National Sandwich Day is celebrated on November 3 each year. This year, November 3 falls on a Friday, and that’s a great day to have a sandwich.
When it comes to lunch, sandwiches are hard to beat. They’re easy to make that even most kids can make their own, they’re portable, and you can put pretty much any food you want to eat on a sandwich.
To find out where to find free sandwiches on National Sandwich Day, see our post here.
Here’s what you need to know about National Sandwich Day:
1. The Sandwich Was Popularized by the 4th Earl of Sandwich
The reason National Sandwich Day is celebrated on November 3 is because it’s the birthday of John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Montagu was a British statesman who succeeded his father as Earl of Sandwich in 1729 at the age of 10. He then held various military and political offices such as Postmaster General, First Lord of the Admiralty and Secretary of State for the Northern Department. He’s also known as the inventor of the sandwich.
Though the actual circumstances of inventing the sandwich are still the subject of debate, a book called Tour to London by Pierre-Jean Grosley said that bread and meat sandwiches sustained Lord Sandwich while he gambled. The story says that he was an adamant and conversant gambler, so he didn’t take many breaks. He would ask his servants to bring him slices of meat between 2 slices of bread.
While that story is fun, Montagu’s biographer, N. A. M. Rodger, suggests that the first sandwich was probably actually eaten at the Earl’s work desk, as the Earl was very committed to the navy, politics and the arts.
The original sandwich was a piece of salted beef between two slices of toasted bread.
2. The Most Popular Sandwich in America is Turkey
Almost everyone has a favorite sandwich. While that first sandwich was simply a piece of beef in between two slices of toasted bread, the sandwich has become more popular and diverse since then. Now, people can order almost anything they’d like in between two slices of bread.
According to a Datassential survey, the most popular sandwich eaten by Americans is Turkey, followed closely by ham and then chicken. The list was expanded to include Reubens and paninis, but they follow further down the list.
The survey also found that while eating out, Americans order elaborate sandwiches like cheesesteak, but when at home, we prefer simple sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese.
3. Americans Eat 300 Million Sandwiches a Day
According to research at the Smithsonian Magazine, 50 percent of America eats a sandwich every day. While some sandwiches are for breakfast, some for lunch and some will be for dinner, approximately 50 percent of Americans 20 years or older eats at least one sandwich every day.
According to research conducted by the USDA, a larger percentage of men eat sandwiches than women do. Most sandwiches eaten daily contain meat, poultry or fish. This includes cold cuts, burgers and poultry sandwiches.
About half of the sandwiches eaten every day are eaten at lunch and about a third of the sandwiches are eaten at dinner.
4. The Term “Sub Sandwich” Originated Before World War II
The sandwich called “Submarine Sandwich” can also be known as a sub, hoagie, hero, filled roll or Italian sandwich. The terms can refer to a sandwich consisting of a length of bread or roll that’s split length-wise and filled with meat, cheese or other foods.
The term “sub” for these sandwiches is widespread. While some reports indicate that the word originated before World War II, some accept that the tale is that the term originated in New London, Connecticut during World War II.
Another widely accepted theory is that the term was brought to the United States by an Italian immigrant in the early 1900s. It’s said that he named the sub after seeing the recovered Feniam Ram submarine in the Paterson Museum in New Jersey around 1928. He sold his sandwiches in his Dominic Conti’s Grocery Store in New Jersey.
5. The Most Expensive Sandwich Sold for $28,000
In 2004, a woman sold her 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich with the image of Virgin Mary on it for $28,000 on eBay. An online casino called GoldenPalace.com placed the winning bid. The CEO of that company clarified that he planned to use the sandwich money for charity.
The sandwich that sold had a bite taken out of it. Originally, eBay pulled the sandwich because it does not support the sale of joke items. The page was restored after being convinced that the seller would actually deliver on her bid. The sandwich sat in a clear plastic box with cotton balls on the woman’s night stand for 10 years before she sold it. The sandwich never sprouted any mold.