It was a cold and rainy November night, when Duke Shamous found himself traveling through the little village of Tophin.
Dukes stomach began to gurgle and grumble, with every step he took. Reminding him its been hours since his last meal.
As he came to the far end of the village, he saw one, lonesome, shinning light ahead.
“A Tavern” He said to his men behind him. “We’ll go there and get food”
His men looked ahead, and then back at each other with doubt in their eyes. It was the middle of the night, what place is going to be serving hot food at all, let alone to the standard they knew the Duke expected every meal. But they kept their mouths shut and thinking of their own hungry belly’s, thought its worth a try.
As they got closer, with the rain stinging their eyes, the light sparkled. The duke reached out and pulled the heavy door open. As he did, the heat came pouring out. He stepped forward, his men following closely behind. Each one of them being enveloped into the thick warm air.
Breathing in the fresh wood smoke coming from the open fie, tingling their skin.
Duke stepped in, walking straight towards the bar. His men sat down at a table in the corner.
Not many people were in the tavern at this time. Only a few, old local men, sitting by the fire, mugs of ale in hands, telling each other stories of years before, that they must have told and heard a hundred times before.
Sam, the owner of the tavern, immediately recognizing the duke, came rushing over to him to take his order.
“A mug of your home-brew please good sir”
Sam nodded, and started pouring the ale.
“And make me 4 of your finest dinners, for me and my men over there”
Sam looked up from the tap, looked up at the clock on the wall. Dinner hour was well past finished, the kitchen was shut down. But this was the duke here. In His Tavern! He couldn’t possible say no. He brain started going a mile a minute, thinking through everything he has in the larder. He passed the Duke his drink, and quickly went out back. He shouted (As quietly as he could possibly shout without anyone hearing him!) up the stairs to his wife.
“Pst, Helen, come down. The Dukes here!”
Helen stuck her head down from the top of the stairs, her hair all tied up in cloth, her nightdress and slippers on.
“What do you mean the duke? Where? Here?”
“Yes, here, he wants food. Come and help me”
Helen grabbed her dressing gown, and came running down the stairs, sticking her arms in as she took the steps 2 at a time. Helen and Sam both rushed into the kitchen, turning all the lights back on that had been shut off for the night. Then both began frantically searching the fridge, the counters, the buckets, anywhere that food is kept.
After a few minutes of searching, and gabbing anything they could find that was left, they turned to each other, and both surveyed the food they had placed out on the counter.
They stared in silence at the spread in front of them. After a moment, Sam turned to his wife. Fear in his eyes.
“What am I going to do? The duke is here, in our tavern, and wants a meal. All we have left is some bread, a couple of chunks of cheese, and the last few slices of ham. I can’t give the duke and his men this to share on a plate. What am I going to do Helen?”
Helen looked from the food to her nervous husband. She didn’t have an answer for him, and she hated not being able to help him. She knows this tavern is everything to him, and she didn’t want to risk the duke leaving with a bad experience.
She went over to the cupboard, and grabbed some plates, she put them on the counter and began to slice some cheese. She cut the bread into slices, 2 on each plate. And divided the meat up. Giving the biggest bits to the plate or the duke.
Sam watched as she did this, his mind going crazy thinking of how to make this look like his best meal he could offer.
When his wife had finished, he walked over to the plates. He stood there, staring for a moment longer, and then he reached over, grabbed the butter and a knife, and began to butter the bread. He spread the perfectly whipped butter that his wife had made that morning onto each of the slices of bread. Then – reaching over to a shelf where he had a jar of homemade mustard, he grabbed it and began delicately spreading a thin layer of yellow atop the butter on one slice of each plates bread. He then placed, ever so gently, the cheese on one slice. He looked again at the plate, picked up the meat, and placed it on top of the cheese. Took the other slice of bread, and put it on top.
He stepped back from the plate, looking at this stacked bread cheese, and meat.
He turned to his wife, who began to smile at him.
“It’s great Sam, take it to him. It’s the middle of the night, I’m sure he is starving. He will be grateful for whatever you offer him”
Sam, still hesitant, picked up the plate for the duke, and started out to the bar. Helen followed close behind, stopping at the entrance to the bar, poking her head around and watched as her husband walked up to the sleepy looking Duke still sitting at the bar with his mug of ale in his hand.
Sam placed the plate in front of Duke, and took a step back. Afraid to turn away he watched as Duke looked down at his plate of bread cheese and meat, turning the plate slowly, looking at all ends, each corner, lifting the top layer of bread slightly and looking inside.
After he had inspected the whole thing. He picked up the stack, and brought it to his mouth.
Sam watched as Duke took that first bite. Watched his jaw as he began to chew. Then when the duke looked up at him, and his mouth began to turn upwards into a smile, Sam let go the breath he hadn’t even realized he had been holding in since his fingers left the plate in front of Duke.
“Young man, what is this you have fed me with?”
Sam stepped forward
“Its Bread Sir, and Cheese and Meat”
“I know that much”
The duke said, again inspecting the stack in his hand.
“But what’s it called when it’s all put together like this?”
By now the Dukes men have seen what is happening at the bar, and so have the locals sitting by the fire. Even Helen had stepped further in behind the bar still in her sleep wear. Everyone is watching as Sam tries to explain to Duke how he had put these things together.
“So, it doesn’t have a name?”
The duke asked.
Sam shook his head.
“What’s your name?”
The Duke looked at Sam, and back at his food.
“Just Sam? Do you have a last name Sam?”
“Huh OK, well, this right here, is called a Samwhich. I can tell you right now, many a man will be eating a Samwhich in years to come”
The duke smiled up at Sam, and went back to eating.
Sam smiled, turned to look at his wife, who was grinning at him from where she stood, with proud, love, in her eyes.
The Duke was right. Many a man, after that day, turned up at Sam’s tavern to try his famous SamWhich. Each time, not knowing entirely what to expect inside, between those two pieces of bread.
Over the years, and over the countries, in different taverns, made by different men, the SamWhich became known world-wide. Its name being translated into many different languages, different tongues, different cultures.
Eventually, ending up, as we know it now, the Sandwich.