Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How a PB&J Came to Be the History of This Humble Sandwich Stretches from the Medieval Crusades to 1940s Europe

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

How a PB&J Came to Be the History of This Humble Sandwich Stretches from the Medieval Crusades to 1940s Europe

Article excerpt

John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, did not invent the combination of bread and meat (or whatever) that bears his name. But the contribution of this British lord and ne'er-do-well was perhaps more significant: He made the humble meal fashionable. One day in 1763, he ordered that slices of meat between pieces of bread be brought to him so he could keep gambling for 24 hours straight. Word of the noble's taste in food spread, and soon "sandwiches" were popular across Europe.

HAVE you ever heard the expression "The greatest invention since sliced bread"? It used to be that if you wanted a slice of bread - even from a bakery - you had to cut it yourself. Iowa-born salesman and inventor O.F. Rohwedder built a mechanical slicer in 1927, but the sliced loaves were sloppy-looking and didn't sell. In November 1928, St. Louis baker Gustav Papendick put the sliced loaves in cardboard trays to support them as they were wrapped. Now the bread was a grand success. In less than a year, the bread industry was revolutionized.

FOR thousands of years, most flour was brown, whole-wheat flour. Kernels of wheat were pulverized between stone wheels powered by water, wind, or steam. A little white flour was extracted, but it was reserved for the church. The surplus was sold to the nobility. White bread was the bread of privilege. A new milling technique changed all that. A 200-year-old design using corrugated metal rollers was perfected by millers near Budapest, Hungary, in the late 1800s. The Hungarian Method, as it was called, separated the bran (outer shell) and germ from the endosperm. The endosperm produces white flour, now available to everyone. WE know a lot about peanut butter, but there's one thing we don't know: who invented it. (No, it wasn't George Washington Carver, the black scientist who found so many uses for peanuts. …

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