Mashed's Exclusive Survey Uncovers The Best Handheld Food

Handheld foods are one of those conveniences of life that we've come to enjoy. Throughout history, the portability of different foods has played a part in human culture, per Kitchen Aid. Cornish pasties were developed for tin miners so they could hold the thick pastry edge in one hand without the threat of the arsenic residue on their fingers touching their mouths (via Historic UK). History Today claims that pizza started out as the handheld nourishment for the working classes of society in Naples, and the quesadillas were also developed as a portable snack by the Spanish who came to the Americas in the 16th century, via Mexicali Blue. All over the world, the convenience of being able to grab a tasty meal in a handheld form has been popular in our busy lives. Unlike back then, however, we've come to look for quality and flavor in our meals over just practical sustenance. 

In this exclusive Mashed survey, we aimed to find out what people's favorite handheld meals were. Survey participants were given six portable foods to choose from including, burritos, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, sandwiches, and wings. Here are the results!

Our least favorite handheld foods

Coming in very last was the humble sandwich, which took only 6.62% of the vote. While we get the name of this particular dish from the Earl of Sandwich which many credit to having invented the convenient meal when he was too busy at the gaming table to eat a proper meal, food between two pieces of bread has been documented in various cultures around the world. This humble meal probably gets last place because many people view it as "boring". If you're in the "sandwiches are boring" camp perhaps you'd like to try these recipes from Mashed for sandwiches you may want to make every day of the week.

The second last spot goes to wings at 7.45%. According to the National Chicken Council, this food has a history in traditional Southern cuisine but the concept of Buffalo Wings was born in the '60s at a bar in Buffalo, New York — hence they don't contain buffalo meat as someone foreign to the food might initially think! Due to their saucy requirements, they may not be favored due to the messiness associated with them.

With a bit of a jump up to 12.09%, we have the hot dog in third place. While we think of the hot dog as an American icon, it has its roots in earlier cultures but History suggests that German immigrants popularized the food in the US when selling it from pushcarts in the 1860s. 

Our favorite handheld foods

Coming in third place was the burrito with 13.25%. While Vice suggests this Mexican dish has been around since at least the 1890s, the filled version that you see in burrito chains like Chipotle is believed to have originated in San Francisco in the '60s as the Mission Burrito. It's such a versatile handheld food, as various fillings can be used for any meal of the day and its self-contained tastiness has less mess than many of the other items in the survey.

Another American icon cames in at second place with 24.67%: the burger. The word hamburger may make you wonder if ham was ever part of the ingredients, but the ground meat patty has its origins in Hamburg, Germany. It was introduced to the States by German immigrants and popularized by meat grinders which became a household appliance in the 1800s. The food was sold at roadside restaurants and lunch wagons around the country making it a super convenient food for people on the go, per History.

By far the most popular handheld food was pizza at 35.93%. While this dish has been popular and convenient in Italy for many years, according to the Washington Post, it only became iconic in America after the 1950s and they suggest that it was the low costs associated with the food that made it a popular business for immigrants that, in turn, led to its explosion in U.S. society — something we are very grateful for!