Sandwiches have an interesting history. Bread or pastry filled with meat and cheeses have been known since earliest times. The number pf different types of sandwich ingredients that can be put between slices of bread or inside of bread is endless. The sandwich in it’s many forms is universal.
The creation of the sandwich as we now know it is credited to John Montagu who was the 4th. Earl of Sandwich. In 1762 during a long game of cards he asked the cook to fix his food in a way that did not interfere with his game. Historians say he had seen grilled pita breads and other forms of sandwiches while touring the Eastern Mediterranean.
The main ingredient in early English sandwiches was beef, in America it was ham. In the late 18th. Century sandwiches began to be served at late evening cold dinners, teas and at picnics. Sandwiches became one of the first fast foods because they were served to travelers at rail stations, inns and taverns. As people began working farther from home the need for food that could be taken along made the sandwich a popular lunch item. In the early days of travel by car restaurants were far apart and sandwiches were perfect to take along.
The earliest sandwich recipes found in mid 18th. Century American cookbooks were simple, thin slices of buttered bread or biscuit with thin slices of beef, ham, chicken or cheese placed between. Later on hard boiled sliced eggs, stewed fruit or jams were used. Mustard was often added to sandwiches of ham and tongue. Soon recipes appeared that used different types of mayonnaise spread over the buttered slices of bread. Recipes for pastes such as fish, egg and meats are found toward the early 1900’s.
The bread used in early sandwiches was homemade and always sliced about a quarter of an inch in thickness. Recipes said that when the top slice was put on the sandwich the cook should press it down very hard. The edges or crusts of the bread were often cut off. Almost any type of bread could be used. Popular types included white, wheat, rye, nut, raisin and special sandwich rolls. Hand sandwiches consisting of pastry or bread dough with a baked in filling and were made for workers lunches.
A number of sandwich recipes I’ve read in old cookbooks use cottage cheese. It would be well drained and topped with seasonings or other items such as sliced vegetables or fruits. Vream cheese was another popular ingredient. The popular sandwich combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato on toast evolved from Victorian age tea sandwiches. Grilled cheese sandwiches date from the 1920’s when American sliced cheese and uniformly sliced bread became affordable.
Below is one recipe I fould from the 1930’s for an open faced sandwich. I will post others soon. In the next few days I will post more.
Eggplant Tomato Sandwich
This is a hot open face sandwich that does not use slices of bread.
- 1 egg
- Bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper
Fry enough slices of bacon to make the number of sandwiches you want. Set aside. Slice the tomato. Slice an eggplant into ¼ inch slices. Beat an egg with salt and pepper to taste in a pie plate. Have another pie plate ready that containes bread crumbs. Heat butter or bacon fat in a frying pan. Dip each slice of eggplant in the egg and then in the bread crumbs. Sauté the eggplant in the hot butter or fat until tender. Lay a slice of eggplant for each sandwich in a baking pan. Put a slice of tomato on top of that and then add slices of bacon. Add another slice of eggplant. Top each sandwich with sliced cheddar cheese and put in the oven until the cheese melts.
I think the cheese could be melted in the microwave.