Most of you already know this: There’s an actual Earl of Sandwich credited with inventing the term “sandwich.” When one day he decided to eat his meal with one hand, slapping two pieces of bread—with the meat between—the sandwich was born. Here are a few stories about ten American sandwiches.
The Reuben was born in Nebraska in 1925 of all places. I have no memorable Reubens, other than the artist.
The Peanut Butter and Jelly was born in Boston back in 1901. As an adult, I find them too sweet.
The Philly Cheesesteak was born at Pat’s King of Steaks in Philly in the 1930s. I had several on my first visit to Philadelphia back in the 70s. It remains one of my favorites when done with the right amount of cheese, onions, and peppers.
Surprisingly, the Maine Lobster Roll comes not from Maine but from Connecticut back in 1929. The best roll comes with a special roll, spilling over with lobster chunks, and a side of sweet pickles and potato chips. If you cannot make it to Maine, try the Old Port Lobster Shack on Middlefield in Redwood City. They fly the lobster in to the cafe daily.
The famous Grilled Cheese was born from an article in Good Housekeeping magazine in 1918. The best ever was in all places, the airport in Lima, Peru. The grilled cheese is enhanced a thousand percent by great tomato soup. Numerous grilled cheese only type sandwich places have opened and closed recently.
The Po’ Boy from Martin Brothers French Market Restaurant became reality in 1929. With so many variations, my best suggestion is to hit Johnny’s Po’ Boys in Nawlins. Any of them might contain fried oysters, fried shrimp or crawfish. You will love it! Johnny makes a mean breakfast too!
One of the oldest sandwiches is the Club Sandwich from the Union Club in New York City, 1889. It must be cut into halves or quarters, held in place with toothpicks, and heavy on the mayo. The best club I can remember was at a sidewalk cafe in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Sloppy Joe’s were created in Havana, Cuba in 1924. My Mom made the best Sloppy Joe’s in my memory. The secret ingredient is Worcestershire sauce!!! I think my Mom skipped it!
The French Dip comes from Los Angeles, at either Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet or Philippe the Original in 1908. Both insist they rolled the French Dip in 1908. My personal favorite is the Chicago beef at Portillo’s, located in Chicago or Scottsdale.
Number ten is the famous Primanti Sandwich, from, you guessed it, Primanti Brothers in Pittsburg, PA. They now have 38 stores in seven states, though the original was born in the 1930s. This quirky but also no-nonsense sandwich (fries inside the sandwich is genius, right?) debuted when Joe Primanti fried potatoes on the grill and spontaneously stuffed them into a sandwich. Truckers and delivery drivers loved it because they could eat lunch with one hand and have the other hand on the steering wheel.
I am sure each of you have your favorite and a good story to go with it.