The 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montague, invented this picnic favourite way back in 1762. That's how it gained its name.
The Earl was gambling at the time – his favourite pastime – and he wanted a bite of something to keep him going. He asked for roast beef between two slices of bread.
Presumably he often asked for this convenient meal and that's how his name became associated with it. Then other people started ordering their own versions of it - slices of bread but with different fillings.
The Earl was also First Lord of the Admiralty and he financed the expedition of Captain Cook, who then named the Sandwich Islands after him.
The snack became increasingly popular, with many variations from that first roast beef one (I like it rare with some English mustard!) to the recently invented super-sarnie!
They are still an extremely useful part of any alfresco lunch and examples are eaten worldwide.
In the UK we also have other names for this snack, such as "butty" (bacon butty or chip butty in particular) and the abbreviation, "sarnie".
Many international variations have also spread into our cuisine:
And then of course we have the American hamburger - the popular modern version of the Earl’s roast beef snack.
Dietitian, Sian Porter and the U.K. bread company, Warburtons, have created what they say is the ultimate picnic sarnie.
For this they imagined a worst case scenario picnic (none of ours are like this are they?!) - soggy bread, hay fever starting and an attack by mozzies!
So they've come up with this super version:
I guess it tastes good too!