Jimmy Steal

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

When it comes to sandwiches these days, the sky’s the limit as far as what goes between two slices of bread. From fancy lettuce blends, to angus and Kobe beef. Artisanal pickles to plant based cold cuts. It truly has become a brave new sandwich world.

Elvis Week in Memphis

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

However, those of us lucky enough to remember the days of old school lunches, packed in Saturday Morning cartoon themed plastic lunch boxes know it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when sandwiches were simple. Not to say they fit everyone’s pallet, but they were quick, easy, and looking back, some were quite creative!

It all began with the bread.

Back in the day, I can only remember three types of bread in my world. Home Pride Butter Top Bread, Beefsteak Rye, and of course the king of all gluten, Wonder Bread. Moreover, I remember the savvy marketing of Home Pride. The old school commercials would show them pouring hot butter into the loaf of unbaked bread, “proving” to my 10 year old mind that butter really was baked into every loaf!

I preferred it as my go to PB&J vessel. Meanwhile, Beefsteak Rye was for two types of sandwiches in my house, and only two. Boiled Ham and Swiss, and the one and only Liverwurst and onions! I know, I’m making you hungry. Every other sandwich HAD to be made on Wonder Bread. There was no debate.

Condiments were king.

As a parent of two Gen Z’ers I can tell you the condiment world has been turned upside down by this generation. My kids have never been fans of mustard, other than honey mustard. They rarely use ketchup, or relish. Oh, and how they loath mayo! Nope, it’s all about hot sauce and salsa. Guac, and hummus spreads. Balsamic glaze on this, Tajeen or red pepper flakes shaken on that. I on the other hand had specific condiments that went on specific sandwiches, as well as specific brands! Ketchup had to be Heinz. I think there was a time where my mom was buying Hunts because it was cheaper maybe, but I quickly talked her back to her senses. In my family there was only one mustard, whether you liked it or not: Gulden’s Spicy Brown. Good old Charlie Gulden told you it was the best in one of his famous commercials. None of this fancy Frenches Yellow stuff at my house. That was for pretzels and hot dogs and Yankee games.

Mayo was the same: Hellman’s in that giant glass jar. I can still here the butter knife clanging through the bottom of it, trying to get one more dollop. Although, I seem to recall a jar of that bastardized mayo Frankenstein, Miracle Whip in the fridge from time to time also.


Try it, you’ll like it!

That’s what all parents said. Sometimes they were actually right. So now that I’m the grown up giving you this list, I invite you to try some! Who knows, one or two might get put into your regular sandwich rotation!

Frankie Howerd

(Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

  • Goober Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

    We gotta start with the old PB&J right? However, this was an old school twist that if you played your cards right, you could get mom to buy at least once. The ultimate in kid logic. Put the Peanut Butter and the Jelly together. What a time saver! Strange side note: Goober is product of Smuckers, the Jelly people. It’s still around today if you’re interested in saving sandwich making time.

  • Oscar Meyer Bologna and Cheese

    Ahhh Bologna. Is there anything more low class America than that? I loved it, and to be honest I still do! Maybe once or twice a year you’ll find me ordering up some fresh sliced at the deli. I haven’t had the Oscar Meyer prepackaged brand in decades, but man I still remember that kid and his loveable, if not a little annoying song. It sold a millions and that’s no baloney.

  • Pimento Cheese Sandwich

    One of the sad realities of grade school was that there was no way to bring a nice grilled cheese in for lunch. It got cold, it got soggy, the cheese firmed back up in your lunchbox. It was a disaster. Ahhh but a pimento cheese spread sandwich, now that’s thinkin! already soft, already cheesy, and those pimento’s give it just the right amount of kick. Hey, they still sell tons of them at the Masters Golf Tournament.  If you want to get kooky try it with a little Underwood deviled ham spread. A ham and cheese experience you won’t soon forget!


  • Liverwurst and Onions with Spicy Brown Mustard on Rye

    Perhaps the most polarizing sandwich meat of all time is Liverwurst. Possibly due in part to the fact that folks aren’t sure if it’s meat at all. It’s got a taste all it’s own, some find very off putting. However, paired with raw onions, some Gulden’s and Beefsteak Rye, it becomes part of a gastronomical symphony. My Nana’s favorite. Took me years to get it, but I’ve grown to love it.

  • The Muffuletta

    The iconic New Orleans sandwich that can be made right here in New Jersey. Basically grab some nice soft Italian bread, maybe some ham, salami, a little mortadella perhaps? Add your sharp provolone, and finish with an awesome olive salad spread. You’ll be a Ragin’ Cajun in no time!


  • Fluffer Nutter

    Peanut butter, Marshmallow Fluff, and Wonder Bread. That’s all it takes to make magic when you’re a kid. Or an adult with a poor diet. But hey, once in a while is ok. By the way, I was this many years old when I found out October 8th is National Fluffernutter Day.

  • Nutella Sandwich

    This is my teenage son Donovan’s go to sando. I was never a big Nutella guy, but he loves em. Of course you have a couple of variations on the original. Peanut Butter and Nutella. Nutella and Fluff. Nutella and Banana sandwich. Or all of them together! People even make grilled Nutella sandwiches. I think that’s a bit too messy for me.

  • Egg Salad Sandwich

    Again, one of my all time favs. Freshly hard boiled and cooled eggs, spices, mayo. Pretty much all you need. I like on a good toasted bread. Maybe a nice Sourdough. I’ll have it with lettuce and tomato, and sometimes even bacon. Really a solid comfort food. Easy to make, plus it holds up well in a lunch box. Just don’t over fill your sandwich. Nobody likes to see egg salad flying all over the place.

  • Tuna Melt

    It is written that fish and cheese should never meet. Well whoever wrote that never had a perfectly grilled Tuna Melt! The main reason it’s on this list is because we didn’t just want to do a tuna fish sandwich or a plain old grilled cheese. With this, we get the best of both worlds. The crazy thing about a TM is it takes on a taste all its own. If it’s made well, the bread should be grilled to buttery perfection.


  • Sardine and Saltine Cracker Sandwich

    Here’s the bottom line. People who hate sardines have never tried sardines. They are low cal, healthy, and delicious! While you can have them on bread, little Saltine cracker sandwiches are more of a classic option. Try it with a pickle slice and hot sauce.

  • Cream Cheese and Jelly on White Bread

    Don’t say bagel ! This is not that. Trust me here. When you put Philly Cream Cheese, sliced from the block, together with Grape Jelly on Wonder Bread, it’s a 70’s sensation!

  • Hot Roast Beef and Cheddar

    Gimme that with a cup of gravy or jus . All day every day. At least in the cold weather months.


  • Leftover Meatloaf Sandwich

    Yeah we gotcha with this one. Maybe with ketchup? Or mayo? How about some more gravy…You like da gravy don’t ya?  As old school as you can get. Hot or cold, it’s a winner!


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