I do some volunteering for Lifeline to help out with the fundraising Bookfairs that run in Canberra three times a year. Something I’ve recently started doing is helping to price the vintage books. My latest box for pricing is mostly full of recipe books. And in amongst them, this First Edition pearl from 1929:
It features advice that ranges from the wise “there is only one kind of knife suited to sandwich making – a sharp one” (I feel like such a fool!) via the ingenious “a plate of sandwiches may be covered with a towel wrung out of hot water” (who knew?) to the racy “Sandwiches are more attractive if cut in rounds, triangles, oblongs or exact squares, or with a fancy cutter” (oh, have mercy!) and the deeply zen “Many directions say to butter the bread before it is cut from the loaf” (fuck– what?)
I dunno if there’s really five hundred recipes in there – they’re not numbered – but damn, if you’re the sort of person who publishes a book of your sandwich recipes then, if the cover says Five Hundred Sandwiches, well, hell yes there will be exactly five hundred sandwich recipes inside.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, some of them are stretching things a bit.
Okay so lettuce sandwiches are perfectly acceptable, but the cabbage and mashed peas are giving me flashbacks to the English school lunches of my early childhood. What is the emoticon for my gag reflex? Not to mention that the fresh grated horseradish would probably blow your sinuses out through your forehead. The sliced olive is an insult on top of the abuse that recipe would do to your mucus membranes.
Other highlights include: anchovy and egg (aka The Death By Farts); banana, lettuce and mayonnaise (aka The Whateverthefuck Happened To Be In The Fridge At The Time); Nasturtium (aka The Whateverthefuck I Happened To See In The Garden); orange and egg (aka The Goddammit I Am Making It To Five Hundred); liver, raisin and onion (aka The Okay, Just Stop Now. No Really, For The Love Of God, Stop).