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197 × 120 × 16 mm
152 pages
52 illustrations, 40 in colour
01 Oct 2010

Sandwich A Global History Bee Wilson

We may talk of grand feasts and fancy dinners, but most of the time, if we are honest, most of us are eating sandwiches. We snatch them at work and linger over them at picnics, buffets or tea parties. The sandwich is quick, simple and open to infinite variety and inventiveness.

Though sandwiches are a near-universal food, their origin can be traced to a precise historical figure: John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, who, one night before 1762, was too busy to stop for dinner and asked for some cold beef to be brought to him between two slices of bread. Sandwich unravels the mystery of how the Earl could have ‘invented’ this most elementary and appealing way of eating. What were sandwiches like before the eighteenth-century ‘sandwich’ came into being? Why did the name stick? And how did the Earl’s invention take off so quickly around the globe?

This book brings together a wealth of material to trace how the sandwich has evolved throughout time and around the world. From the decadent meatball hoagie to the dainty cucumber sandwich, and from the Argentinian choripán to the Vietnamese Bánh mì, the sandwich is loved the world over.

‘Ms Wilson delves into the evolution and re-invention of the sandwich, and considers its cultural significance around the world. Along the way she delivers some charming anecdotes, amusing pictures and mouth-watering recipes.’ — The Economist

‘the book segues entertainingly between eras and countries, and is packed with facts for unleashing at dinner parties . . . a cheekily fun read.’ — The Scotsman

‘The Edible series of books, with titles such as Tea, Sandwich, Soup and others, are full of fascinating facts but are almost small enough to squeeze into a Christmas stocking.’ — Delicious

‘Serious foodies will want to take a bite out of Bee Wilsons Sandwich: A Global History, the latest in a series of short, cultural histories of a particular food or drink. If sandwiches aren't your thing, the easily digestible and smartly illustrated series also offers takes on everything from cake to whisky.’ — Toronto Star

‘This book provides a look at the sandwichs origins and its interpretation across centuries and geographic boundaries. Its part of theEdible Series, published by Reaktion Books. Each book in the series highlights an individual dish or ingredient in a palatable 100 or so pages. From pancakes to whiskey, the Series allows you to learn in depth about the history of numerous favorite foods.’ — Serious Eats.com

‘This short fun book discusses the origin, diffusion, and diversity of the sandwich, finding it to be a cause and an effect of wider cultural processes and changes.’ — Anthropology Review Database

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Bee Wilson is a historian and journalist. She writes an weekly food column for the Sunday Telegraph, ‘The Kitchen Thinker’, for which she received the Guild of Food Writers’ Food Journalist of the Year award in 2004, 2008 and 2009, and is the author of The Hive: The Story of the Honeybee and Us (2004) and Swindled: From Poison Sweets to Counterfeit Coffee, the Dark History of the Food Cheats (2008).


1   The History of the Sandwich: The Fourth Earl and What Came 
2   Constructing the Sandwich
3   Who Eats Sandwiches?
4   The American Sandwich
5   The Global Sandwich

Appendix: Fifty Notable Sandwiches
Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgements