People tend to have strong opinions about the Monte Cristo sandwich—which is, of course, a double-decker of swiss cheese, baked ham, and chicken or turkey, buttered, batter-dipped, panfried or deep-fried, then dusted with confectioners' sugar and served with jelly on the side. Some consider it a marvel (I once heard it described as "fried nirvana"); others, an absurdity ("Why?"). Whatever else it may be, though, it is a stunning gastro-architectural creation, requiring careful assembly and, at the table, a knife and fork. One would assume that its origins would be well documented. They aren't.