Sarnie, sanger, sub, hoagie – whatever you call your sandwiches, today marks the start of a week dedicated to this enduringly popular meal. British Sandwich Week (19th to 26th May) is a full seven days devoted to the quintessential lunch of choice for a busy Brit.
Sandwiches are said to be named after John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who in the mid 18th century was so engrossed in a gambling game he asked for his meat to be served between two slices so he could eat as he played.
It wasn’t long before others noticed how easy it was to eat like this and began to order “the same as Sandwich”.
Since then, the humble sandwich has grown in popularity. The British sandwich market was valued at £5.5bn in 2017 with about 11.5 billion sandwiches a year eaten in the UK, according to the British Sandwich Association.
People eat them on picnics, walking down the road, on trains, planes and automobiles and yet it wasn’t until the early 1980s when Marks & Spencer came up with the smart idea to sell prepared, packaged sandwiches.
Of course, people have continually tried to revolutionise the sandwich. Mrs Beeton created a recipe for the toast sandwich – which was literally a piece of toast, seasoned with salt and pepper, between two pieces of bread. Then in 2004 the most expensive sandwich ever was sold for 28,000. It was a grilled sandwich with a depiction of the Virgin Mary on it.
We Brits do have strange predilections when it comes to sarnies: Cucumber? Chips? Fishfingers? Leftover roast lunches including potatoes? All of the previous are not only normal but pretty tasty.
We have made a list of top tips that will turn your sandwich making skills from good to great:
1. When using avocado as a filling, mash it, don’t slice it
2. Use butter as a barrier to stop other ingredients making bread soggy
3. Blot lettuce with a paper towel before adding to the sandwich
4. Never make sandwiches the night before. Fresh is best!
Have any top sandwich making tips? Or a passion for a certain strange filling? Get in touch - we want to know!