Who Really Invented The Sandwich?

Purposeful controversy is the cornerstone of the internet. After all, where would social media be without endless arguments about holidays, bands, and politics? One debate that doesn't quite grab as much attention as the deeply unoriginal scandal regarding pineapple on pizzas should, perhaps, be an obvious one: What constitutes a sandwich?

From white to whole grain bread and baguettes to buns, there are so many confusing combinations of sandwiches to consider. It is therefore not particularly difficult to understand that confirming the true history of the humble sandwich is so much more complicated than a handy sliced loaf.

It is commonly believed that the simple snack originated in England in 1762, developed by John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, as a quick bite to eat during his long hours of gambling. However, although the term "sandwich" may well have been coined then, the history of the cuisine stretches back far further (via History).

People started filling bread with fresh food thousands of years ago

Pinpointing the creator of sandwiching food goodies in between two pieces of bread is no easy task. John Montagu can be credited with popularizing the convenience of the sandwich, but his idea was not exactly original. He is thought to have encountered stuffed pita breads while exploring the Mediterranean (via Delishably), as well as tasting mezze platters stacked high with stuffed bread while on the journey (via History).

Also, between the 6th and 16th Centuries, Oxford University Press notes that people would often put meat and vegetables onto bread, eating it with their fingers. This creation was known as a "trencher."

The oldest record of a sandwich originates from Jerusalem in 110 BC. According to The History Kitchen, a rabbi called Hillel the Elder put together a sandwich using matzo bread (flat pieces of bread). Called the Korech, it contained spices, apples, nuts, and wine (via Oxford University Press). It now surely cannot be long before social media is set ablaze by the excitement of wine sandwiches.