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10/29/2001
12:54 PM
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National Sandwich Day: An Institution Celebrated

It's not just a cheesy excuse for a holiday or an opportunity for Subway to make more bread. National Sandwich Day is a celebration of convenience food, a true slice of life.

Nov. 3 is the anniversary of John Montagu's birthday. It's believed that this 18th-century English noble, better known as the fourth Earl of Sandwich, wanted to eat with one hand during a 24-hour gambling bender. So, he instructed his servants to serve him his lunch meat between two pieces of bread. To celebrate the occasion, Nov. 3 is officially "National Sandwich Day."

People everywhere enjoy sandwiches daily. Oh, how we love them. The NRA (no, not that one--we mean the National Restaurant Association) says that after fruit, the hamburger is the second most popular lunch choice by full-time employees; 15% typically choose a hamburger for lunch.

According to the NRA, the hamburger is the most popular type of sandwich in America. It's offered on 75% of menus listing sandwiches and is the most popular carry-out item in America. The chicken sandwich is the second most popular. Sandwiches appear more often on lunch menus than on dinner menus.

Bryant Keil, president, CEO, and chairman of Potbelly Sandwich Works, attributes the appeal of the sandwich to the fact that it is, "convenient, easy to eat, compact, and so good you can eat two. The best part, though, is that you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you want it to be." How true...sprouts on whole wheat with a dill aioli, or a triple-decker pastrami, salami, and boiled beef tongue... it's up to you.

So what can you do to celebrate National Sandwich Day (other than by eating a sandwich)? Here are some ideas:

  • Potbelly Sandwich Works in Chicago is holding its second Belly Buster contest. Each of Potbelly's eight Chicago locations will select a contestant at random and all will come together Nov. 2 at 11:30 a.m. at the company's State Street store. There, the eight store representatives will go up against last year's winner in a race against the clock as each tries to eat the most Potbelly sandwiches and shakes in five minutes flat. The winner will be awarded $1,000. Sorry, the deadline to enter has passed, but you still can attend.

  • Play the "Amazing Virtual Subway" Flash game at Subway.

  • Go to Blue Mountain.com, the free Internet greeting card site, to send a Happy Sandwich Day card to your favorite eater. Yahoo, ICQ, and eGreetings also have Sandwich Day cards.

  • Send a buddy a CyberSandwich from Hellmann's Web site.

  • Or choose a recipe of your own. Land O' Lakes has a Sandwich of the Month, including directions and nutritional information. Also, check out its Sandwiches Galore section, with listings of 80 different sandwich recipes.

  • To learn more about John Montagu, go to the official Web site of The Town of Sandwich in Kent, UK.

No question about it, we all love sandwiches. So, on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, go out...or stay in...and have a sandwich.

Tell us about your favorite sandwich recipe at our Listening Post forum.

Kenneth Lapins is an E-business consultant in Chicago. He would walk a mile in the rain for a good pastrami sandwich.

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