Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cucumber sandwiches

Eastside Road, January 4, 2011—
Why cucumber sandwiches? Why such reckless extravagance in one so young?
SINCE FIRST MAKING THE PLEASURABLE acquaintance of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest I have loved cucumber sandwiches. This is no great credit to my sophistication; the play's rarely unavailable, and cucumber sandwiches are particularly tasty.
[JACK puts out his hand to take a sandwich. ALGERNON at once interferes.]
Please don't touch the cucumber sandwiches.They are ordered specially for Aunt Augusta.
[Takes one and eats it.]
Some months ago I casually mentioned cucumber sandwiches at a friend's house, a friend with a grasp of details and a memory for one's likes; today she'd asked us over to tea, and there was a plate of cucumber sandwiches.

It may surprise you to read that I have my own way of making cucumber sandwiches: it is this: slice white bread fairly thin; remove the crusts (this is not extravagant: I always eat them furtively by myself, later); butter the bread not too thick; lay on watercress; then place the thin slices of cucumber, peeled of course; add a sprinkle of salt if the butter's not salted. For some reason the sandwiches are better if they've stood for a while: look out for Jack.
Have some bread and butter. The bread and butter is for Gwendolen. Gwendolen is devoted to bread and butter.
And in fact there's nothing wrong with bread and butter.

Today's sandwiches were made differently: no watercress; cream cheese in the place of butter; grainy brown bread. This variation was startling, but tasty; ditto the clementine cake we had afterward, a sort of pound-cake with bits of tangerine in it. I'll fast Thursday, I guess.


curlywurlyfi said...

My mother used to make the latter (brown bread, cream cheese, cucumber, black pepper) for my lunchbox when I was about seven. Loved them. Good for breakfast, too.

curlywurlyfi said...

My mother used to make the latter version (brown bread, cream cheese, black pepper on the cucumber) for my lunchbox when I was about seven. Love them. Good for breakfast, too.