Dan asked about the
origin of the word sandwich. I can’t help it, but every time that I hear the
word sandwich, I think of the old elementary school joke:
Why can’t you starve in the desert?
A. Because of the sand which is there.
Sorry about that. The
standard story is that the sandwich was named after John Montagu, the 4th
Earl of Sandwich, England. One version says that he was an inveterate card
player who was loath to leave the gaming table even when hungry. He would ask
his servant to bring him some meat between two chunks of bread, a meal that
would keep greasy fingers off the cards
Another version elevates
his reputation above the status of a glassy-eyed gambler. He was actually a
statesman who served in various capacities: Postmaster General, First Lord of
the Admiralty, Secretary of State for the Northern Department, British
Ambassador to the Dutch Republic, and so on. The suggestion is that as a
dedicated public servant, he often ate at his desk.
In his capacity as Lord
of the Admiralty, Montagu approved funds for the expeditions of Captain James
Cook. Cook returned the favor by naming the Sandwich Islands (Pacific) after
him, as well as the South Sandwich Islands (Atlantic). In addition, he named
two Montague Islands after him, one off the southeast coast of Australia, and
the other in the Gulf of Alaska.
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