A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 25, 2008
Ham Sandwich

The ham sandwich—cited in print from at least 1806—has long been one of the most popular sandwiches. The “sandwich” was named in England, and ham sandwiches were very popular in London in the early 1800s.

New York State Chief Judge Sol Wachtler, in a New York (NY) Daily News interview on January 31, 1985, stated that a grand jury could indict just about anyone or anything, including “indict a ham sandwich.”


Google Books
August 1806, The Critical Review (Series the Third), pg. 442:
Nothing for the patient peeresses, save now and then a ham-sandwich, to relieve the dull, dry, vapid insipidity of a whole day’s speech.

Google Books
Human Beings,
A novel, in three volumes
By Francis Lathom
Vol. III
London: B. Crosby and Co,
1807
Pg. 81:
...she made her some excellent tea, with which she procured her a ham sandwich, and then attended her to her chamber. 

Google Books
Memoirs of an Author
By Jane Harvey
Vol. I
Gainsborough: Henry Mozley
1812
Pg. 72:
“I had eggs and ham-sanwiches, and mulled wine, two hours ago.”

Google Books
Margate!!!
Or Sketches Amply Descriptive of That Celebrated Place of Resort

By Mrs. Pilkington
London: J. Harris
1813
Pg. 196:
...they made a very hearty luncheon of some ham sandwiches, which Fitzmaurice had carried in a little basket.

Google Books
The Biographical Decameron;
Or, Ten Days Pleasant Discourse Upon Illuminated Manuscripts

By the Rev. T. F. Dibdin
Vol. III
London: W. Bulmer and Co.
1817
Pg. 427:
Now for OXFORD. But, in our way thither, there will be no harm in partaking of (what poor Harry Quin absolutely compelled Mr. Planta to produce, when he visited the Cracherode collection in the Museum) some veal and hamd sandwiches and Madeira) within the well-garnished library, and recently-built mansion, of a most gallant, and, from infancy, book-loving collector, about a short mile to the east of Acton Church.

Google Books
15 May 1823, Spirit of the English Magazines (Boston, MA), pg. 141:
...her muslin robe became a piebald covering of ham-sandwiches;... 
("Blackwood’s Mag. Feb.”—ed.)

Google Books
October 1825, The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, pg. 379:
...and Mr. B--l, the founder of the banquet, sedulously doing the honours with only intenser civility, and calling out for fresh store of ham sandwiches and broiled mushrooms, to enable us to do justice to the liquid delicacies before us.

Google Books
A Ramble Among the Musicians of Germany
By a Musical Professor
London: Hunt and Clarke
1828
Pg. 205:
The music in this garden is played in a kind of open summer-house, and the performers do not scruple during the pauses to avail themselves of certain ham sandwiches and sundry bottles of wine, thus repairing dilapidations of their spirits, and keeping up excitement.

Google Books
Directions For Cookery, In Its Various Branches
By Eliza Leslie
Twenthieth Edition
Philadelphia, PA: Carey & Hart
1844
Pg. 123:
HAM SANDWICHES.
CUT some thin slices of bread very neatly, having slightly buttered them; and, if you choose, spread on a very little mustard. Have ready some very thin slices of cold boiled ham, and lay one between two slices of bread. You may either roll them up, or lay them flat on the plates. They are used at supper, or at luncheon.

You may substitute for the ham, cold smoked tongue, shred or grated. 

Google Books
London
Edited by Charles Knight
Volume III
London: Henry G. Bohn
1851
Pg. 320:
As for the ham-sandwich man, he is a nocturnal dealer: he puts on his white apron, lays his sandwiches in a small handbasket, which he holds before him, an takes his post opposite the gallery-doors of the theatres, where, at or near midnight, he attracts the notice of his customers by the cry of “Ham-sandwiches, only a penny!”

Google Books
London Labour and the London Poor
Vol. I: The London Street-Folk
By Henry Mayhew
New York, NY: Harper & Brothers
1851
Pg. 177 (OF THE STREET-SELLERS OF HAM-SANDWICHES):
Ham-sandwiches are made from any part of the bacon which may be sufficiently lean, such as “the gammon,” which now costs 4d. and 5d. the pound. When the trade was first started, 7d. a pound was paid for the ham, but the sandwiches are now much larger. To make three dozen a pound of meat is required, and four quartern loaves. The “ham” may cost 5d., the bread 1s. 8d. or 1s. 10d., and the mustard 1d. The proceeds for this would be 3s., but the trade is very precarious: little can be done in wet weather. If unsold, the sandwiches spoil, for the bread gets dry, and the ham loses its fresh color; so that those who depend upon this trade are wretchedly poor. A first-rate week is to clear 10s.; a good week is put at 7s.; and a bad weel at 3s. 6d. On some nights they do not sell a dozen sandwiches. There are halfpenny sandwiches, but those are only half the size of those at a penny.

Making of America
15 November 1851, The Living Age, pg. 302:
Here are crowds of customers, hot and hungry from the Lyceum or Drury Lane, and clamorous for sandwiches. Ham sandwiches, beef sandwiches, German sausage sandwiches—legions of sandwiches are cut and consumed.

19 February 1941, Atlanta (GA) Journal and Constitution, pg. 2E, cols.  4-6:
Menus Awe Eater;
They Sling Slang

By Yolande Gwin
(...)
A ham sandwich with lettuce and tomato is “one glorified.”

8 June 1947, Atlanta (GA) Journal, Magazine, pg. 12, cols. 2-4:
“A HAM SANDWICH WALKING”
By Mary Lane
(...)
I can even register only a mild amount of surprise over “A HAM SANDWICH WALKING,” knowing full well that the sandwich is to be carried out in a paper bag.

Discuss Cooking Community
Dave Hutchins
07-08-2008, 11:20 PM
Diner Slang
(...)
Noah’s son Slice of ham (Ham was Noah’s second son)
Noah’s boy on bread Ham sandwich

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, November 25, 2008 • Permalink