For many people trying to cut back on carbs, a wrap is a sandwich that helps them reach their goals. Wraps are made of filling soft wheat or flour tortillas with various fillings and rolling them up to make a hand-held delight. Wraps are the West’s version of traditional flatbread, or pita, sandwiches of the Northern parts of the Middle East and the Southern parts of the Caucasus. Today, however, wraps take center stage on the restaurants’ menus that appeal to the health-conscious customer.
While wraps are seen in Mexican cuisine in burritos and tacos, their popularity has in fascinating history here in the USA. Let’s take a look at where our fascination with hand-held goodness began.
Steeped In Sports
The modern-day wrap sandwich was popularized in 1982 thanks to America’s favorite pastime, baseball. More recently known for the management of the Boston Red Sox, Bobby Valentine had a significant influence on bringing the wrap sandwich to mainstream America. Not only was Bobby famous for returning to the New York Mets dugout in a mustache disguise after he was ejected from the game, but he’s also infamous for his unique skills in the kitchen.
Also, a restaurateur, Bobby Valentine, served the first wrap sandwich at his restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut. On this particular day, one of Bobby’s regulars in the restaurant also happened to be the banker who loaned him the funds to open the establishment. This gentleman usually ordered a turkey club-like clockwork, but this day, the restaurant’s toaster was broken, and everything in the world of sandwiches changed.
To not disappoint his valued customer, Bobby grabbed a tortilla and proceeded to fill it with the traditional turkey club ingredients. He then rolled up the stuffed tortilla and melted a bit of cheese on top to keep it from unrolling. Once the wrap was complete, Bobby instructed his staff to tell his customer that in place of the club sandwich, he was receiving a “Club Mex.”
A Catchy Idea That Caught On
Fortunately for Bobby, his banker customer, and others liked the wrap concept, and it soon became a permanent fixture on the menu. The “club sandwich wrap” was filled with turkey, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and cheese and was viewed as a rival to the traditional stacked club sandwich. While Bobby Valentine admits that he didn’t invent the first hand-held wrap sandwich, he does take credit for putting American ingredients inside a tortilla wrap and serving it his restaurant as a novelty.