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The sandwich was, allegedly, invented by the Earl of Sandwich, so that he could play cards uninterrupted. A sandwich is simply two slices of bread with a filling in the middle. The filling may be almost anything you happen to have that is reasonably flat. You could, in theory, have a bread sandwich, but that would just be three slices of bread. The following recipe for a ham sandwich shows just how simple the basic premise of the sandwich is.

The Ham Sandwich
A basic ham sandwich is constructed from two slices of bread and a piece of ham.

To make a ham sandwich you will need:

  • A thin slice of ham
  • Two pieces of buttered bread
  • A knife

Here are the instructions for making a ham sandwich:

  1. Take a slice of bread and place it on a flat surface, butter side up.
  2. Put the slice of ham on top of it.
  3. Place a second slice of bread on top of the ham, butter side down.

The Definition of the Sandwich
The definition of "sandwich" varies from country to country.

For example, the British sandwich is two slices of bread with one or two fillings. The British make up for this seeming lack of content by offering a wide choice of presentation.

The British sandwich may be cut in a number of ways:

  • Diagonally, making two triangular sandwiches (a favourite among business people);
  • Along both diagonals, for four dainty sandwiches (favoured by wedding guests and the pretentious);
  • Down the middle of two opposite edges, for rectangular sandwiches (favoured by workmen and athletes);
  • Or not cut at all, as preferred by bachelors, students, and psychopaths.

On the other hand, the American sandwich may use two, three, or more slices of bread (of an almost infinite variety). The number and variety of fillings is vast and unlimited by anatomical considerations or common sense. Never ask for a cheese sandwich in America. You will either be thrown out, ignored or served something monumentally elaborate, on the grounds that you could not possibly have meant a cheese sandwich.

The one thing that unites sandwiches all over the world is that they are, more often than not, outrageously overpriced - particularly when bought from a specialist sandwich shop or a railway station.

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