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Sandwich celebrates 250th birthday

British town of Sandwich marks 250 years since the invention of its culinary namesake.
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The story goes that the fourth Earl of Sanwich invented the popular snack when he asked for beef to be served between bread so that he could continue to play cards uninterrupted. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

A British town has marked 250 years since the sandwich was invented by its fourth Earl, John Montagu.

According to the Independent newspaper, the first written record of the sandwich dates back to 1762, and the story goes that Montagu asked for beef to be served between bread because he was reluctant to interrupt a long game of cards.

This weekend, the town of Sandwich in east Kent hosted the Sandwich Celebration Festival to mark that moment and attracted enthusiasts from the US, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France and Russia, the Business Standard reports

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The BBC says that the town hosted sandwich-making competitions and reenactments of Montagu asking for the snack as part of the festival, while the 11 Earl of Sandwich was holding a lunch in honor of his namesake.

"The sandwich is a global food and Sandwich, our town, is just a little town full of medieval buildings. It's bizarre that such an important food item should be named after us," the festival organizer Mandy Wilkins is quoted as saying.

However, AFP says historians are skeptical of the claim that the earl invented the sandwich, with many believing that similar bread-based snacks were being consumed well before the 18th century.

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