The town of Sandwich is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the invention of the sandwich this weekend, but it’s a sham. For one thing, it sounds like they don’t know for sure what day the fourth Earl of Sandwich first ordered meat between bread, just that it happened in 1762.
For another, the sandwich is not something that could have been invented. The sandwich is transcendent, and John Montagu was just the medium through which it arrived in high-society England and got its name. Even the BBC article quotes a “foodsmith” who says, “Other people were probably eating in that way anyway but they were people who weren’t written about.”
The Wikipedia says an ancient Jewish sage named Hillel the Elder “wrapped meat from the Paschal lamb and bitter herbs between two pieces of old-fashioned soft matzah.” And I suspect that as long as people have had meat and bread, people have been wrapping meat in bread. It’s an instinct that exists in all of us.
All that said, a weekend-long sandwich festival doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. And they’re staging re-enactments — plural — of the moment Montagu ordered his food in bread, which will probably be hilarious.