Saturday, June 18, 2011

High Tea with Mom

What is this?
When Mom was looking through some old boxes she brought out a very old cookbook. The front and back covers were missing as was the spine. It was impossible to locate the name or publisher of the cookbook as the front pages were also missing. I could only guess that it was very old because if you wanted to make chicken dinner the recipe said to go outside and catch the chicken of your choice. You can only imagine what you would do next to get that chicken dinner moving forward. 
Egg Salad Layer 
While thumbing through the book I came across a black and white picture of something that looked like a cake called “Pirate’s Treasure Sandwich Loaf.” I did not find a recipe in the book for it, however. The picture sparked a memory of Mom making a similar, if not the same loaf. I immediately called her and described the picture. Much to my amazement, Mom immediately knew what I was talking about. I did some research and found many recipes for similar loaves called ribbon sandwiches.
Egg Salad Sandwich Layer 2
Mom said that she would often bring this sandwich loaf to bridal and baby showers.  She became noted for making this sandwich loaf. Did I mention that my Mom was an artist? She could decorate these sandwich cakes that made them look like real cake. People were often amazed to find out that the finger sandwiches from the loaf were not sweet at all, and in fact were savory. 
Add some lettuce 
You’re probably wondering by now exactly what a Pirate’s Treasure Sandwich Loaf is. So did I. Mom said that you get a unsliced loaf of bread from the bakery and have them cut off all of the crust until you have a rectangular crust-less loaf of bread which you cut into thin lengthwise slices. The fillings for the “Pirate’s Treasure Sandwich Loaf” can be almost anything that you can think of. 
Add a layer of tomato
The consistency of the fillings has to be such that it will stay in place when you slice it. The filling can be Egg salad, Tuna salad, Chicken salad, or any other thing that you can think of. Tomato slices are tricky because they tend to slip out when cutting the loaf later. You can cut the slices into quarters and place them on. 
Add top layer and frost
When you create the “Pirate’s Treasure Sandwich Loaf,” you build the layers carefully by taste and the number of layers is really dependent on how old the bread is (day-old works best), the actual density of the bread, and how good you are at cutting the layers. It is very similar to making a torte cake.
Serve Finger Sandwich
So if you’re like me, I just had to try it. Armed with the basic concept, off to the retro kitchen I went to recreate a classic. It really is worth the effort. I would wager a guess that none of your friends or family have ever heard of it, or tasted it. When you are finished and before you cut it into finger sandwich slices or squares, it will look just like a frosted cake. My kids opened the refrigerator and asked, “What kind of cake is this?”
Olive topped loaf

So if you’re in the mood to make this and/or need other filling choices go to the Internet and search Treasure Loaf, High Tea, Ribbon or Finger Sandwiches. Enjoy! 
Decorate it your way
The number of possible fillings are endless. Shrimp salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, ham salad, two different cheese layers, peanut butter and jelly covered in marshmallow fluff.