Roll on another 250 years

Here’s a British tradition that’s worth making a meal over. Get ready for the summer of the sandwich…

Happy birthday to the great British sandwich!

Roll on another 250 yearsThe ultimate convenience food is 250 years old this week, and there is much to celebrate as this supplement will demonstrate.

Said to have been created as a bread-and-meat combination for the Earl of Sandwich at his gambling table in 1762, the snack-ondemand of an 18th-century nobleman has evolved into a food enjoyed worldwide, as Bee Wilson discusses on page 5.

We buy at least 3 billion ready-made sandwiches each year. This consumer demand, coupled with advances in manufacturing and packaging, means that the sandwich industry has become a major player in our economy and high street, as you can read on page 6.

Market research analyst Mintel says the sandwich is the lunch option of choice for about 75 per cent of us. But this doesn’t mean that it has to be confined to midday meals. Leading chefs have contributed a dazzling array of menus to pages 8 and 9 which show that the sandwich is suitable for any occasion.

British Sandwich Week (13-19 May) is launched tomorrow, with Big Picnics in London, Newcastle and Plymouth,  and major retailers donating sandwiches to charity events in those cities.

When the celebrations are over there will still be opportunities to enjoy this national treasure. As pages 12 and 13 illustrate, this will be the summer of the street party and the picnic, with patriotic sandwiches and fillings  commemorating the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympics.

The British sandwich will remain centre stage in 2012.

Stephanie Sparrow – Editor

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