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The sandwich is a food item typically consisting of two pieces of bread between which are laid one or more layers of meat, vegetable, cheese, or other fillings, together with optional or traditionally provided condiments, sauces, and other accompaniments. The bread is often either lightly buttered, covered in a flavoured oil when baked, or oil is added into the sandwich to enhance flavour and texture

Sandwiches are commonly carried to work or school in lunchboxes or brown paper bags (sandwich bags) to be eaten as the midday meal, taken on picnics, hiking trips, or other outings. They are also served in many restaurants as entrées, and are sometimes eaten at home, either as a quick meal or as part of a larger meal. As part of a full meal sandwiches are traditionally accompanied with such side dishes as a serving of soup (soup-and-sandwich), a salad (salad-and-sandwich), or potato chips and a pickle or coleslaw.  

The term "sandwich" has been expanded—especially in the United States—to include items made with other "breads" such as tortilla, rolls and focaccia. Thus hamburgers and "subs", for example, are called "sandwiches" in the United States, although not in the midwest, south or western states or most other English-speaking countries (since they are not made with slices of bread from a loaf).

The nearest traditional Scandinavian equivalent is generally known elsewhere as an "open" or "open-face" sandwich, i.e. a single slice of bread with meat, fish, cheese, etc. as a topping, although the sandwich with two slices of bread has become more commonplace in recent times. This open-face variation is also prevalent in Russia, where it is known as a buterbrod ( from the German word for "buttered bread").

In India, sandwiches are often vegetarian, the most common type being the vegetable sandwich.

In the UK, particularly in the north of England they are known, informally, as 'butties' or 'sarnies'. This is particularly the case with sandwiches including freshly-cooked bacon and butter, though other forms of 'butty' use other ingredients and mayonnaise. A sandwich filled with chips (US: french fries) is known as a 'chip buttie' (also butty). In French countries you might see this referred to as un Belge: a Belgian (sandwich). In Scotland, sandwiches are called 'pieces'. One Australian slang term for sandwich is 'sanger' (or 'sanga'). In South Africa sandwiches are sometimes called 'sarmies'.

In the U.S., some children, and a few adults, pronounce the word sandwich as sammich, either out of difficulty pronouncing the word, or as a form of baby talk or stereotyped child's speech


The sandwich was named after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, an 18th-century English aristocrat, although it is unlikely to have been invented by him. It is said that Lord Sandwich was fond of this form of food because it allowed him to continue playing cards at cribbage while eating, because he did not want to get his cards sticky, from eating meat with his bare hands. The name of the earldom comes from that of the English village of Sandwich in Kent—from the Old English Sandwic, meaning "sand place". Nowadays some types of sandwich are too unwieldy to be held in one hand, thus defeating Montagu's original purpose, and must be eaten with a knife and fork, or at least with both hands. In some countries it is considered proper always to use cutlery to eat sandwiches.

Some Varieties of Sandwiches

Aram sandwich , a kind of sandwich also known as a Levant. It is made by spreading a softened lahvash (Armenian cracker bread) with cream cheese, and laying on it thin slices of meat, cheese, salads and other sandwich fillings. The whole is rolled up, wrapped tightly, and refrigerated for some time, then cut into slices to serve or for sale.

A club sandwich , also called a clubhouse sandwich, is a type of sandwich which originated in the USA. Club sandwiches are usually served with a side of French fries, and perhaps a sprig of parsley. A club sandwich is frequently served as a double-decker sandwich, requiring three (rather than two) slices of bread. The club is a staple of American food, and can be found in nearly any location. Many consumers eat their club sandwiches with a modest helping of ketchup or similar condiment, although some fanatics are vehemently opposed to such practices. In the United Kingdom a club sandwich is more typically served with chicken rather than turkey. In Denmark a club sandwich refers to a toasted bread or bun sandwich with a filling of chicken, curry dressing, bacon, and usually lettuce and tomato

A burger or "burger sandwich" is a type of sandwich which consists of a hamburger bun or similar type of round bread, and a primary filling of a meat or vegetarian patty. The word "burger" is an abbreviation of the word "hamburger" (see the hamburger entry for an explanation of the hamburger's origins and history).

Burgers made with beef are traditionally known as hamburgers, though, due to the profusion of burger types over the last few decades, are also often referred to these days as beef burgers. Other meats such as chicken or fish can be used, and the sandwich may contain a portion of meat that is not formed into a patty. For example, a turkey burger uses ground turkey meat, a chicken burger uses either ground chicken meat or chicken fillets, a buffalo burger uses ground meat from a bison, and a veggie burger (alternately called a tofu burger. vegiburger or garden burger) uses a meat substitute (for example, tofu, TVP, seitan (wheat gluten), or an assortment of vegetables, nuts or soy protein, which are ground up and mashed into patties). A Jersey burger is a hamburger and fish (filet or burger) in one bun.

Some alternatives to hamburgers are marketed as being healthier than their beef based competitors, and a niche market exists for exotic burgers such as buffalo burgers.

There are usually other accompaniments or condiments piled onto the meat portion. These might include any combination of cheese (a cheeseburger is not a burger made primarily from cheese, but rather a hamburger with a slice of cheese in it), vegetables (lettuce, tomato, onion, pepper, pickles) and sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, etc.)


There are two independent definitions of what differentiates a burger from a sandwich:

1. Burgers use processed meat (or imitation meat), regardless of the type of bread.
2. Burgers use a "burger" bun, regardless of the filling (see: "burgerless burger").

Burgers are usually made from ground meat or meat substitute, then re-shaped to form patties, cooked (if applicable) and eaten.

In the United Kingdom the word burger often refers to the filling of a burger sandwich (i.e what in the USA would be termed a patty). A burger may be served on a plate to be eaten without bread, using a knife and fork, often accompanied by chips and baked beans. A burger of this type need not be made of minced beef; frozen turkey and chicken burgers (which are coated in breadcrumbs) are popular foods for eating in this style, particularly amongst children and students.


Dagwood sandwich
A Dagwood Sandwich is a thick muti-layered sandwich made up of a wide variety of meats, cheeses, and condiments. It was named for Dagwood Bumstead, a character in the comic strip Blondie, who frequently made enormous sandwiches. Dagwood Sandwich has been included in Webster's New World Dictionary.

Open sandwich Smoked and salted horse meat on a sandwich. An open sandwich, also known as an open face sandwich, is a sandwich consisting of one slice of bread with one or more food items on top of it.

It is the common, traditional sandwich type in the Scandinavian countries, where it is typically eaten at lunch, but may also be eaten as part of breakfast and/or supper. It is also available in Vienna, as well as other parts of Europe, for lunch.

In some parts of the United States an "open face sandwich" usually refers to a warm meat sandwich (beef, turkey, ham) served on one slice of bread and covered with gravy and/or mashed potatoes. The steak sandwich is a variation of this type where the steak served on grilled garlic toast.

The Danish smørrebrød is another type of open sandwich. The sandwich is made of a variety of meats, including bacon, herring and fish fillets, eggs and certain kinds of pate typically placed on one piece of rugbrød — the Danish hard whole grain rye bread.

Many of the bakeries in India sell Open Sandwich with a variety of spiced vegetables and chutneys to be eaten across the counter.

Tea Sandwich A tea sandwich is a small prepared sandwich meant to be eaten at afternoon teatime to stave off hunger until the main meal.

The tea sandwich may take a number of different forms, but should be easy to handle, and should be capable of being eaten in two bites. It may be a long, narrow sandwich, a triangular half-sandwich, or a small biscuit. It may also be cut into other decorative shapes with a cookie cutter.

The bread is traditionally white, thinly sliced, and buttered. The bread crust is cut away cleanly from the sandwich after the sandwich has been prepared but before serving. Modern bread variations might include wheat, pumpernickel, or rye bread.

Fillings are light, and are "dainty" or "delicate" in proportion to the amount of bread. Spreads might include cream cheese or mayonnaise mixtures, and the sandwiches often feature fresh vegetables such as radishes, cucumber, asparagus, or watercress. The cucumber tea sandwich in particular is considered the quintessential tea sandwich. Other popular tea sandwich fillings include smoked salmon, fruit jam, curried chicken, and egg salad.

Toasted Sandwich A toasted sandwich filled with feta cheeseA toasted sandwich is a sandwich that has been toasted. While this can be done to any sandwich simply by using a grill, the toasted sandwich maker is a small appliance dedicated to this task. An early manufacturer of these devices was Breville and some still call all toasted sandwich makers by this name. As well as toasting the sandwich, the toasted sandwich maker commonly presses the edges together to form a seal, so the filling ends up in a cavity within the bread. While this makes it convenient to eat, it can also render the filling extremely hot.

Just as in an ordinary, untoasted sandwich, the choice of toasted sandwich fillings and combinations of fillings is limited only by the imagination of the chef. Perhaps the most commonly used filling is cheese, on its own or together with tomato or ham. Pickles, jam, and even such strange bedfellows as banana and Nutella are other examples.

In Australia and South Africa toasted sandwiches with sealed edges are sometimes called jaffles and sandwich toasters are sometimes called jaffle iron, named after the original jaffle iron, which was a long-handled hinged iron implement for toasting sandwiches in a campfire. Toasted sandwiches are frequently known as a "toastie" in Britain, the older Breville (as a name for the sandwich) never having entered popular usage.

A ready-made form of toasted sandwich with a sweet fruit jam filling is marketed by Kellogg's, called Pop-Tarts. These are heated in an ordinary toaster rather than a toasted sandwich maker.
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