported by Theodore Roosevelt, was created to help curb public drunkenness and put certain saloons out of business.
Present Day Sandwiches at P.S. & Co.
I wanted to highlight sandwich history this week as Andrea was sustaining on some really amazing ones during her time hiking in Spain. She was inspired to bring more options to the menu, so our team of culinary experts at P.S. & Co. have been working on creating new sandwich recipes. Salimah, our
Executive Chef just created the perfect housemade, gluten-free, organic, and vegan bread for our sandwiches. Today we released a new menu item, open-faced organic Maitake Toast. Enjoy a hearty slice toasted to perfection and topped with organic sweet potato mash and organic thyme maitake and button mushrooms. Stay tuned for more sandwich updates and menu highlights!