For some reason, Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches were a picnic staple for families from the 1920s through the 1960s. I’ve seen many recipes for these sandwiches, but none that only used cream cheese and roasted red peppers (pimientos). that is, until now. Today Sue makes Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches along with her friend Ruth Ann. Sue and Ruth Ann are cooking their way to kitchen prowess in When Sue Began to Cook.
When Sue Began to Cook was a Twenties cookbook for kids by Louise Bennett Weaver. This is Lesson 33 in Sue’s year of 52 cooking lessons. If you’re just joining us, click the linked book title above to visit the first lesson and start at the beginning of the story (and recipes).
Sandwiches were easy and popular fare in the Twenties. Grab some white bread (or nut bread for tea sandwiches.) Spread the bread with anything handy plus a little butter and you have a feasible sandwich. Chopped nuts, celery, onion, cheese, and even little bits of roasted red peppers made their way into the Twenties sandwich.
This recipe calls for Creamy Salad Dressing, which Sue learned to make in Lesson 26. Click the link to see that recipe.
Sue and Ruth Ann make a dozen sandwiches, each of them working with twelve slices of bread. Although the recipe below calls for softened butter, Sue and Ruth Ann use butter right out of the icebox. Here’s how she explains it…
Sue’s Notes from Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches
After the cheese mixture was ready, we each cut twelve slices of bread very thin, and arranged it in pairs that matched so they could be fitted together. We softened the butter by mashing it down with a spoon. Then we spread one piece of bread of each pair with butter and the other slice with our cheese mixture. We used a silver knife for the spreading. Mother said that was best.
As soon as all the bread had been spread, we pressed the sides together to make sandwiches. Then we piled three big sandwiches on top of each other and cut them all across in half with a sharp knife to make smaller three-cornered sandwiches. Then we cut the other three in half. Then we each had twelve sandwiches. [Actually, they each had twelve half sandwiches, cut diagonally.]
When all the sandwiches were made, Mother gave us each an old clean napkin and had us dip it in cold water and then wring it out as dry as we could. Then she had us wrap up our sandwiches with it and put them away till we were ready to use them. [This is to keep the sandwiches from drying out in an age before plastics.]
“We’re going on a picnic in the car tonight,” Mother said. “Yes, you too, Ruth Ann. I’ve already asked your grandmother and she says you may.”
“Goody!” I said, that being my favorite expression. “Are you going to let us get the lunch ready now? Oh, Mother, let us do it all!”
“Not all, just the sandwich part,” said Mother, laughing as she always does when I act very enthusiastic. “I want to have th whole lesson on sandwiches. Just one kind. You see, not many people know how to make very good sandwiches, and I want you girls to learn a few simple rules about sandwich making and never forget them.”
Here are some of the rules:
- 1. Always use bread that is at least a day old, but don’t cut it until you are ready to use it.
- 2. Cut the bread as thin as you can, but be sure the slices are very even.
- 3. Always soften the butter by creaming it, but don’t ever melt it on the stove.
- 4. Wrap your sandwiches in a damp (not wet) cloth till you are ready to use them.
Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches
- 12 Slices white bread, cut thin
- ⅓ cup butter, soft
- ½ cup cream cheese
- 2 Tbsp pimientos, cut fine
- 2 Tbsp Creamy Salad Dressing
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp paprika
- First we put our cream cheese in a bowl and creamed it by pressing it with a spoon till it was very soft and creamy. We cut the pimientos very fine with the kitchen scissors, and put them in with the cheese. Then we added the salad dressing, salt and paprika, and stirred it all together until it was well mixed.
- After the cheese mixture was ready we cut 12 slices of bread very thin, and arranged it in pairs that matched so they could be fitted together. Then we spread one piece of bread of each pair with butter and the other slice with the cheese mixture.
- As soon as all the bread had been spread, we pressed the slices together to make sandwiches. Then we cut them in half to make 3-cornered sandwiches. (You are cutting the sandwich in half diagonally.)