Take a bite, my babies — it’s National Sandwich Day.
Every year on Nov. 3, we salute the humble handheld that’s fed union workers and monarchs, latchkey kids and late-night drunkards.
Legend holds that it was the degenerate gambling habit of Scorpio John Montagu — aka the 4th Earl of Sandwich — that gave rise to the sandwich as we know it.
While on a betting bender, Montagu allegedly didn’t want to take a break from the table, use cutlery or otherwise risk losing his winning streak. After he demanded something sustaining that he could eat one-handed, his enterprising — and presumably exasperated — chef gave him a slab of meat and cheese betwixt two slices of bread.
Thus, the sandwich was born — and it’s been a staple ever since.
America is a proud nation of sandwich eaters, with 53% of U.S. residents eating a sandwich per day — high rates and high risk when you consider the six ways the average sandwich is trying to kill you.
Death by sodium notwithstanding, several sandwich purveyors are offering delicious deals in honor of the holiday. Jersey Mike’s Subs is offering free delivery for orders placed through their app, Subway is rolling out its loyalty match program, Potbelly is offering online and app customers BOGO benefits, and Popeyes is giving away free chicken sandwiches all the live-long day.
Read on, eat on, right on.
In terms of zodiac archetypes, Aries is the first-born warrior and, in the Joseph Campbell model of trajectory, Aries is the call to action and forward momentum, the first step in the hero’s journey.
In-kind, and as described in “The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers,” the creation of the Cuban coincided with the birth of an independent Cuban republic. Further, the iconic and contested mixto would go on to become the sandwich of both immigrants and exiles, both pointed, by choice or force, toward and away from.
Generally speaking, if it can’t give you gout or an orgasm, Taurus ain’t interested.
Enter the lobster roll. “Born of convenience and ease” (a Taurus poem), the primary debate between enthusiasts hinges on warm butter vs. cold mayo, a discourse near and dear to the gluttonous heart of the bull.
Further, lobster in the 20th century has come to be synonymous with wealth, leisure and bougie vacations — a holy trinity of tenets for the Taurus ilk.
Gemini is ruled by Mercury, the planet of storytelling and trash-talking — and there is perhaps neither sandwich nor American city that inspires more of both than Philadelphia, a city that sets itself on fire in celebration and riots when a team actually wins.
So vast and contentious is the origin story of this sandwich that, presumably for their own safety, the folks at Philadelphia Magazine chose to publish an oral history of the sammie, taking into account the chorus of claims and opinions that make up the beautiful symphony of discord and detraction that is the city itself.
Special shoutout to this Philadelphia king who insisted he be buried with two cheesesteaks — a glutton to the grave and an inspiration to all.
Cancer is ruled by the many moods of the moon and relates to our families of origin, ancestral echoes and homes both literal and metaphorical. Apropos of this, there is no sandwich that invokes the taste of childhood and undiagnosed lactose intolerance like the humble grilled cheese.
As adults, when the crippling weight of being a sentient, sensitive human being in a cruel world sets in, the classic comfort of a grilled cheese sandwich requires minimal effort, no animal death and offers a warm and welcome return to simpler times.
Ruled by the showboating sun, Leo is not interested in a walk-on role, an opening act, the B list or second-string anything. Further, lions are historically very into iconic single names: Madonna, Warhol, Slash, etc.
In kind and crust, the fine folks at Sandwich Magazine (a pack of Leos with Taurus moons, no doubt) ordained the bacon, lettuce and tomato concoction the “greatest sandwich in the world.”
Apropos of Leo being the sign of stage and screen, writer Jenna Davies spins a cinematic story about bringing a BLT into being.
“Making a BLT at home has become a sort of ritual over the years. If I’m in town on a Sunday, I put on Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” … and head into the kitchen,” Davies wrote. “I often eat my sandwich at my breakfast nook, barefoot, and attempt to savor it slowly. I’m usually wiping the last bits of mayonnaise from the corners of my mouth by the time ‘Silver Springs’ starts to fade.”
Licks fingers; ends scene.
The concept of afternoon tea, and with it the advent of tiny, crustless sandwiches, was introduced in 1840 by Virgo Anna Maria Russell, duchess of Bedford, who, parched and peckish in the low hours between lunch and dinner, needed a little something.
The ruler of the sixth house, Virgo is the sign of daily rituals and temple maintenance — and the ceremony of afternoon tea speaks to both tenants.
As Saveur reports,” “The sandwiches served at teatime are just filling enough to inhibit overindulgence in the scones, cream and jam, and iced cakes that follow.”
Inhibiting overindulgence with symmetrical, ceremonial snacks? Practical, pretentious and ultimately fortifying?
Virgo vibes to the max.
Kentucky Hot Brown
If Libra were a building, they would be an opulent, old hotel where someone else is paying the tab. Apropos of this, the hot brown was born at Louisville’s gilded grand dame, the Brown Hotel.
The decadent dish was designed to satisfy party people who worked up an appetite dancing, flirting and preening — Libra superpowers — during the many rooftop parties the hotel played host to.
In true Venusian form, the crust of the bread was “removed for aesthetics,” the X-shaped bacon was added for color, and, in lieu of tomatoes, the sandwich was originally served with ultra fancy peaches, a stone fruit also known as the “boob of Venus.”
The muffuletta was brought to our shores and swamps by Sicilian immigrants, and as an infamous, autonomous island with its own language, funerary customs and legendary criminal organization, Sicily is pure Scorpio.
In addition, a stripped-down muffuletta was one of several foods associated with All Souls Day or, in Sicilian, U juornu rii muorti, the day of the dead, celebrated on Nov. 2, in the dark heart of Scorpio season. Traditionally, cemetery banquets were prepared so the living could break bread with the dead.
Grave snacks and Costa Nostra connections? Some real fixed-water folks.
The muffuletta sandwich as we know it was given unto us by Salvatore Lupo, a Sicilian immigrant to New Orleans and the owner of the still-standing (Scorpio is built to endure and maddeningly hard to kill) Central Grocery & Deli on Decatur Street.
Ruled by Jupiter, Sagittarius is the sign of expansion, higher learning, optimism, excess, gambling, hubris, soapbox speeches and insufferable pedanticism. Many of those themes are present and accounted for in the fraught origin story of the reuben sandwich.
A 2013 New York Times piece, written by Elizabeth Weil, traced the invention of the reuben to her own grandfather, a hotel chef who made the meal for a table full of hungry poker players (the patron saints of Jupiter).
Food writer and historian Andrew Smith was not having it, complained to the paper and proceeded to engage in an evidential and cerebral pastrami measuring contest with its writer.
Read all about the reality of the reuben here.
Ham and cheese
Ruled by “this is for your own good” planet Saturn, Capricorn is big-time dad vibes.
The sea-goat is here to teach you a lesson and fortify your fledgling form through the crustless glory of a ham and cheese sandwich prepared with a theatrically large kitchen knife, like David Carradine as “Real Bad Daddy” Bill in the eponymous “Kill Bill: Volume II.” No better scene nor sandwich illustrates the delicate nature of life and death, action and accountability, fate and forgiveness, and the perils of fish found underfoot.
Add to it that Capricorn is the sign of the punishing perfectionist, and the perfect sandwich, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans, consists of tomato (54%), cheddar cheese (39%) and black frest ham (39%).
Aquarius is the sign of fixed air, revolution and community organizing. In-kind, the po’ boy — or po-boy, or poboy, depending on whom you ask — was born from solidarity in the hungry aftermath of a streetcar strike.
Following hostile contract negotiations, New Orleans streetcar workers struck on July 1, 1929. Benny and Clovis Martin, former streetcar conductors and owners of the Martin Brothers’ French Market Restaurant and Coffee stand, vowed to feed the striking union member by whatever means necessary, writing an open letter declaring: “Our meal is free to any members of Division 194. We are with you till hell freezes, and when it does, we will furnish blankets to keep you warm.”
Astrology 101: Your guide to the star
I’m naming the turkey club the Pisces of sandwiches, as it is aces at soaking up the debauched traces of a big night out, is held up with cheap frills, and because its origin story was immortalized into pure comedic gold, courtesy of departed Pisces comedian Mitch Hedberg (see above).
Astrologer Reda Wigle researches and irreverently reports back on planetary configurations and their effect on each zodiac sign. Her horoscopes integrate history, poetry, pop culture and personal experience. She is also an accomplished writer who has profiled a variety of artists and performers, as well as extensively chronicled her experiences while traveling. Among the many intriguing topics she has tackled are cemetery etiquette, her love for dive bars, Cuban Airbnbs, a “girls guide” to strip clubs and the “weirdest” foods available abroad.