sardine club sandwich

Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? Whether open-faced, composed between two pieces of bread, or a multilayered behemoth using several slices, there are great sandwiches all over the world, and our newest Universal Eats video explores their allure.

Allegedly invented in the 1700s by John Montagu (the 4th Earl of Sandwich) as a means of converting a full meal into a tidier package he could hold in one hand while using the other to keep playing cards, the portable, ever-adaptable sandwich is humble at heart, yet can reach great heights of artistry when done right—sometimes literally, in the case of the famously towering Dagwood sandwich.

Sandwiches can embrace anything you want to throw at them too, from pâté and pickled onions to braised greens and cured meats, and they can even seamlessly combine different cultural influences, as in the French-Vietnamese banh mi. It’s all about balance, and exciting flavors and textures in every bite. Good bread is a must, too.

There are iconic sandwiches scattered all across the United States alone, from New Orleans’ muffulettas (and po boys), to Miami‘s Cubanos, to New York City‘s deli classics like sky-high pastrami on rye. And then there are the club sandwiches, patty melts, and grilled cheeses that seem to belong to all of us. Go abroad and you’ll find even more to chew on, from Denmark’s open-faced sandwiches (smørrebrød) to Israel’s sabich.

And sandwiches can be a satisfying meal all day long, from breakfast to lunch and dinner to snack time—even dessert! No wonder restaurant critic Stan Sagner, featured in our video, proclaims sandwiches “one of the great inventions of man, alongside the wheel and fire.” We’d have to agree.

Check out the video for more sandwich love, and see our previous Universal Eats installments too: an examination of the perfection of dumplings, a look at the history of frozen desserts, an investigation into porridge, and the immigrant origins of the food you eat.

Chowhound’s Universal Eats is a new video series that explores foods that transcend cultures and borders around the world to globally to connect us all. Episodes will premiere every Tuesday on Facebook Watch, so be sure to follow our page to catch each installment.

Header image by Chowhound.

Jen is an editor at Chowhound. Raised on scrapple and blue crabs, she hails from Baltimore, Maryland, but has lived in Portland (Oregon) for so long it feels like home. She enjoys the rain, reads, writes, eats, and cooks voraciously, and stops to pet every stray cat she sees. Continually working on building her Gourmet magazine collection, she will never get over its cancellation. Read more of her work.
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