Vintage Sandwiches


My interest in vintage sandwiches came about when I found several old cookbooks. One, Mrs. Allen on Cooking, has a fun chapter on sandwiches. The following is the first few paragraphs in it's entirety. I'm a historical fiction lover so I also enjoyed the reading the recipes and the instructions of how to put them together. I hope you'll enjoy stepping back into history, as well. 

The term "sandwiches" always implies the use of bread or a substitute, such as crackers or , in some instances, cake combined with a filling that will harmonize. Up to a few years ago the two layers of the bread or its substitute were always used in sandwich making, the filling being put between. But the idea of the sandwich has undergone a change, many sandwiches now being made with but one layer of the bread, which really acts as a foundation.

From this slant, then, we have two types of sandwiches: the first, the closed sandwich--the second, the open sandwich. In reality, this type evolved from the canape and I have always suspected that it could be traced to those who, wishing to reduce, desired to eat less bread!

The Sandwich Family

cheeky chihuahua with sandwiches

The sandwich family is constantly growing; a few years ago sandwiches were used mostly at picnics, afternoon teas, or for lunch-cart service, and were usually cold and not particularly interesting; they have grown in variety and number to such an extent that they are not only made in the most charming of our tea rooms and the most interesting of our delicatessen shops, but they are even appearing upon the best hotel and restaurant menus, the firm that can make the best and the most interesting sandwiches getting the trade.

In wat way are these sandwiches used? Those of more substantial nature are used at luncheon or supper; those of more dainty type at afternoon tea. There is no reason why we have to go to a tea room or a restaurant to obtain these new and interesting sandwiches, for they are easily made and are well suited to home service; many of them, in fact, are literally a meal in themselves, and if they are served at luncheon or supper, or for Sunday night supper with an accompaniment of coffee, tea, or cocoa-- according to the type of sandwich--and a bit of fruit, the meal is balanced and no service is necessitated. 

Vintage Sandwich Recipes

The page goes on to make vintage sandwich suggestions under headings of savoury sandwiches and sweet sandwiches. Here's a quick list of some of the most interesting offerings.

Substantial Savoury Sandwiches

  • Chicken Liver and Mushroom Sandwiches - Fry tow chicken livers in butter, together with two or three good-sized mushrooms. chop very fine and use as a filling for white and entire-wheat bread sandwiches; these may be toasted, if desired.
  • Pressed Spiced Beef Sandwiches - Prepare spiced beef according to the recipe in this book, pressing it in a bread pan. chill and cut in very thin slices, using it as a filling for sandwiches made of white bread. The bread should be cut the same size as the slices of beef.
  • Roast Pork Sandwiches - Slice roast pork very thin, cutting off the fat. Put between slices of buttered white or rye bread, with a leaf of lettuce; spread lightly with chili sauce, apple butter, or mayonnaise.
  • Prune and Cream Cheese Sandwiches - To a half cupful of cream or cottage cheese add a third cupful of shredded cooked prunes, well drained. Put between slices of buttered bread together with crisp lettuce leaves.
  • Devil's Dream Sandwiches - Spread white or entire-wheat bread with butter. On half of the slices lay thinly sliced tongue, the lettuce with mayonnaise or Russian dressing, then chicken together with a thin layer of coleslaw. Top with the remaining slices of bread. These sandwiches are often flanked with a half of a stuffed egg at each end.
  • Boston Sandwiches - Spread white bread with butter and use as a sandwich filling slices of crushed Boston baked beans--not too sweet--mixed with sufficient mayonnaise or Russian dressing to blend.
  • Bermuda Onion and Cucumber Sandwiches - Lightly spread bread with butter and lay on half the slices very thin slices of Bermuda onion and sliced cucumber, crisped, with or without a little mayonnaise, chow-chow, anchovy or sardine paste.

Here's a sampling of the sweet sandwich offerings.

Sweet Sandwiches

  • Fudge Sandwiches - Make up half the recipe for fudge given in this book, beat until creamy, and then instead of pouring it into a pan, pour small portions of it on to crisped saltine crackers. Press on a second cracker, cool, and serve.
  • Maple Cream Sandwiches - Lightly butter entire-wheat bread, entire-wheat nut bread, or saltine crackers and put together with maple cream.
  • Chocolate Nut Sandwiches - Make up the recipe for chocolate icing given in this book, add to it a half cupful of very finely chopped walnut meats (any kind), filberts, or pecans. Put between butter thin or saltine crackers.
  • Pineapple Wheel Sandwiches - Cut nut, fig, raisin, entire-wheat, or white bread into rounds. Spread lightly with butter and put together with very thinly cut rounds of fresh pineapple which have been sprinkled lightly with powdered sugar.
  • Open Date and Ginger Sandwiches
  • 1/2 cupful chopped stoned dates
  • 1/2 cupful chopped English walnut meats
  • 1/4 cupful minced preserved ginger
  • Ginger syrup and lemon juice to moisten
  • Entire-wheat bread and creamed butter or slices of sponge cake
Sliced Ginger

Combine the dates, walnut meats, ginger, ginger syrup, and lemon juice, adding enough of the two last-named ingredients to moisten but not make the moisture really soft. Butter the bread, remove the crusts, and spread with the fruit mixture, cutting the sandwiches into finger lengths. If sponge cake is used, it is not necessary to butter.

I must say, some of these vintage sandwiches sound delicious and some are just interesting, while some I might have to pass. What do you think? Which ones are your favorites? I love pineapples so I may have to try a version of the pineapple wheel sandwich.

And I'm pretty sure the pressed spiced beef sandwich is similar to meat loaf sandwiches. I'll have to add the recipe for that if you'd like to try that one out. Vintage sandwiches are, to say the least, entertaining to read about, if nothing else. And they also have me thinking of creative ways to make new sandwiches.

Have you tried any of the above vintage sandwiches? If so, share which one you tried and if you made any changes. And a pic would also be nice to see. I was interested to know if there are other vintage offerings out there on the interwebs, and yes there are a few. Here's a fun site - Lost Recipes Found - with vintage tea sandwiches. (Link will open in a new window).

Go from Vintage Sandwiches to the blog, to see what else is new.

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