Friday, October 12, 2007

Cucumber Sandwich

Rooting around in the fridge for something easy for dinner while My Beloved was on a business trip, I found a nice, fat cucumber and a loaf of sourdough bread. Promising ingredients, but cucumber sandwiches demand really, really thin bread to showcase the cuke, not the bread.

So, I whipped out my all-time favorite kitchen gadget, the Slice-a-Slice my mother bought in the '50s, which separates a normal piece of bread into two.

I love this thing! You insert bread into it, squeeze it gently together, and slowly saw the bread in half with a good, thin bread knife.
A little mayo, a little cucumber and nice firm white bread - even if you leave the crusts on, it's a refined and subtle treat.

Among my earliest memories is Mom making piles of skinny cucumber sandwiches to take to our Sunday picnics at Makaha Beach on Oahu, back before Statehood when we were the only family on the beach. She had a big wicker basket into which she would pack - ever so neatly, arranging and re-arranging until it all fit perfectly - our sandwiches and thermoses of water and iced tea. Dad would fill the trunk of our two-tone gray Oldsmobile sedan with umbrella, towels, wicker beach chairs, straw beach mats and diaper bag.

We'd stop at a pineapple stand on the way to the beach to buy paper plates of unbelievably sweet sliced pineapple for dessert, still warm from the field and wrapped in waxed paper to keep the juices in. These stands were nothing but a covered booth into which the fruit was tossed through the open back, peeled, cored and sliced in a jiffy with an enormous and lethally sharp machete, and offered with a wide smile and an assurance that it was "Mo' bettah" than anything else on earth.

On the way home after a day at the beach, hot, sandy (we never did get all the sand out of that car), salty and tired, we'd always stop at Tastee Freez for a soft ice cream cone, a special treat to keep us kids from squabbling in the back seat. We each got a cone whose size corresponded with our own; my Dad got the Bus Driver Special (three scoops), Mom and big brother enjoyed the Truck Driver Special (two scoops) and us little kids each licked a Car Driver Special.

I don't know if the Slice-a-Slice is made any longer but I'll bet you could find one on eBay. Very cool - almost as cool as the cucumber sandwiches and the sweet Hawaiian memories.


Blogger Dagny said...

The Slice-a-Slice definitely sounds cool. I might have to go out and look for one. It would save me the trip to the store to buy that extra thinly sliced bread for those certain occasions. No cucumbers on my sandwiches. Just duck liver pate with mandarin oranges.

Thursday, October 11, 2007  
Anonymous muffintop said...

Slice-a-Slice! What a fabulous old tool. I am thrilled that you still have your mom's.

Friday, October 12, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Dagny, I can't find the really thin bread any more - where do you find it? And I like your sandwich recipe - duck liver pate' and mandarin oranges - wow!

Muffintop, my siblings haven't forgiven me for copping it from Mom's kitchen before they did.

Friday, October 12, 2007  
Blogger Dagny said...

The only place that I know of that carries thinly sliced bread is Andronico's. At least that's where I went when I had to make sandwiches for my cousin's baby shower.

Saturday, October 13, 2007  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Dagny, thanks! I'll look for it next time I go.

Saturday, October 13, 2007  
Blogger aloha said...

I too have (and use) an old Slice-A-Slice. Mine was my dad's. I don't think my mom ever used it, but she kept it. He liked to make thinly sliced sandwiches whenever he was dieting and eventually just all the time. Interestingly, I also grew up in Hawaii (now live in Illinois) so mine was no doubt purchased in Honolulu. I was at a talk on old kitchen tools yesterday and we were to bring one. The speaker had never seen a Slice-a-Slice, but looked up the patent dates on it---manufactured between 1939 and 1956. I think mine dates from the 40's as my dad died in 1954 and had had it for some time. I usually toast the bread as my dad did. I've never made cucumber sandwiches and will have to try that this summer!

Thursday, May 22, 2008  
Anonymous Drew said...

I stumbled onto your page when I googled "slice a slice" after I found one in a box in my garage. I was going through my grandmother's old kitchen stuff and came across what I assumed was some sort of a cheese grater, but now I'm thrilled to be the proud owner of a slice-a-slice.
When its been cleaned the first thing I'll do is make some cucumber sandwiches. Thank you for clearing up the mystery, and for sharing your memories.

Saturday, October 25, 2008  
Anonymous Sandy said...

You can find one of these at

Saturday, October 01, 2011  
Blogger Jane said...

Hi Zoomie!
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blog posts about Makaha to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, drop me a line at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)

Friday, July 20, 2012  

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