Once upon a time, back when I used to watch television, I was in Dublin with my friend from around the corner and we were happily watching the box. Then I turned it on.
Moments later my friend got the giggles. They were induced by the English sports commentator saying the British invented athletics.
Assuming you too don’t now have the giggles and are still reading, I can tell you that in between laughs my friend managed to splurt out the words, yeah, nobody thought of running before the British.
Perhaps the commentator believed the sight of the British Empire’s finest arriving in your land uninvited, led by a crowned Elton John, was what first started peoples running?
But, you say, surely people had been running away since Zucchero led the Romans, Jean-Michel Jarre marched all over Europe with the French, the great Asian armies were fronted by Jacky and then Leslie Cheung, and Nana Mouskouri took her Greek troops all over the civilized world?
And another thing - what were all those naked and athletic young men doing back in ancient Greece?
A couple of days back I received an invitation in the post. Lovingly addressed to “Chick-fil-A Neighbor” it invites me to their Grand Opening at a nearby shopping centre. With the invitation comes vouchers for free stuff. Really free stuff. I don’t have to buy more than I and my dog can eat on an immoral weekend. I don’t have to buy anything.
But here’s the thing. Let me quote for you: Over 30 years ago, in Hapeville, Georgia the folks at Chick-fil-A invented the world’s first chicken sandwich.
Or, from their website, consider the tag line: We Didn’t Invent the Chicken, Just the Chicken Sandwich
Assuming you don’t have the giggles, we’ll continue. As you know, at Christmas I’ve been eating turkey sandwiches and ham sandwiches since before, well, since before Chick-fil-A invented the chicken sandwich.
Thing is, I can remember when it wasn’t Christmas. It was a Sunday. We had an early dinner. A roast chicken with the roast potatoes. The Riordans was on the telly. Me da felt peckish but, being a man, said nothing. My mother, being a woman, knew what he was thinking.
-Would you like a sandwich?
-I wouldn’t say no
True to his word he didn’t say no. So the mother visited the remains of the chicken before rejoining the family with a plate. And on the plate was not just a chicken sandwich. Rather there was a whole host of them.
And all before Chick-fil-A invented the chicken sandwich. My mother didn’t just know what my father was thinking; she knew what American men who she hadn’t met nor heard of, and who lived thousands of miles away, were going to be thinking in years to come. My mother is that good.
So what gives? Well, in America burgers fall into the category of sandwiches. You don’t have batter-burgers, or spice-burgers, the bun is a given. And it’s true to say that my mother didn’t invent the Chicken Burger. Perhaps your mother did though.
For those familiar with the Chick-fil-A restaurant chain, Truett Cathy needs no introduction, so let me give you an introduction. Truett Cathy is credited for introducing the chicken sandwich concept to the quick-service industry. That’s from his website.
Assuming it’s true, not alone is it not the same as inventing something without ingredients - it’s not like we’re talking a Reuben, or a Club, or even Christmas Curry Chowder - but but I strongly suspect it applies only to the “quick-service industry” of the USA.
What came first though - the chicken sandwich, or the egg sandwich?
And what have you invented lately?