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Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

Distributed for Reaktion Books


A Global History

The humble peanut butter and jelly or bologna and cheese or corned beef on rye—no matter your cooking expertise, chances are you’ve made and eaten countless sandwiches in your lifetime. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it’s open to infinite variety and inventiveness. If there’s something bread- or bun-like in your cupboard, there is a sandwich waiting to happen.

Though sandwiches are a near-universal food, their origin can be traced to a very precise historical figure: John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, who, sometime before 1762 being too busy to stop for dinner, asked for some cold beef to be brought to him between two slices of bread. In Sandwich,award-winning food writer Bee Wilson unravels the mystery of how the Earl invented this most elementary but delicious way of eating. Wilson explores what sandwiches might have been like before the eighteenth century, why the name sandwich stuck, and how the Earl’s invention took off so quickly around the globe.

Wilson brings together a wealth of material to trace how the sandwich has evolved, looking at sandwiches around the world, from the decadent meatball hoagie to the dainty cucumber tea sandwich. Loved the world over, this popular food has surprisingly never before been the subject of a book-length history until now.

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148 pages | 30 color plates, 20 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4 | © 2010


Food and Gastronomy

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"The sandwich is a simple, humble foodstuff, eaten daily by billions of people across the globe. Familiarity may breed contempt, but there is much to love and learn about the sandwich, acccording to Bee Wilson, author of a new history of the convenient meal. An historian and food journalist . . . 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."

LUCY FARMER | Economist

"Wilson spans the globe to see how the sandwich has evolved and taken root in Asia, in the countries more devoted to rice than to bread.  She offers recipes that are both historical and contemporary.  The sandwich is here to stay."

"Serious foodies will want to take a bite out of Bee Wilson’s 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."

Rick Madonik | Toronto Star

"This book provides a look at the sandwich’s origins and its interpretation across centuries and geographic boundaries. It’s part of the Edible 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."


Table of Contents


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

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