British Sandwich Week started on Sunday, meaning we have every excuse to indulge in our favourite fillings this week. Despite having a reputation overseas for poor food, nobody can trash talk the humble sandwich – perhaps our most celebrated culinary creation and certainly the most versatile.
So, in honour of John Montague’s brainchild (and lunch time) we thought we’d run through some of the best sandwich recipes from across the nation.
The classic bacon, lettuce and tomato combo was first crammed between slices of bread at some point during the Victorian era. The BLT boom didn’t take off until the ‘50s, though, when supermarkets hit the scene and petrol stations started stocking up on the prepacked, calorie-laden monsters.
Boiled egg and home-made mayonnaise, mashed together with some malt vinegar and white pepper. The British egg mayo sandwich is a far more subtle animal compared to its American cousin, the egg salad sandwich. That’s the beauty of egg mayo, though; simplicity.
The “Ploughman’s Lunch” was actually a 1960s marketing ploy, masquerading as a classic English dish, to promote the sale of cheese. Pubs across the country slapped cheese, pickle and a slice of bread on plates and sold it as charming lunch from simpler times. Eventually, some cunning fellow swapped the plate for another slice of bread and the Ploughman’s sandwich was born.
Cheese on toast was unfortunately disqualified from today’s list on account of not being a sandwich (sorry guys, strict rules). Luckily, human imagination is never limited to one slice of bread and the mighty cheese toastie meets our tough regulations. Not to be confused with the American grilled cheese sandwich, which is actually fried in a pan, us Brits like to wedge ours between two hot plates – just to make the washing up a pain.
Roast pork, stuffing and apple sauce
The best sandwiches are made up of last night’s roast, no doubt about it. That roast pork, sage-and-onion stuffing and apple sauce was great on last night’s dinner plate but how it manages to taste even better between two slices of crispy bread the next day we’re not quite sure. One of life’s great mysteries.
The same goes for leftover beef and mustard, chicken and stuffing or basically anything worthy of a slow roast.
Chicken and bacon
Named Britain’s favourite sandwich in 2013, the chicken and bacon sandwich beat the BLT to the number one spot. Sorry lettuce and tomato, you’re just no match for tender slices of chicken breast – but you can join the party so we feel a little less guiltily about gorging on a meat and mayonnaise feast.
And, let’s not forget…
No matter what you’re into between the bread, always remember any sandwich is twice as satisfying with a cheeky layer of crisps topping up your filling.
Although some foreigners may need a translation hand book for our extensive list of sandwich names, it’s part of being British and a staple in many diets. The Spanish and French may raise a few eyebrows at the idea of having a sandwich for lunch (and also appalled at some of the sandwich choices in the video below) but they simply don’t understand the sheer delight a meal deal can bring.
So, no need to feel the guilt this week as you sneak an extra slice of ham in your sarnies. After all, it’s our national duty to honour the memory of John Montague and his fine contribution to British culture – even if it was because he had a massive gambling addiction and couldn’t be bothered to cook dinner.