12 Vintage Sandwiches You Can Make Today

Chaloner Woods // Getty
Chaloner Woods // Getty

The sandwich, a.k.a. foodstuff delivered inside a bread vehicle, is a timeless classic. The formula is open to endless interpretations, like lobster rolls, deep-fried Fluffernutter sandwiches, and donut grilled cheeses. In 1909, diners were arguably more creative with what they put between two slices of bread than they are today. The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich breaks the sandwich down into its seven main categories: fish, egg, salad, meat, cheese, nut, and sweet. No matter what you choose for filling, the turn-of-the-century publication emphasizes the importance of starting with good bread. A product “at least one day old” is preferred.

1. APPLE AND GRAPE SANDWICH

A sandwich can be so many things—a snack, a dessert, a weird salad you eat with your hands. This dish is a great example of all of the above. Start by chopping up apple, celery, and white grapes and toss the ingredients together with French dressing. Spread your mixture on thin slices of buttered white bread to make your sandwich.

2. OYSTER SANDWICH

Like oysters on the half-shell, the shellfish in this sandwich are garnished simply with oil, lemon juice, and Tabasco sauce. Mix together these ingredients with finely chopped raw oysters and serve on thinly-sliced white bread—add a lettuce leaf for some extra crunch.

3. HOT HAM NUMBER TWO

The book’s second take on a hot ham sandwich is reminiscent of a Monte Cristo. After spreading minced ham onto buttered bread, assemble the sandwiches and cut them into triangles. Dip the sandwich points into a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and salt and cook them up on a hot griddle. Once the sandwiches have been fried French toast-style, serve with a slice of roasted tomato.

4. LEMON SANDWICH

Not many recipes feature whole lemon slices as the star ingredient. After removing the rind from the slices, dust them with powdered sugar and stack between buttered slices of white bread that have been cut into circles. A candied cherry on top will hopefully help to reduce the pucker-factor.

5. DAIRY SANDWICH

The dairy sandwich stays true to its name: The simple recipe asks you to spread fresh butter onto thin slices of Swiss and press the cheese together. There’s no mention of bread, suggesting this is literally meant to be a butter sandwich served between two slices of cheese. Unfortunately for sandwich purists, the protein-in-place-of-bread theme has only gained traction in the last 100 years.

6. LOBSTER AND CAVIAR SANDWICH

Sandwiches aren’t typically associated with fine dining, but even luxurious ingredients like lobster and caviar can shine between bread. For this recipe, spread caviar onto lightly buttered bread and sprinkle with lemon juice. Spoon minced lobster meat on top and cover with the second slice of bread. Serve over a lettuce leaf—ideally on the beach with some chilled wine to wash it down.

7. OLIVE AND NUT SANDWICH

Unlike peanut and jelly, olive and nut never caught on as a popular pairing. This recipe calls for sandwich builders to finely chop olives with English walnuts and combine the ingredients together with mayonnaise. Served on buttered brown bread, the mixture makes for a light sandwich that’s big on texture.

8. FARMER SANDWICH

Pork chops and applesauce are commonly seen together on the dinner plate. Here they come together on a sandwich to make a savory-sweet lunch item. You can put this one together by layering thinly sliced cold, roast pork onto white bread and topping it with applesauce. Cap it with the second slice of bread and dig in.

9. TOMATO AND HORSERADISH SANDWICH

Here’s another curious food combination that’s failed to stand the test of time. To assemble a tomato and horseradish sandwich, start by sprinkling thin tomato slices with salt. Combine a half cup of horseradish with two tablespoons of mayonnaise and spread the mixture onto pieces of buttered white bread. Place the tomato slices between the bread and enjoy your meal while clearing out your sinuses at the same time.

10. CALF’S LIVER AND BACON SANDWICH

If you’re not a fan of calf’s liver, perhaps the addition of bacon will change your perspective. Take the well-done liver and chop it up fine with crisp slices of bacon. Season with salt, pepper, and ketchup and serve with a lettuce leaf between buttered graham or white bread.

11. EASTER SANDWICH

Whether or not you make it for Easter, this recipe should be saved for special occasions. Dip a crisp lettuce leaf in mayonnaise and lay that on a slice of buttered white bread. Fill the lettuce with slices of cold hard-boiled egg and sprinkle with salt and pepper. After the sandwich has been cut into squares, tie them up with “lavender baby ribbon” and present your guests with the world’s most adorable finger food—just remind them to remove the ribbon before taking a bite.

12. ASPIC JELLY SANDWICH

No list of early 20th century recipes would be complete without aspic. This retro delicacy is made by mixing gelatin and meat stock to create a savory JELLO mold. To prepare it for a sandwich, soak two ounces of gelatin in one cup of chicken stock until soft. Pour in three more cups of chicken stock that have been seasoned with cloves, parsley, celery, mace, salt, and pepper. Strain the liquid into a dish and mix in shredded chicken before refrigerating. Once the gelatin has set, cut it into “fancy shapes” and serve on buttered wheat bread.

This article originally ran in 2016.

The Most Popular Christmas Cookie in Each State

Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images
Jen Tepp/iStock via Getty Images

While opinions about peppermint bark, reindeer corn, and other Christmas candies are important enough to warrant a map of their own, we all know that the real crown jewel of any kitchen counter during the holidays is an enormous platter of homemade cookies.

In a festive endeavor to guess which type of cookie is most likely to be on your counter this Christmas, General Mills collected search data from BettyCrocker.com, Pillsbury.com, and Tablespoon.com, and created a map that shows which recipes are clicked most often in each state.

Those universally adored Hershey Kiss-topped peanut butter cookies, known on Betty Crocker’s website as Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms, took the top spot in seven states, including Florida, Pennsylvania, California, Kentucky, Nevada, South Carolina, and Wyoming. And people don’t just love peanut butter in blossom form—Easy Peanut Butter Cookie Cups, Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookies, and 2-Ingredient PB-Chocolate Truffles also made appearances on the list.

general mills christmas cookies map
General Mills

Peanut butter treats are definitely a popular choice among holiday bakers in general, and cookie decorators are likely responsible for the prevalence of plain old sugar cookies across the nation. Sugar Cookie Cutouts, Easy Spritz Cookies, and Easy Italian Christmas Cookies all offer a deliciously blank slate for your artistic aspirations.

Apart from peanut butter- and plain sugar-based desserts, the rest of the results were pretty scattered. Iowa most often opts for the figure eight-shaped Swedish Kringla, while Michigan loves a good jam-filled Polish Kolaczki. Surprisingly, Hawaii was the only state to choose gingerbread cookies as their seasonal favorite.

If you’re thinking classic chocolate chip cookies are suspiciously absent from this map altogether, you have great dessert-related detective skills: General Mills decided to omit them from the study, since they’re Betty Crocker’s most-searched cookie recipe all year long, and they would’ve dominated in a staggering 22 states.

Whether you’re looking for a new show-stopping cookie recipe or just wondering how your long-standing family traditions compare to others’, you can read more on the study—and see all the recipes in full—here.

[h/t General Mills]

Why Do Fruitcakes Last So Long?

iStock
iStock

Fruitcake is a shelf-stable food unlike any other. One Ohio family has kept the same fruitcake uneaten (except for periodic taste tests) since it was baked in 1878. In Antarctica, a century-old fruitcake discovered in artifacts left by explorer Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 expedition remains “almost edible,” according to the researchers who found it. So what is it that makes fruitcake so freakishly hardy?

It comes down to the ingredients. Fruitcake is notoriously dense. Unlike almost any other cake, it’s packed chock-full of already-preserved foods, like dried and candied nuts and fruit. All those dry ingredients don’t give microorganisms enough moisture to reproduce, as Ben Chapman, a food safety specialist at North Carolina State University, explained in 2014. That keeps bacteria from developing on the cake.

Oh, and the booze helps. A good fruitcake involves plenty of alcohol to help it stay shelf-stable for years on end. Immediately after a fruitcake cools, most bakers will wrap it in a cheesecloth soaked in liquor and store it in an airtight container. This keeps mold and yeast from developing on the surface. It also keeps the cake deliciously moist.

In fact, fruitcakes aren’t just capable of surviving unspoiled for months on end; some people contend they’re better that way. Fruitcake fans swear by the aging process, letting their cakes sit for months or even years at a stretch. Like what happens to a wine with age, this allows the tannins in the fruit to mellow, according to the Wisconsin bakery Swiss Colony, which has been selling fruitcakes since the 1960s. As it ages, it becomes even more flavorful, bringing out complex notes that a young fruitcake (or wine) lacks.

If you want your fruitcake to age gracefully, you’ll have to give it a little more hooch every once in a while. If you’re keeping it on the counter in advance of a holiday feast a few weeks away, the King Arthur Flour Company recommends unwrapping it and brushing it with whatever alcohol you’ve chosen (brandy and rum are popular choices) every few days. This is called “feeding” the cake, and should happen every week or so.

The aging process is built into our traditions around fruitcakes. In Great Britain, one wedding tradition calls for the bride and groom to save the top tier of a three-tier fruitcake to eat until the christening of the couple’s first child—presumably at least a year later, if not more.

Though true fruitcake aficionados argue over exactly how long you should be marinating your fruitcake in the fridge, The Spruce says that “it's generally recommended that soaked fruitcake should be consumed within two years.” Which isn't to say that the cake couldn’t last longer, as our century-old Antarctic fruitcake proves. Honestly, it would probably taste OK if you let it sit in brandy for a few days.

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