Dec 18, 2015

Sandwich Origins

Club - The Club Sandwich consists of three slices of white toast making two layers, each holding bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise on top of either turkey, chicken, or roast beef. Most agree that this classic originated in resorts and country clubs in the late 1800s. One of the first documented records of the sandwich appeared in an 1889 menu at the Steamer Rhode Island restaurant, where it was called as we know it today, a Club Sandwich.

Croque-Monsieur - Originating in a café on the Boulevard de Capucines in Paris in 1910, the Croque-Monsieur is essentially a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. It is generally made with lean ham, Gruyere or Emmentaler cheese, and covered in a warm béchamel sauce. French for Crusty or Crispy Mister, depending on whom you ask, this sandwich is as famous for its variants as well as its original. With added tomato, it is the Croque-Provencal, and with mustard and topped with a fried egg, it is a Croque-Madame. The Croque Auvergnat replaces the mild cheese with a Bleu, and the Croque Norvegien uses salmon in place of the ham.

Dagwood - Named after Dagwood Bumstead in the popular comic strip Blondie, the Dagwood Sandwich was first seen in the 1930s. The only requirement is that it be comprised of a wide variety of ingredients from leftovers and other things in the kitchen. Although no formal recipe exists, some have tried. Emeril Lagasse has one with 19 ingredients, and iChef’s version includes cold spaghetti, 2-day old fish, lobster tail, and bacon.

Grinder/Hero/Hoagie/Sub - Like the Dagwood, there are an infinite number of combinations of meats, cheeses, condiments, vegetables, and pickled things.
The Grinder arose in New England and, according to one account, was named after the dockworkers whose jobs involved a lot of noisy grinding to repair and refurbish the ships. Others attribute the name to the amount of chewing and grinding it took to work through the crusty Italian bread and tough meats on the typical sandwich. Many believe the Hero Sandwich was named by food columnist, Clementine Paddleworth in 1936 when she noted, “You had to be a hero to eat it.” However, the Oxford English Dictionary credits the naming to armored car guards. Philadelphia chose the name Hoagie for its version. Most claim that the name came originally from Al De Palma who thought that a person “had to be a hog” to eat such a large sandwich. When he opened his own sandwich place during the Great Depression, he called his big subs “hoggies.” It is assumed that the strong Philadelphia accent changed the pronunciation, and eventually, the spelling. Although the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the Submarine Sandwich was around by 1940, many, especially in Connecticut, believe it originated in New London during World War II (then home to a Navy shipyard). Reportedly invented by an Italian shopkeeper who crafted the sandwich out of oblong bread, its resemblance to the nearby submarines was not lost on his patrons.

Gyro - Greek for 'turn', the Gyro (pronounced yee-ro) derived its name from the method used to cook the meat, which revolves on a vertical spit. The typical sandwich includes a large portion of thinly sliced gyro meat, tomato, onion, feta cheese and tzatziki sauce, rolled into an oiled and lightly grilled, thick pita. Gryo meat is traditionally made with lamb, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs, ground together into a paste, then packed together and slow cooked. Tzatziki sauce is made by straining yogurt and mixing it with finely chopped and strained cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, dill, and salt.