Who Invented the Sandwich?

In 1660, Edward Montagu, of England, was made an Earl. When one is made an Earl, they take the name of a city to complete their title. Edward Montagu had originally picked the city of Portsmouth which would have made him the Earl of Portsmouth.

However, he changed his mind since the fleet of ships he commanded were anchored off “Sandwich” in England on their way to bring Charles II back home. That is the only connection the town has with the family of the Earl of Sandwich and people wrongly think the sandwich was invented in Sandwich, England.

The story goes that in 1762 the 1st Earl of Sandwich, Edward Montagu, was part a heated gambling game and he did not wish to stop for his dinner. So, he ordered that his dinner of roast mutton and vegetables be brought to him between two pieces of bread. This way he could continue playing and eat his dinner at the same time. Other players in the game asked to have their dinner served to them just like “Sandwich.” And from there the sandwich was born.

Edward Montagu is known as the inventor of the sandwich, however, the first food item called sandwich was in the 1st century BC and attributed to Rabbi Hillel the Elder. During Passover, he placed roast lamb, nuts, and vegetables between two old pieces of unleavened bread. During the middle ages, they used bread as kind of a plate but tossed the stale bread once they were done.

Whether you’re enjoying peanut butter and jelly, turkey and cheese or a nice Reuben, we can thank Edward Montagu for your sandwich.

Renée G. - Nov 28, 2017
Fro Wikipedia:

One origin story holds that Reuben Kulakofsky (his first name sometimes spelled Reubin; his last name sometimes shortened to Kay), a Jewish Lithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, was the inventor, perhaps as part of a group effort by members of Kulakofsky's weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel from around 1920 through 1935. The participants, who nicknamed themselves "the committee", included the hotel's owner, Charles Schimmel. The sandwich first gained local fame when Schimmel put it on the Blackstone's lunch menu, and its fame spread when a former employee of the hotel won a national contest with the recipe. In Omaha, March 14 was proclaimed as Reuben Sandwich Day.

Another account holds that the Reuben's creator was Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of the famed Reuben's Delicatessen (1908–2001) in New York City. According to an interview with Craig Claiborne, Arnold Reuben invented the "Reuben Special" around 1914. The earliest references in print to the sandwich are New York–based, but that is not conclusive evidence, though the fact that the earliest, in a 1926 issue of Theatre Magazine, references a "Reuben Special", does seem to take its cue from Arnold Reuben's menu.

A variation of the above account is related by Bernard Sobel in his 1953 book, Broadway Heartbeat: Memoirs of a Press Agent. Sobel states that the sandwich was an extemporaneous creation for Marjorie Rambeau inaugurated when the famed Broadway actress visited the Reuben's Delicatessen one night when the cupboards were particularly bare.

Some sources name the actress in the above account as Annette Seelos, not Marjorie Rambeau, while also noting that the original "Reuben Special" sandwich of 1926 did not contain corned beef or sauerkraut and was not grilled.

Still other versions give credit to Alfred Scheuing, a chef at Reuben's Delicatessen, and say he created the sandwich for Reuben's son, Arnold Jr., in the 1930s.

What say you, Lawrence Peery? Inquiring minds want to know...

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Laurence Peery - Aug 17, 2017
OK, smarty :-) So who is the Reuben sandwich named for?
Carol Chatty - Aug 17, 2017
Thank for sharing!! I love a good sandwich!
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