Do you remember when “party sandwiches” or canapés were all the rage?? In our small town, every wedding reception, shower, and graduation party had these fancy little sandwiches on the menu. Pinwheels, ribbon and checkerboards, open face or 2 slices of bread with the crusts trimmed off and cut into quarters or triangles and filled with chicken, ham, tuna or egg salad or more elaborate frosted party loaves were common. Today, some caterers still offer these.
In the old 1952 Culinary Arts Institute booklet titled 500 Tasty Sandwiches, the author tells us that fillings that will harden in the refrigerator, like seasoned butters or cream cheese fillings, are best for ribbon and pinwheel-type sandwiches because they will hold the sandwich together. They are wrapped in a damp towel and refrigerated until serving. Both white and brown breads like whole wheat and rye are attractive, especially in combination. Thinly sliced nut breads filled with cream cheese are tasty too.
Both Myrna and I helped our mother, aunts and grandmother prepare and serve these sandwiches at receptions in the church basement by the “church ladies aid” who raised money for their missions by serving at every funeral, wedding and party. The menu was completed with mints and nuts and cake, coffee and punch.
I especially liked chicken salad sandwiches until one of my Sunday school friends reminded me that chicken salad involved killing and cleaning the chicken before stewing it for the meat, and grinding the meat through a meat grinder (no food processors then) and making “boiled dressing” before getting that delicious chicken salad.
When you serve sandwiches, look beyond the usual chips and fries to healthier sides, like baked beans and vegetable salads and soups.