There’s a “holiday” for anything and everything anymore, but the humble and wonderful sandwich is truly deserving of its own day. Here are some origins of some legendary ‘wiches.
One of those pieces of trivia everybody seems to know regards Elvis Presley’s affinity for peanut butter sandwiches. As a kid, he liked peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwiches. As an internationally famous rock n’ roll star, he preferred gigantic peanut butter, jelly, and bacon sandwiches. In 1976 — about a year before he died — the King dined at the Colorado Mine Company in Denver and challenged himself to the restaurant’s specialty: the Fool’s Gold Loaf. At a cost of $50 (about $200 in today’s money), Elvis dined on an entire loaf of Italian bread hollowed out and filled with about a pound each of peanut butter, grape jelly, and bacon.
The lunchbox favorite is so simple — bread, and two pantry staples — that it’s hard to believe anybody ever had to invent the American classic. In the early 20th century, the thing that even the most finicky kid will eat was something of a fancy food. Peanut butter was brand new, and considered a delicacy, and lots of upscale restaurants and tea rooms on the East Coast served peanut butter sandwiches, paired with everything from pimento cheese to, of course, jelly. It became a quick, cheap, easy, and populist food in the 1930s…with the invention and distribution of pre-sliced packaged bread.
The Philly Cheesesteak
It’s one of the famous things to ever come out of Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love,” if not one of the most famous sandwiches in America: it’s thinly-sliced beef, cheese (or Cheez Whiz), and maybe some onions, on a long roll. Who actually invented it is somewhat controversial. The official creator of the Philly Cheesesteak , according to the city of Philadelphia, is a hot dog vendor named Pat Olivieri. He worked Philadelphia’s south side, and one day in the 1930s expanded his menu by offering beef sandwiches on Italian rolls. The sandwich caught on with cab drivers and became so popular that Olivieri soon opened a restaurant, Pat’s King of Steaks. The joint’s manager, Joe Lorenza, added the cheese. The restaurant was highly successful and spawned many imitators. Another steak sandwich place called Geno’s claims to have been the first to think of putting cheese sauce on the sandwiches.