The Impossibly Simple Toast Sandwich Of The 1800s

Ah, toast. Where would we be without this simple but delicious supporting player to big, sprawling breakfast meals? Its nooks and crannies are the ideal vessel for soaking up butter, jam, cream cheese, and all manner of spreads. It also had an irresistible crunch factor that's perfect for contrasting against runny egg yolks and soupy stews.

People have surely loved toast for as long as we've had both bread and fire, but that being said, toast has certainly been having something of a moment over the past few decades specifically. Ranging far beyond its associations as a breakfast food, toast has moved to the center of the plate, supporting all manner of intricate avocado toppings from morels with cream sauce to deep-fried calf brains with white anchovies (via SF Gate). The days of simple, unadorned toast almost seem long gone, but back in the mid-1800s, one American cookbook allowed it to shine — in between two slices of untoasted bread, that is.

This carb-on-carb rarity was intended for frail or sickly diners

While typically stuffed with proteins such as meat and cheese and a variety of vegetables ranging from lettuce to roasted peppers, many a sandwich has also been known to feature starch layered between, well, more starch. These carb-on-carb delights include the Mexican torta de tamal, a warm tamale packed into a bready bolillo roll, and the British chip butty, soft slices of white bread packed with fries and doused with melted butter (via The Guardian). Comforting, satisfying, and, of course, filling, these high-cal delights are charming members of the sandwich world.

One starch-on-starch sandwich variety that, sadly, did not stand the test of time comes to us from "Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management," the 1861 home maintenance manual and cookbook. There, in a chapter devoted to "Invalid Cookery" for the sick, according to The Takeout, the cookbook listed a recipe for a "toast sandwich" — a thin slice of toasted bread left to go cold, seasoned with salt and pepper, and tucked between two slices of buttered, untoasted bread. "Very tempting to the appetite of an invalid," the cookbook's author, Isabella Beeton, notes on the recipe (via The Foods of England Project) — a dubious claim at best. As for us, we'll be sticking with those tortas de tamal, thank you very much.