Saturday, January 9, 2016

Have a damp, flavorless sandwich!

January= diet time for a lot of people. What if, a week into the 1971 resolution to lose weight, a dieter really wanted a sandwich? Better Homes and Gardens Calorie Counter's Cook Book (1970), gives readers their pick of this lovely spread:

I'm not so sure about the composition of this picture. I can see why the pile-of-indistinguishable-bits-of-something-on-a-lettuce-leaf is in the bottom corner, but why center the slabs-of-beige-topped-with-something-that-maybe-got-rolled-in-rust sandwich? I'd pick the much prettier cucumber sandwich to go front and center....

So what are all these delightful concoctions?

Top left: Fruit Wheels!

The name is plural because the recipe makes four of them. You only get to eat one of them, though, so you better have some friends to share or you will be eating a soggy bagel topped with brown fruit (the lemon juice to prevent browning will only go so far...) by day four. Of all the recipes, this is the most palatable. You get a tiny bit of cream cheese (a tablespoon-- half a serving-- divided among four servings if I'm reading this right) separating a bagel half from slices of fresh peach, banana, and honeydew. Not necessarily thrilling, but it would have a bit of flavor.

Top right: Cucumber Sandwiches.

As I said, clearly the prettiest. With its bright red radishes and green cucumbers, it may almost make you feel like you get a little extra Christmas-- until you bite into it. Eating it with a knife and fork may help you feel more like you are eating some actual food, but thinly sliced cukes and radishes on barely-buttered bread? I think I'd rather just look at it and save the calories for eating something that has more flavor (and less soggy bread).

The beige-on-beige-fest in the center: Chicken Open-Faces.

Spread bread with a homemade dressing of sorts, consisting mostly of thickened skim milk seasoned with dry mustard and vinegar. Top with watercress, sliced chicken, and "a few slices of paprika-edged water chestnuts." I love craft project recipes, but what does rolling water chestnuts in paprika really accomplish? Not exactly a burst of flavor-- just a slightly wet and grainy crunch to try to balance the probably dry (and just as bland) chicken....

Bottom right: Ham and Salad Rolls.

Not ham salad, but ham and salad, meaning ham slices wrapped around shredded lettuce, cucumber, and dill pickle. (I love the way the book italicizes "1 pickle," as if the diet will be totally blown by eating an extra pickle spear.) The hot dog bun gives this the distinction of being the only non-open-faced sandwich, although it seems to follow the exciting diet theme of "crunchy and damp."

Finally, that random-ish pile of stuff in the bottom right: Cottage Cheese-wiches.

Prepare for the glamour of cottage cheese mashed up with celery, carrot, radish, and caraway! And the recipe makes enough for six of these babies! Crunch, moisture, and the growing conviction that dirt has somehow been mixed into the topping (courtesy of radish and caraway) rightfully relegate this to bottom-corner status.

I think I'd just prefer the more current diet trend of using veggies (peppers, mushrooms, lettuce, etc.) as "buns" or wraps, even if these sandwiches with actual bread may be a bit easier to eat. At least the new fillings tend to be a little more interesting....

Have a happy (and hopefully sandwich-filled) weekend!

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