With the official ‘sandwich week’ fast approaching on 8th- 14th May, we thought it was a great time to celebrate everything about this wonderful British classic!
The first sandwich ever was supposedly given to the Earl of Sandwich, Lord John Montagu in 1762. He was a big gambler and needed a meal which required no utensils to eat it so it didn’t interfere with his card game – this is when the first sandwich was eaten, a simple ‘meat’ sandwich. These days though, the sandwich is a complex matter offering a myriad of alternatives, from breadless sandwiches, to The Lasandwich (lasagna sandwich), to a super-sized 50,000 calorie sandwich.
The sandwich will always be a firm favourite of the British public. In fact according to the British Sandwich Association (yes, it’s a thing) Britain’s favourite sandwich is now the classic chicken and bacon sandwich. Closely followed by the prawn mayo and then the ever loved, BLT.
Restaurants these days are offering us an array of sandwich delicacies: -
- Burger and Lobster – Lobster brioche roll with wasabi mayo.
- Quo Vadis – Smoked eel sandwich on sourdough bread.
- The Glade at Sketch – Caviar and quail’s egg sandwich.
- Mishkins in London – Reuben and Rye with pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and thousand island dressing.
- Royal Oak – luxury sausage open sandwich with a honey mustard glaze.
But unfortunately, sandwiches aren’t always recognised as the best choice for the waistline. The high carbohydrates and often fattening fillings like cheese, mayonnaise and salami mean it’s not necessarily the healthiest option for lunch, but not to be deterred we Brits are now thinking about healthier ways to adapt the standard sandwich:
- Breadless sandwiches: Replacing the bread of the sandwich with a different ingredient means you’re cutting the carb but not missing out on your favourite lunch. Popular substitutes are sweet potato, Portobello mushrooms, cucumber and omelette.
- Gluten-free sandwiches: for the rising number of people with a gluten intolerance or coeliac disease it used to be that sandwiches were completely off the limit but supermarkets and cafes are increasingly offering a big range of gluten-free bread including the Genius or Udis loaves.
- Shop-bought sandwiches usually contain an acidic mayonnaise that is high in calories in order to stop the ingredients going bad. The longer a sandwich is on the shelf for, the more chance that the healthier ingredients lose their nutrients and so offer no benefits to the consumer. Make your own sandwiches or buy them from a café that makes them fresh in front of you.
It’s safe to say that sandwiches are a firm favourite of the Brits so to help us celebrate sandwich week here are some crazy facts about our bread filled friend.
- Six chicken sandwiches are consumed in the UK every second.
- The annual weight of shop bought sandwiches sold came to 379,900 tonnes!
- Britain spends £7.5 million on sandwiches per year.
- 12 billion sandwiches are eaten every year in Britain.
- A chef called Tom Bridge sold a Lancaster cheese sandwich on ebay for £345.
- A sandwich that had a burn mark that looked like the Virgin Mary sold on ebay for $28,0000 in 2004.
- The world record for the most people making sandwiches simultaneously is 607 and the British Sandwich Association holds the record.
Happy Sandwich Week!