I am a fan of sandwiches: thick bread, spreads, cheese, tomatoes, etc, all of those are the building blocks of a great sandwich and I'm always up for one. Two Amish sandwich recipes from the 1950s caught my eye recently. I wrote yesterday about the tenuous and murky connection between Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch cooking. If you missed that post, here it is.
These sandwich recipes clearly come more from the Amish tradition than the Pennsylvania Dutch one which is what makes this cookbook so fascinating as culinary history...this slim volume does really capture the time period when the two styles of cooking became melded.
I'll get back to the sandwich recipes in a minute. Here is more of the introduction of the book. The cookbook itself is compiled by Ruth Redcay, but there is a charming intro by "K. Kauffman."
"At first the Amish worshiped only in private houses, each member of the congregation taking his turn at holding the meeting. Recently the Amish split again into two groups - The House Amish and the Church Amish. The House Amish still worship at home, but the Church Amish brand holds meeting in plain meeting houses, the "church house." After church, the host and hostess of the House Amish spread a dinner for the congregation. To hitch up the horses and wend their way slowly homeward on empty stomachs would be unthinkable. So they turn to tables laden with heaping platters of pork and sauerkraut, ample tureens of pot pie, large cream egg noodles and huge pieces of tender, plump chicken floating in a rich opulent zesty soup and fluffy islands of mashed potato to soak up each last vestige of juice. With this may be served plump, puffy balls of apple dumplings made from crisp, tart apples, dried slowly with care, over the range or in the sun, holding their sweetness and flavor all through the winter."
There are several interesting items in this introduction excerpt. One is, the term "House Amish" and "Church Amish." Having explored Amish settlements for almost a quarter century, I've never come across those terms. My best guess is that may have been an early way to differentiate from the Beachy Amish and the more traditional Amish. Perhaps one of our readers knows?
The meal described above sounds like traditional Amish food folkways that have been influenced by Pennsylvania Dutch cooking (the sauerkraut, the apples). This type of menu would be less common in Amish communities the farther west you go. So, again, the book, published in 1960, is a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of Amish culinary culture. Back to the sandwiches....
These types of sandwiches were much more common back in the days when you didn't just go to the supermarket. Today, just grab a slice of meat from a package and cheese, slap it onto some bread and you have a sandwich. These, while simple, are a bit more inventive and reflective of traditional Amish culinary history.
CHEESE MAYONNAISE SANDWICHES
2 hard-cooked egg yolks
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 /3 pound cheese
1 /2 teaspoon salt
1 /2 teaspoon pepper
1 /2 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar
Rub the egg yolk and butter together until they make a smooth paste, then add the grated cheese, salt, pepper and mustard, mixing thoroughly. Stir in the vinegar and spread between butter slices of bread, crackers or pieces of oat-cake.
1 1 /4 cups cold roast beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 /2 tablespoon tomato catsup
1 /2 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
To minced cold roast beef, add the salt, catsup, sauce and melted butter. Spread on buttered bread and cover with a second slice.
I was very surprised to see the Amish Dutch cookbook in your column. I have a copy on my cookbook shelf. It was given to me many years ago by my late sister-in-law from PA. I have made many of the recipes and enjoy just reading it from time to time.