Nothing sums up Britain’s ridiculous relationship with class, the past, and the rest of the world more simply than its insistence that some rich bloke was the first person, in the entire fucking world, to think of putting a filling between two pieces of bread. There’s evidence of Natufian culture making flat breads around 14,500 BC, but sure, yes, of course nobody thought about wrapping one of them around a bit of chicken for sixteen centuries. That just seems right, doesn’t it? You can’t expect anyone except the gentry to bring that sort of ingenuity to a problem.
It wasn’t until seventeen-sixty-something, when John Montagu decided he didn’t want to use a knife and fork while at a gambling table, that the sandwich born and the world changed. Thank heaven for rich people eh? Thank heaven for those incredibly clever rich people who don’t even understand how sandwiches work but definitely invented them.
I mean, cucumber? Really?
But, no matter how obviously the lie is a lie, we are stuck with the name now. Sandwiches are sandwiches are sandwiches.
Errrrrrrrrm. I’m not sure where I’m going with this. I was going for an ‘interesting opening’ vibe and somehow I’m half a paragraph away from declaring a class war. Soz, everyone.
I had some very nice sandwiches this year. Some very right (the simple joy of ham and cornichons, for example). Some very wrong (things I have put between bread this year have included, but aren’t limited too, frittata, stilton and fish fingers, chicken nuggets, own-brand wotsits, and dauphinoise potatoes). But the greatest of all them, the one I still find myself thinking about in quiet moments, was a wrap I had in a cafe next to a petrol station in a small town in Morocco, somewhere between Agadir and Taroudannt, I think. The where isn’t that important. The what is important.
Mince, onion, a bit of spice, cheese, a sauce that wasn’t dissimilar to peri peri, and chips, all in a flat bread and toasted. The process must be pretty quick because the chips retained their crispness. I like a sandwich with more than one thing going on and this one had a multitude. So many flavours, all having a go. Lovely. Extra marks for serving it with even more chips. Without a doubt, the Best Sandwich of Year. Eat that, earls.