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Where The Great British Sandwich Comes From

250th anniversary of the sandwich

When John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, ordered beef served between slices of bread about 250 years ago he probably did not think his request would become a global convenience meal.

The story goes that the Earl asked for the particular serving so that he could eat while continuing to play cards and his friends asked "to have the same as Sandwich", according to the British Sandwich Association.

The first written record of the sandwich was in 1762 and the Kent town of Sandwich, which is the earldom of the Montagu family, is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the meal.

Steve Laslett, one of the organisers of the Sandwich Celebration Festival, said Sir Edward Montagu chose the title because "at the time Sandwich was the premiere sea port in England".

Foodsmith Sam Bompas said the Earl  was a daring man to eat in such a way coming from his social background.

Mr Bompas said that he found it odd that the sandwich did not exist before the Earl of Sandwich ordered meat between slices of bread.

"Other people were probably eating in that way anyway but they were people who weren't written about," he said.

Over the weekend the east Kent town hosted sandwich-making competitions and re-enactments of the moment the fourth Earl of Sandwich asked for the food in bread and  the 11th Earl of Sandwich, who shares his name with the fourth Earl after which the sandwich is said to be named, hosted a lunch in Sandwich.

“where would we be without the sandwich” says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.

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