Sandwiches and Portsmouths

The sandwich is named after the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu, who is reputed to have invented it as a convenient way to eat while playing cards. He didn’t come up with the idea of putting meat or filling between two slices of bread, but he certainly popularised it and gave it his title.

According to the QI* elves on the No Such Thing as a Fish podcast, the Earl would have preferred to be the Earl of Portsmouth, but someone else got that title first. If he had got his wish, we might be eating portsmouths rather than sandwiches.

Do you know of any other interesting stories attached to foodstuffs, items of clothing or other things named after famous people?

*QI (Quite Interesting) is a quiz show on BBC TV.

4 thoughts on “Sandwiches and Portsmouths

  1. 부대찌개 (budae jjigae) is a common type of stew made from spam, sausages, and fermented beans. The name comes from 부대, which means troops or soldiers. This stew was invented when post-war impoverished Koreans had to use the leftover or unused scraps from American troops’ meals to make meals. But these days 부대찌개 is a very common and cheap dish, sort of like a comfort food.

  2. The story is generally correct, except that it wasn’t the fourth Earl but the first who wanted Portsmouth. Pepys documented the discussions.

  3. From generals in the American Civil War, we have sideburns (from General Ambrose Burnside) and hooker (from General Joseph Hooker, who apparently liked his prostitutes). However, this second one may be a folk etymology and actually come from the ferry terminal of the Corlear’s Hook area of Manhattan, according to Wikipedia.

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