Thursday, August 30, 2007

Pigs are missing out

I am reading a book right now that is set in North Carolina. I swear, I'm even dreaming in a Southern drawl. The author, true to her Southern roots, evokes atmosphere and sets the mood in all sorts of creative ways – describing the humidity in the air, mentioning the smell of magnolia blossoms, and of course by talking about food. All kinds of mouthwatering down-home delicious foods get listed on just about every page. Did I mention this was a murder mystery? So in between clues, red herrings and the occasional chalk outline, there's all sorts of Southern deliciousness sprinkled throughout, like Nilla wafers in a banana pudding.

This book makes me hungry.

Like, ALL the time. And not just for any old food. But for real buttery, drippy, crispy, thoroughly bad-for-your-veins, good-for-your-soul food. Homesick food. Comfort food.

But then I got distracted. One scene is set at an outdoors reception type event and one of the characters brought her famed cucumber sandwiches to the party. Now, I’m a fan of the cucumber sandwich. But I was not a fan as a child, and frankly, I don’t know anyone who was. I only discovered the joys of cucumber sandwiches in college, while working on a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest”. (In case you never saw it or read it, there is a scene in which cucumber sandwiches are the main sustenance for Algernon. It’s funny. You should see/read it.)

I rediscovered cucumber sandwiches when I lived in England, and I don’t really associate them with the American South. The English version of cucumber sandwiches was very simple: good bread, crisp and thinly sliced cucumbers, butter, salt and pepper. They are VERY tasty sandwiches.

But the book I’m reading now referred to cucumber sandwiches and mayonnaise in the same breath and I got curious. (I was reading on the train on the way home from work.) By the time I’d gotten home, I’d decided my dinner this evening would not be leftovers or homemade pizza or anything like that. No. Tonight I would experiment with cucumber sandwiches. For the good of all interested cucumber eaters everywhere, I would selflessly experiment with cucumber sandwiches to determine, once and for all (or at least for tonight): Which were the best?

I made them all the same, varying only the spread. I tried three varieties: with butter, with sour cream, and with Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise. (I'd have tried with cream cheese too but didn't have any.)

And the winner is…


I was surprised. But there you are. Cucumber sandwiches with mayo are mighty tasty. I recommend them highly.

My father does not like cucumbers. If you offer him any, or perhaps, try to sneak a few onto his plate to see if he'll notice, he’ll growl and say, “Even pigs won’t eat cucumbers!” Then he might tell you story about how smart pigs are. (He and George Clooney would BOND, y’all.)

I just say, the pigs are missing out.


Pumpkin said...

I LOVE cucumber sandwiches, just with margarine and a little salt. I've also sat and ate an entire cucumber that's been sliced on a plate with some salt over it. There's also cucumber slices in a Spanish Aioli (garlic)dip
Then there's cucumber with chopped tomatoes, spring onion and little cubes of cheese.........

Damn, now I'm really craving cucumber (which is also fantastic with cubes of cheese and apple)....okay need to go get me some cucumber!!!

ps, out of interest, have you ever tried extra crispy lettuce with a little salt and some vinegar sprinkled over really is fantastic!

Have a great weekend!

Big Kitty Fun said...

To quote my favorite Neef, Oh yea-uh! Mayo & cuke sandwiches are EXCELLENT. But, they are, and should be, finger food as far as I am concerned. One of the many dishes served at a ladies tea.



LaLa said...

Excellent usage of the word 'neef'.

Jeana said...

You know I always pictured mayo when I imagined cucumber sandwiches. Which of course means Hellman's.