August is National Sandwich Month! (It’s best not to ask how I know things like this…) My plan for this week was to feature several different items. I made it about 10 pages into Seven Hundred Sandwiches when I realized that wouldn’t work. This book needed its own space. Thankfully, there are two Wednesdays left this month. That should be just enough this book and a little something special next week, too.
Fond as I am of a good peanut butter sandwich or tuna melt, Florence Cowles’ 1932 Seven Hundred Sandwiches is an eye-opener. There are recipes for standards, the tame, and the everyday. But then there’s the “let’s-make-whatever-is-in-the-fridge-into-a-spread,” the “well-I’ve-never-thought-to-put-that-together-before,” and what I will affectionately label the “huh? wha–?”
No matter what kind of sandwich you already like, you should be able to find something in this book…though you may not recognize it at first. Throughout her volume, Cowles makes up names for combinations of fillings. And it’s definitely creative.
But first, the book opens with a set of general directions, in the event you’re new to this sandwich game: hints about which breads to use and how to cut; how to cream butter for spreading (it should ALWAYS be creamed before adding to bread); mayonnaise v. salad dressing; preparing a work space; preparing fillings; and storage.
Like fish? How about a “sardinoil,” a “pimentuna,” or a “shrimpegg*?” If you prefer dairy, there’s the “creamango*”, the “tochebee,” or the “chilicot.” For nut lovers, there’s the “peanutpine,” the “gindanutra,” and the “prunuchee.” (I promise, I’m not making these up!) In most cases, the name is clue to the ingredients, as is their placement in a certain category. But a few just leave you puzzled without the recipe. Take a little time to ponder. There are a few sneak peeks at the bottom of the post, but if you have questions, just ask in the comments!
As an aside, the fact that this book contains TWO lettuce sandwich recipes did not escape my notice. Two that are actually different from the three in Mary Frazer’s 1903 Kentucky Receipt Book that continue to resurface! (You can see the original post here.) Lettuce sandwiches are nearly as common as frosted ones in our blog!
Florence Cowles spares us the frosted sandwich in her book, though she gives us a short list of “cake sandwiches.” You could create a four (or more!) course meal of sandwiches with a little innovation: Russian sandwich canapes, Tomato soup sandwich soup course*, Lamb and Mint on wheat for dinner, and cake with watermelon and ice cream filling for dessert. And if you don’t like lamb, there are plenty of hearty beef, mutton, bacon, sausage, seafood, egg, cheese, nut, and especially ham, fillings instead.
On a closing note, here’s a piece of advice from Florence Cowles: “While the breads and fillings are varied, there is only one kind of knife suited to sandwich making–a sharp one.”
*A few recipes that need an explanation:
Shrimpegg Sandwich: A mix of cooked, canned shrimp, chopped walnuts, chopped hard-boiled eggs, and mayonnaise.
Creamango Sandwich: A mix of cream cheese, chopped mango (peppers, not the fruit), onion juice, salt and pepper, spread on thin, butter-spread slices.
Tomato Soup Sandwich: Rye spread with butter and undiluted tomato soup between lettuce leaves.