hero saves the sandwich
by Mad Dog
I’m sure the
fourth Earl of Sandwich would be much happier if they were serving
ham and cheese, turkey, and peanut butter and Marmite rather than a
bunch of frou-frou sandwiches. Not that creative sandwich-making
isn’t a good idea.
It’s taken 250 years, but finally you can get a genuine sandwich
again. At least you can if you’re in London’s business district.
Orlando Montagu, who sounds like a character in a Mel Brooks film
but is actually the son of the 11th Earl of Sandwich, has opened a
lunchtime delivery service specializing in—guess
what?—sandwiches. And if anyone’s qualified to do it, he is.
After all, primogenitor has a long British tradition, which is why
we’re stuck with Prince Charles, Sean Lennon, and now a sandwich
shop run by a descendant of the Earl of Sandwich which is creatively
named—hold onto your baguette—“Earl of Sandwich.” Who says
inbreeding among the titled is a problem?
The menu features
sandwiches like grilled prawns in chili jam, and beef with
horseradish sauce and crème frâiche.
John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, must be rolling over in
his eternal take-out container. He’s the guy who started the whole
thing in the 1700’s by slapping a hunk of salt beef between two
pieces of bread so he wouldn’t have to miss a minute of the
night’s gambling action. Or, if you believe another version of the
story, so he wouldn’t have to leave his desk while working at a
government job. Both of these are nice tales, but I suspect the
truth is he didn’t want to get out of his La-Z-Boy recliner and
risk missing even one second of the XFL (Xtreme French Legionnaires)
cheerleaders since he knew they wouldn’t be around long.
The French eat
pan-fried cockscomb and Koreans eat deer antler, but that doesn’t
mean I want to see either one of them between two slices of
sourdough bread with mustard and lettuce.
I’m sure the fourth Earl would be much happier if they were
serving ham and cheese, turkey, and peanut butter and Marmite rather
than a bunch of frou-frou sandwiches. Not that creative
sandwich-making isn’t a good idea. After all, we each have a
favorite sandwich which others think is strange. I have a friend who
to this day eats peanut butter with potato chips and mayonnaise and
I can’t be in the same room when he does it. Then again, my fave
is the Thanksgiving sandwich: turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing, and
gravy, preferably on rye bread. Oddly, the only place I’ve seen it
for sale was in the Waterloo train station in London, a place where
they don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving. Granted it was on a
British baguette and didn’t have the gravy, but it was close
enough for me to give thanks and buy one to eat on the train.
Some people think that
tossing anything between two slices of bread makes it a sandwich.
Technically it does, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. The
French eat pan-fried cockscomb and Koreans eat deer antler, but that
doesn’t mean I want to see either one of them between two slices
of sourdough bread with mustard and lettuce. Mayonnaise and tomato,
When we were growing up my
father would put just about anything on a sandwich. He’d make sure
my mother saved every conceivable leftover because “it will be
good on a sandwich.” Spaghetti on whole wheat, mashed potatoes and
green peas on Kaiser roll, tuna casserole on Wonder Bread—nothing
was beyond having for lunch the next day.
There would be more dolphins because we’d eat less
tuna. Spam might have been laughed off the market instead of just
laughed at. And if that was the case, Monty Python would have had
one less song to perform.
Luckily he never thought about
putting ice cream between two slices of bread—he stuck to the
store-bought ice cream sandwiches. But in some parts of Asia, like
Bali and Singapore, they’re more literalist than Dad. They
actually slather chocolate syrup on a scoop of ice cream and slap it
between two pieces of cheap crappy white bread. And pretend to enjoy
it. I didn’t have the nerve to find out how literal their Eskimo
Of course if it wasn’t
for the fourth Earl of Sandwich we wouldn’t have the hamburger,
the hot dog, or the cheesesteak. And we’d be walking around with
third degree burns from eating breadless grilled cheese sandwiches
with our hands. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato would be a salad, a Big
Mac would be a Salisbury steak platter, and peanut butter and jelly
would be a dessert served in a bowl.
If it wasn’t for him
we’d have a good, wholesome meal for lunch every day. And
couldn’t easily eat it while walking down the street. We
wouldn’t be able to eat in the car while driving, which would cut
down on the number of accidents, lowering our insurance rates. And
the front of our shirts would finally have a fighting chance of not
having ketchup stains on them all the time. Or maybe not.
There would be more
dolphins because we’d eat less tuna. Spam might have been laughed
off the market instead of just laughed at. And if that was the case,
Monty Python would have had one less song to perform, meaning they
might still be around today trying to come up with that one last
And if it wasn’t for the
fourth Earl of Sandwich there wouldn’t be McDonald’s. Maybe
those activists, vegetarians, and French farmers who like to protest
the very existence of McDonald’s should think about this and start
venting their objections where they belong: the new Earl of Sandwich
shop. Char-grilled tiger prawns with chili jam, indeed!
©2001 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read
them while eating your lunch.