Project 52: Rationing - Week 13 - Sandwich Fillings

Spring was in the air. And I thought the idea of an old-fashioned picnic sounded lovely, but Old Man Winter is having his last laugh with us poor east coasters. I can't even get serious about getting my garden in because it keeps snowing every week! I seriously need to get tilling and planting those early crops!

Well, to spite the weather I'm going to focus on an interesting, picnic-friendly category of rationing recipes this week - Sandwich Fillings. I'll be doing this in two parts - one this week and one next week featuring 4 recipes total just because there are so many interesting sandwich fillings! Maybe I find these recipes so fascinating because my ideas for sandwich fillings aren't very creative - peanut butter & jam, peanut butter & honey (with banana), cheese, lunch meat, egg salad sometimes or tuna. That's about it.

However, my one claim to fame for crazy sandwich fillings is that I grew up eating peanut butter & Miracle Whip sandwiches with crunchy iceberg lettuce. Yum! I know you may be inwardly cringing, but it's good! There are a few of us out there that love this combination. I've personally met one of them. I always wondered where this odd sandwich filling idea came from. My mom said it came from the side of a Miracle Whip jar in the '80s or something. So, I even e-mailed Kraft to ask about it, but they said they didn't keep info like that. (Why not?!) Then, out of the blue, I found an early reference for it! My friend Lori recommended the Toastmaster pamphlet recipes from the '30s/'40s and so I ordered an original copy online. Perusing through the recipes for children's party recipes I found a reference to spreading toast with peanut butter and mayonnaise! Eureka! Finally, I have historical proof that I'm not crazy! Mwahahaha!

The 1940s had all sorts of crazy but interesting fillings to go between slabs of bread. For example there were things like bacon & pickle, ground carrot with raisins & peanuts, soybean & carrot, egg & frankfurter, ground liver with onion & pickle, liver with hard-boiled eggs, and peanut butter with things like bacon, chili sauce, chow chow, olives, beans, yeast, prunes, carrots, and celery! Some of those peanut butter ones are a bit shocking like bacon and yeast.

I discovered all these thrilling filling varieties in my growing collection of Westinghouse Health-For-Victory Meal Planner cookbooks.
Westinghouse "Health-for-Victory Meal Planning Guides"
1944 Year 'Round Edition,  July 1944, June 1944
 These are a lot of fun to read through and they provide a lot of recipes, including a whole section on Sandwich Fillings, which is great!

I picked a couple that stood out to me as odd or that I felt were unique to the time period.

First up - Ground Liver Filling! This recipe comes from my 1944 Year 'Round Edition Health-for-Victory Guide.

Beef Liver, Tabasco sauce, black pepper, salt, pickles & juice, mayonnaise, onion
 You're feeling sorry for me, aren't you? You can believe I was feeling sorry for myself once I got the liver cooking. Ooh, the smell! Not my favorite, let me tell you.

Cooking beef liver... I'm sorry if you're a vegetarian and you're reading this.

1 cup cooked liver

Grind up a cup of liver with a bit of onion and half a pickle spear and 1 Tbsp. pickle juice. 

Combine liver mixture with mayo, Tabasco Sauce, salt and pepper to taste. (Do I have to?!)

Right away my brain said, "Dog food." But by no means should you think that!
This whole time I'm putting on a brave face.

I put off trying the liver filling in favor of making up my next sandwich filling. Who wouldn't?
Next up is the most interesting Peanut Butter & Bacon! I was actually excited to try this one. Remember, I grew up on peanut butter & Miracle Whip, so this combination didn't phase me.

Crispy bacon, peanut butter, mayo.

The recipe for this one is quick - combine peanut butter, crisply cooked bacon, and mayo together.

The mixture looked strangely glossy from the mayo.
Spread on the bread time!
Okay, it's the moment of truth!
I took a few deep breaths before taking a bite of the liver sandwich. Oh man... Let's just say it was far, far, far from my cup of tea. Just to be sure, I had my husband take a bite and he said it was "interesting". I would say it was downright disgusting, but if that's all there was to eat I would muscle it down with a lot of ketchup or some other strong-flavored food... like the peanut butter & bacon sandwich! 

Liver leftovers, people!
Now the peanut butter & bacon sandwich was fairly nice and was the perfect chaser to that liver monstrosity of a sandwich. The peanut butter covered up every other flavor, even the bacon which I couldn't taste at all, but which added a nice crunch. I guess that's one way to get some more protein in. Needless to say, I finished the peanut butter & bacon and ignored the rest of the liver sandwich. 

Whew. I'm glad I got that liver over with! (To be fair, I don't mind liver mixed up with some ground beef in a meatloaf. It's actually quite tasty.) 

Next week I'll be showcasing two more interesting sandwich filling recipes straight from 1940s rationing! Woohoo! Thank you, Westinghouse.

I dare you to try it! Ha!


  1. Replies
    1. I realized later that I could have tried it with chicken livers. They are apparently much more mild. This may mean that I'll be doing another liver sandwich filling. Oh dear...


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