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Food Timeline>Sandwiches, 1920s style

John Montague, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, "invented" the first sandwich in 1762. By the 1920s, USA recipes proliferated to the point where entire cookbooks were devoted to this topic. Incorporating popular ingredients in novel ways, "modern" women were clearly experimenting with flavor, texture, and presentation. Trendy new foods (pineapple, canned tuna) are embraced as well as traditional fare (ham, sardines). Today's cooks marvel at this decade's fascination with cream cheese, food choppers and white bread.

The recipes below are from Seven Hundred Sandwiches/Florence A Cowles [Little, Brown:Boston] 1928. Ms. Cowles notes in her introduction: "One's imagination likes to play with the astonishment and lively interest the sporting earl would manifest could he see the development his invention had undergone since then and its evolution from a hasty improvisation into a thing of art and intricacy. For the sandwich... has become both complex and has gained in popularity by gigantic strides. Some branches of the now numerous sandwich family have risen in life and put on airs...they bloom exotically at afternoon teas and receptions...There is a constant and insistent demand for new ideas in sandwiches, new combinations in fillings and new and attractive architectural plans for construction...the origin of many of the recipes has become shrouded in this book will be found represented practically every kind of sandwich thus far invented." (p. v-vii)

We salute the sandwich makers of the 1920s with 20 interesting samples. Can you guess by the name what the ingredients are?

Sardolive Tutti frutti Cuban Tiger eyes Dixieland
Tomato soup Five course Honolulu Crust butter Substantial
Beef Jelly Turtle Tree Baked bean Salmon bite
Pigs-in-a-Blanket Emergency Liverice Devildine Banana

Sardolive Sandwich
"Mix equal parts of sardines, chopped olives and hard-boiled egg yolks and season highly with lemon juice, salt and paprika." (p. 63)

Tutti Fruitti Sandwich
"1/4 cup dates, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup dry figs, 1/4 cup walnut meats, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1/2 cup whipped cream, 1/4 cup sugar or more. Put fruits and nuts through food chopper. Mix with orange juice. Mix with whipped cream and sugar. Use between thin buttered slices of bread." (p. 144-145)

Cuban Sandwich
"Toast thin slices of bread on both sides. Put lettuce leaves and thin slices Roquefort cheese on toast, garnish with chopped nuts. Spread on a layer of cooked salad dressing and cover with another slice of toast. Crusts should be cut from bread before toasting. Eat with knife and fork." (p. 97)

Tiger Eyes
"Cut rounds of white bread with a cutter. Butter the bottom round and spread with seasoned cream cheese. Cut a small circle from center of top round. Place on bottom round and in the center hole fit half a suffed olive, cut crosswise. (p. 88)

Dixieland Sandwich
"Put through the food chopper half a pound of roasted peanuts, three slices of fried bacon and one can pimentos. Mix with salad dressing and use on any preferred kind of bread." (p. 118)

Tomato Soup Sandwich
"Spread rye bread with creamed butter and cover with a leaf of lettuce. Spread undiluted tomato soup, canned, on the lettuce, cover with another leaf and then with another slice of bread." (p. 133)

Five Course Sandwich
"Use alternate rounds of white and whole-wheat bread, diminishing in size as in the Russian Club Sandwich. Each round is buttered. The bottom round is of whole wheat and is spread with a mixture of cream cheese and jam; this is the dessert course. The next round (white bread) is the salad course, spread with tomato and water cress with a little mayonnaise. The meat course is a slice of chicken on a round of whole-wheat bread. The fish course is a round of white bread spread with anchovy paste. The little top round of bread is the canape and is spread with caviar and a little hard-boiled egg; or a slice of deviled egg may be used, or hard-boiled egg and pimento." (p. 189)

Honolulu Sandwich
"3/4 cup chopped pulled figs, 1 cup crushed pineapple, 1/3 cup sugar, Juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Cook figs and pineapple until smooth, add sugar and lemon juice and cook until thick. Remove from fire, add walnuts and cool. Spread on thin rounds of whole-wheat bread." (p. 149)

Crust butter sandwich
"Put the crusts from sandwiches through the food chopper as soon as trimmed. Mix with salad dressing and creamed butter and spread between other slices of bread, thereby avoiding waste. Any desired seasoning may be added." (p. 109)

Substantial sandwich
"Cut tomatoes in medium-thick slices, sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika. Fry eggs until yolks are hard. Put egg and tomato between thin slices of buttered bread. Boiled or scrambled eggs can be used in the same way." (p. 54)

Beef Jelly Sandwich
"Cook together two medium-sized beef hearts, four pigs' feet and one medium beef tongue, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove meat from broth and cut in slices; remove the meat from the pigs' feet. Arrange in brick pan alternate layers of each, pour over the broth to cover, let cool and keep in ice box. The feet and tongue will make a jelly that will keep the loaf firm. Slices of this make good sandwiches. A little vinegar may be sprinkled over it if a pickled sandwich is preferred. This will keep indefinitely." (p. 30)

Turtle Sandwich
"Cut as many thin slices of brown and white bread as you desire sandwiches. Trim off crust and shape into three and one-half inch squares. Butter lightly and spread with any desired filling. Slice small cucumber pickles lengthwise and stick one piece in each corner of the sandwich for the feet of the turtle and a tiny one for the tail. Run a toothpick through a narrow, short piece of bread and stick it in the opposite end from the tail. On the end of the toothpick put a thin slice of a small carrot, cut crosswise. And there's your turtle." (p. 200)

Tree sandwich
"Cut white bread slices in the shape of a pointed pine tree. Spread the tree part with butter into which finely chopped parsley has been thickly mixed. Pour melted sweet chocolate over the trunk part." (p. 205)

Baked Bean Sandwich
"Baked beans 'as is' make an excellent sandwich, if mashed and spread smoothly on buttered bread, white or whole-wheat. Or mayonnaise or boiled dressing may be added to them. Adding chopped olives, onions, celery or sweet pickles results in a quite different but equally palatable sandwich." (p. 124)

Salmon Bite Sandwich
"Remove bones from red salmon and mix with grated horse-radish. Spread on white or rye bread." (p. 66)

Pigs-in-a-Blanket Sandwich
"Select as many oysters as you wish sandwiches. Cut an equal number of slices of bacon. Chop one green pepper fine. Place each oyster in a slice of bacon, sprinkle with the green pepper, then fold and fasten with a toothpick. Place in moderately hot frying pan. Have a platter in the warming oven and as each piece of bacon is fired a crisp brown, place on platter. Spread slices of bread lightly with mustard or any other mixture you prefer, then place the bacon between, removing toothpicks. Do not salt the oysters, as the bacon is salt enough." (p. 73-74)

Emergency Sandwich
"Put six sweet pickles though the food chopper, also five hard-boiled eggs. Salt and pepper to taste. Cream two tablespoons of peanut butter and one of prepared mustard and add the pickle and eggs. A little paprika or a dash of vinegar may be added to thin to spreading consistency. Good on rye or whole-wheat bread." (p. 57)

Liverice Sandwich
"1 cup rice, 1/2 cup chopped cooked liver, 2 tablespoons butter, Parsley, mace, grated lemon rind. Boil the rice in plenty of hot water to which the salt, mace and a dash of grated lemon peel have been added. When tender, drain and add the chopped liver and butter. Pack in a glass jar and spread when cold on thin slices of bread." (p. 40)

Devildine Sandwich
"Remove bones and tails from a medium-sized can of sardines and thin to a pates with lemon juice. Add a small can of deviled ham (not potted ham), one hard-boiled egg, chopped fine, a chopped olive and a tablespoon of mayonnaise. Trim slices of white bread, butter, lay on a lettuce leaf and spread with devildine." (p. 62-63)

Banana Sandwich
"A banana, just that and nothing else, mashed and spread on bread, makes an appetizing sandwich, particularly if made with dark breads. Use no butter." (p. 140)

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Sandwich history & 1920s foods, menus & popular brands

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Research conducted by Lynne Olver, editor The Food Timeline. About this site.
© Lynne Olver 2004
3 January 2015