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Best thing to happen since… sliced bread

Hey, it’s National Sandwich Day (Nov. 3)! I’ll bet some of you nearly let the occasion slip by unnoticed. (Who makes up these days anyway)? The Chicks take this opportunity to wax nostalgic about school lunches, sharing with friends, and lunchbox treats. So, PB&J — yay or nay?

Vickie Fee

vickieAs a kid, my favorite sandwich to find in my lunchbox was peanut butter and jelly. That was if my mom made it. If I packed my own lunch, it became peanut butter with sliced sweet pickles – sweet like jelly, except with a crunch. I don’t remember ever trading lunches with a classmate, but if I had two cookies and my lunch partner had none I would share. What can I say? I was a sweet kid. My main character, party planner Liv McKay, bravely tracks down killers to prove her friends innocent of murder, while usually getting herself into trouble along the way. What sandwich would best represent her? A hero, of course — with a pickle on the side!


Marla Cooper

CotC Marla Cooper

My favorite grade-school sandwich was the classic PB&J on white bread. No crusts cut off for me; my mom was all, “It’s rough in the real world! You’re going to have to learn to cut your own crusts off!” (That isn’t true. She never said that. But she didn’t cut my crusts off, either, so she might have been thinking it.) Later, I graduated to baloney and mustard — also on white bread. Which, I mean, really? That’s not even food! For dessert, I got one of those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies — Every. Single. Time. (Also not food.) Although there are many times I can’t pick a favorite, I’m proud to say I do have a favorite sandwich! The deli down the hill from our house makes a sandwich with turkey, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, sprouts and avocado with a balsamic vinegar drizzle. It’s heaven! Even without the Little Debbie snack cake chaser.


Cynthia Kuhn

cynthiaBack then, I ate school lunches served in those trays where every food item had its own little square, and there weren’t many sandwiches involved. On the weekends, though, I’d request Fluffernutter—peanut butter and marshmellow fluff on white bread. (You literally cannot whistle right afterwards. Not that you were planning to end your next Fluffernutter experience with a good whistle, but now you know.) These days, my all-time favorite sandwich is avocado, tomatoes, light cream cheese, and sprouts on wheat bread. I do not remember the last time I had one of those because I never remember to buy sprouts, plus tomatoes (cruelly! for I love them so!) make my throat hurt now. But in an ideal world, I’d have that every day. And, since we’ve veered into an imaginary world, it would also have no calories.


Lisa Q. Mathews 

CotC Word balloons

I always wanted to bring tomato sandwiches to school like Harriet the Spy, but nooooo…my mom insisted on my having the dread school hot lunch every single week from first grade through sixth. That meant I couldn’t sit with all my friends, the “cold-lunchers,” who sat on the other side of the cafeteria with their cool Mary Poppins and Mrs. Beasley and red-plaid lunch boxes. Sometimes I dumped my gross brick meat loaf or American chop suey or mock (and I do mean MOCK) pizza–don’t even get me started on Fish Stick Fridays–in the trash so I could sneak over to the cold lunch side. My friends always shared their Fritos and Ring Dings and even their PB&Js. Now my favorite sandwich is a BLT (yay, tomatoes, Cynthia and Harriet!!) on white toast with super-crispy bacon and extra mayo.  And if I never see another disgusting blob of butterscotch pudding again in my entire life, that is freaking fine with me.


 Ellen Byron

11

I’m the rare American who’s never been a fan of PB&J sandwiches. I’ve always felt like that makes me some kind of U.S.A. freak, but there you have it. I like peanut butter. I like jelly. I like bread. Just not all three together. I do have a vivid memory of one particular sandwich from my childhood. It was the summer of second grade. I was in day camp, and my mother would pack me the most elaborate lunches. On this particular day, she made me a baloney sandwich on a roll with lettuce, tomato, and so much mayo it left  grease stains on the brown paper bag. It must have been a rainy day because I see myself sitting in a school gym with my delicious, over-the-top sandwich. I also remember a chocolate-covered marshmallow rabbit in that lunch bag. In retrospect, that bunny must have been an Easter leftover. That didn’t make it any less delicious.


Readers, drop us a note in the comments below!

What’s your fave ingredients to slip between two slices of white or wheat? And is your favorite sammy the same now as when you were a kid?

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30 thoughts on “Best thing to happen since… sliced bread

  1. I have little memory of lunches in school. Most were school-bought and I don’t think they were great. When I got to high school, orchestra practice was over lunch, so often I bought “snacks” or brought a simple turkey sandwich to bolt while I was tuning up.

    These days, I love a good turkey on thick bread, swiss or muenster cheese, a little spicy brown mustard, lettuce, maybe sprouts and a fat dill pickle spear on the side.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. What a fun post! My grade school fave was baloney and mayo on white. we were a strictly white bread family; I didn’t know other bread existed, except Grandma’s Irish soda bread on St. Paddy’s Day. Have to say I could never warm up to Fluffernutter, but PB&J has always been on my top 5 list of comfort food. Enjoy! –Kate, writing as c.t. collier

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m with you; I didn’t know any other bread existed besides Wonder bread. I remember squishing it up in little doughy balls and eating it. This was right around the time I found it fascinating to spread Elmer’s glue on my palm, let it dry, then peel it off. I guess I was having a texture moment… Okay, why am I sharing this?!? LOL

      Liked by 3 people

    • Kate, I didn’t know about Fluffernutter as a kid. Apparently it’s not a Southern thing. But I ate plenty of pimento cheese sandwiches, which IS a Southern thang!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My favorite sandwich growing up was peanut butter with grape jelly. My mom always put that in my lunch. I had to have Fritos with PB&J. For a change, I had bologna and American cheese with mayo. My favorite sandwich now is simple—cracked pepper turkey with cheddar cheese on wheat bread.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. They didn’t have wheat bread when I was a kid, only white. Whole wheat became popular in the late 60’s/early 70’s, as I recall. So I had peanut butter and jam. Hated jelly; still do. In college, it became peanut butter and jam grilled in butter. That’s when I still had a metabolism.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha!! For some reason I read that as peanut butter and HAM! That would be an interesting twist. I did have a hamburger topped with PB&J in Venice Beach once. It was delicious!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Keenan, I’m with you on the jam bandwagon! With my mom it was a mixed bag between jam and jelly — whatever was on sale. But I’ve always preferred jam, and it’s what I buy for myself!

        Liked by 1 person

      • What officially is the difference between jam and jelly? Jam is less jello-like in consistency, is all I know. (As I type this, I’m seeing the word “pectin” on a label in my memories, but I don’t know what that is or what it does or which one might have it.)

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  5. As a kid, I loved sandwiches made of olive loaf “cold meat” and white bread! I still love the olives, but don’t touch that suspicious-looking cold meat. I discovered pumpernickel bread as an adult and love it with Muenster cheese and maybe a touch of white wine mustard. Now I’m getting hungry…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lunch in my family has often consisted of left overs. I don’t remember what I had for lunch in early elementary school, but left overs were a staple of lunch from 4th grade (when my mom started home schooling me) on. Not that I’m complaining. I love them! And Mom now ruins some left overs by using her microwave to reheat stuff. Yes, some stuff is actually better cold the next day.

    These days, I do eat sandwiches every day for lunch. A slice of cheese and a slice of deli meat, usually roast beef, ham, or turkey. Not that I don’t like peanut butter and jelly. I’m not sure why I don’t use that in my lunches. Probably because if you are doing it right, those sandwiches are messy.

    And my bread is whole wheat. We never bought white bread growing up, and I never missed it. In fact, I always found it bland, even when I did have it as a kid. Give me the real deal any day of the week.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. My mom went back to school to get her master’s degree when my little sister started kindergarten, so she’d make school lunches for all four of us kids on Sunday night, put the “sandwich meat” sandwiches, handful of potato chips, and four small cookies into individual wax bags (remember those?), and put them all in the freezer. Then each morning she’d throw one of each into a brown paper bag, along with an apple or orange. We got a nickel for milk (I’d save my nickels and buy an ice cream bar for a dime every other day; don’t tell my mom).

    But when I worked as an attorney, I’d bring a PBJ to work every day and eat it in the law library whilst perusing legal tomes for my briefs and appeals. Way mo’ bettah!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow! Your mom was efficient! And I’m glad to see you learned how to milk the system early on. Hee hee hee, “milk.” My work is done here. I’m going to go take a nap. 🤣

      Liked by 3 people

    • Leslie, that’s brilliant — turning milk into ice cream! We didn’t have that option, but my mom would put Hershey’s cocoa and a pinch of sugar in a pill bottle. I’d pour it in my little carton, shake, and voila — chocolate milk!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Wow. Ingenious. They sold chocolate and “vanilla” milk for 6 cents at our high school. Kids took all that subsidized nutrition, even the chocolate version, and threw the bottles at each other (there was a seam in the middle of each plastic bottle, which exploded on impact). Nice, huh?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I can practically taste the baloney and mustard on squishy white bread I adored when I was a kid. With a Devil Dog chaser – almost every day. There wasn’t a bit of nutrition in that whole lunch.
    I’m with you, Ellen – pb and j? No thanks.
    My favorite – mufaletta from Central Grocery in NOLA. That’s a sandwich 😉

    Liked by 3 people

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