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History of the Sandwich

If you have had the best wings in Newtown, PA, you probably have also sampled Slack Hoagie Shack’s signature sandwiches. While it may be clear that hoagies and cheesesteaks are part of the modern American story, it wasn’t always the case.

The history of sandwiches is more complicated than many people realize, with different guesses about who started it when, and a bit of a reputation for colonialism.

If you’re curious about America’s favorite lunchtime staple, here’s what you should know:

In The Beginning

No one knows for sure who created the first sandwich; there are some indications that some form of sandwiches appeared as far back as the 1st century, while others point to the middle ages when stale bread – or “trenchers” – were used to hold meat and cheese for people to eat.

However, the sandwich as we currently know it didn’t get the recognition it deserved until John Montagu, the Earl of Sandwich, demanded a meal that didn’t require him to take a break from his gambling binge and was brought a bit of meat between two slices of bread. From there, it became a part of British High Society and was made famous by playwrights and nobility all over the kingdom.

Appearance in America

Despite its popularity in Britain, sandwiches didn’t appear in the U.S. until the 1800s. A cookbook writer by the name of Eliza Leslie recommended the creation of a sandwich in one of her cookbooks in 1840.

In the early days of the country, people wanted to avoid reminders of their days as British subjects, which could have led to their avoidance of the sandwich. By the time Leslie wrote her cookbook, however, things had changed. People liked the portability and ease of making a sandwich, especially when people started taking more manufacturing jobs and had limited time to make lunch themselves.

The Modern Era

Today, you can find many variations on the sandwich that didn’t exist in the early days. Options range from the nostalgic, like peanut butter and jelly, to ones that are unique to a region, like the hoagie and the cheesesteak. Due to their flexibility, they can be paired with chips, pickles, fries, wings, or anything that presents itself to the imagination.

If you’re interested in trying a different sandwich combination, give Slack’s Hoagie Shack a call today. While we cannot currently cater large events, you can still browse our catering delivery options for Newtown, PA and beyond by visiting our website.

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