A true American icon, club sandwich consists of bacon, cooked chicken breast, tomatoes, and lettuce sandwiched between a few slices of toasted bread with mayonnaise. The sandwich is closely linked to hotels and resorts as a popular menu item, its name believed to come from its popularity at country clubs.
The most popular theory about its origin says that it was invented in 1894 at Saratoga Club-House in New York. The oldest recipe was found in a cookbook called the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book from 1903, written by Isabel Gordon Curtis.
Club sandwich was also the favorite sandwich of King Edward VIII of England. Today, it is usually cut into triangles or quarters when served, and it is often held together by wooden sticks. There is an ongoing debate about using chicken versus turkey, and while purists such as James Beard opt for chicken, turkey is actually more commonly seen in a club sandwich these days.
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Considered the aristocrat among sandwiches, the club sandwich first appeared at the turn of the 19th century. The best-known of several theories as to its origin states that this classic first appeared at a men's social club in New York — either the Saratoga Club House or the Union Club of New York City. Also, as many train menus from the 1890s listed the club sandwich among their offerings, some hold that the club was invented in railway lounge cars, which were also known as club cars. A less accepted theory claims this American icon was purely a result of an accident during a late night fridge raid. The first recipe under the name "club sandwich" was published in 1897 in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, it first appeared on a restaurant menu in 1896. However, the first recipe similar to what we today know as the club is from a 1903 edition of the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cook Book by Isabel Gordon Curtis. Initially, this was a sandwich made with only two slices of bread — the signature extra slice of bread in the middle and tomato slices only appeared in later versions of the recipe.