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.
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!