These Kids Taste Test Sandwiches From the Last 100 Years
Food| | By Robin Milling
The sandwich by definition is a food item consisting of one or more types of food, such as vegetables, sliced cheese or meat, placed on or between slices of bread. What’s fascinating is that it has been around for over 100 years. Foodies rejoice as the gourmands at Bon Appetit have filmed a rather humorous YouTube video featuring a selected panel of kid sandwich-tasters who have been tasked to try sandwiches dating back from the 1900s to the aughts.
The most common of course is peanut butter and jelly – or PB&Js – which first became popular in the 1900s when pre-sliced bread was discovered with Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa inventing a bread slicer in 1912. This PB&J is a little fancier than your average white bread and grape jelly variety, consisting of peanut butter, orange marmalade on white pullman loaf. It’s still an old stand-by favorite.
The French Dip was claimed to have been created to placate a customer who complained about stale bread. The birthplace of this sandwich are two restaurants which opened in Los Angeles in 1908: Philippe and Cole’s. Each lay claim to be the eatery where the French dip sandwich was first served. These kids are trying it for the first time consisting of roast beef, swiss cheese, drizzled with jus on french loaf bread. She approves!
The Po’ Boy which made its debut in New Orleans in the 1920s was born out of a union streetcar motorman strike in 1929. As legend has it Bennie and Clovis Martin opened Martin Brothers’ Coffee Stand and Restaurant in the French Market in 1922, described as a hole-in-the-wall coffee stand. The former street car workers empathized with the union streetcar motormen strike, promising, “Our meal is free to any members of Division 194.” Thus, the ‘poor boy sandwich’ consisting of fried shrimp, tomato, butter and pickled rounds on french loaf.
The celebrated Philly cheesesteak, which this girl is chomping into, was invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930 and should be made with chopped beef and melted cheese. There is a science to the way the beef is chopped and the type of cheese to be melted amongst cheesesteak aficionados. This version included frizzled beef, melted provolone, green peppers and caramelized onions on a french loaf. One kid was a bit confused by the caramelized onions – a concept he just couldn’t get his head around. He wondered, “There’s caramel on them?!”
Pastrami On Rye is so popular there’s even a book about it, Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Deli. Usually made from beef, and sometimes from pork, mutton or turkey, it is brined, partially dried, seasoned with herbs and spices, then smoked and steamed. In the 1950s it became all the rage and attained a cult following from the film When Harry Met Sally which was shot at Katz’s Deli in New York with Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal eating pastrami with mustard on rye bread, and the much needed half sour pickle. This girl did not want what they’re having!
Winding down to the 2000s, portions have grown larger over the years as evidenced by these kids who couldn’t get their minds around the Ramen Burger popularized in 2013, stating, “It’s definitely a big sandwich.” It’s a hamburger with arugula and scallions on a ramen bun, actually made from ramen noodles – an enlightening fact for this girl who exclaimed, “In 2000s, they used noodles as bread?!”
Anyway you slice it – from any era, the sandwich still for the most part, won over their hearts and bellies. Check out the taste testers here.