Sunday, August 1, 2010

Etymology of Sandwich

In a dimly lit parlor room during the middle of the 18th century, a popular aristocrat by the name of John Montague sat a gaming table surrounded by other landed gentlemen patiently waiting for the table odds to merit a sizable bet. Known amongst his fellow gamblers as "Jemmy Twitcher," Montague had gained a reputation for being one of the most well-liked and tenacious gamblers in the region, as well as a very well respected military commander.

On this particular occasion, Montague had been gambling for over 24-hours straight with only very brief breaks, not unlike the leading professional poker players of our time. In order to continue playing without being interrupted by meals, Montague ordered a servant to bring him some cold meat and bread. His fellow players evidently thought that the meal sounded like a pretty good idea and began ordering for themselves under Montague's named title, the Earl of Sandwich. The name stuck, and historian Edward Gibbon noted in his diary in 1762 that the "best men in the kingdom" had begun gathering in public areas to sit at small tables and enjoy meals of meat and bread that were universally called sandwiches.

For more information on the history of the sandwich, place an order a copy of the upcoming book Sandwich: A Global History (Reaktion Books - Edible)

No comments:

Post a Comment