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Fear Factor or Fine Food?

The Good Cook: Snacks & Sandwiches
Time-Life Books
1980

Submitter: I just weeded this from our collection.  The photo on the cover is awful!  The content isn’t half bad, but that cover just stops me dead.  I was afraid to open the book!

Holly: Ick!  You figure they probably put the most appetizing thing on the cover to make you buy the book.  If that’s the case, then I have NO desire to read this one!  I’m a pretty adventurous eater – not picky at all – but I would think twice before serving this to…well, anyone.

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  • Oh, you torturers! To publish this cover and not tell us what that, um, delicacy is. Can you please share what the book describes for that cover cuisine??

  • That belongs in the Gallery of Regrettable Food.

  • I’d serve it at a geologists’ party. They might not eat it, but they would surely appreciate the layering.

  • I’ve had sandwich cake before. Never again.

  • Ewww! Paging Lileks! Paging James Lileks!

  • That is truly unappetizing… and for more of its brethren, check out The Gallery of Regrettable Food at http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/. All horrific mid-century photography of food, which should never have happened.

    That said… and, given that photo, this pains me somewhat… I have to confess: that series of books? Is fantastic. I have several of the series, purchased second (or third, or eighth) hand, and I’ve learned *so* much from them. They give you the recipes, but also a bit of the “why” behind how it works- the chemistry and science of food, which really does help you understand how to approach recipes creatively. Ignore the Terrine of Terror photo on the cover!!!

  • *urp* What exactly IS that on the cover? (I’m semi-afraid of the answer already…)

  • As admittedly the worst cook in the world, I am also dying to know what is in that God-forsaken recipe on the cover. Sandwich? Cake? Train wreck?

  • yes, eager to know what the brick is made of. we cant identify all the layers.

    BTW…you should see some of the government document cookbooks. There was a series in the 1960s (~1965) all about fish and seafood. hilarious. all the pictures along the lines of the ones that Lileks has in his books. What I want to know…what was the big deal in the late 1960s with fish that the govt would print like 7 cookbooks.

  • The closest I’ve come to the cover is called a sandwich loaf. I showed the image to my mom who says the process is called something else and she believes it begins with the letter T. She’s had one of these before and replied, “They’re not very good.”

    At The Circle Of Orange in Orange, CA there’s a restaurant that used to be a gas station – even has the old fashion pumps as decoration – that serves this exact same thing. If I could remember the name of the place I’d try to look up the menu.

    Oh I found some recipes –

    Sandwich Loaf

    Ingredients

    4 hard-cooked eggs
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons chopped pimento
    Salt and pepper
    1-pound can salmon, drained
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons finely minced scallions
    2 tablespoons finely minced celery
    2 pounds cream cheese
    3/4 cup sour cream
    Small can chopped ripe olives, drained
    1 tablespoon finely minced onion
    2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
    1 1/4-pound loaf white bread, crusts removed and cut horizontally into five layers.

    Directions

    Mash eggs with 2 tbls. mayonnaise and pimento; season. Reserve. Mash salmon with remaining mayonnaise, lemon juice, scallions, celery. Reserve. Blend cream cheese and sour cream. Mix 1/4 cheese mixture with onion and walnuts. Reserve. Mix 1/4 cheese with olives. Reserve. Tin 1/2 cup cheese with yellow food coloring. Reserve. Color balance of cheese with green food coloring. Reserve.

    Assembly: Place bottom layer of bread on serving platter; spread with salmon filling. Add layer of bread spread with cheese-onion-walnut filling. On third layer of bread spread egg filling. On fourth layer, spread cheese-olive filling. Top with final layer of bread.

    To finish: frost top and sides of loaf with green-tinted cheese; make a decorative border of yellow cheese. Garnish with fresh flower or use other garniture – radish roses, carrot curls and stuffed olives.

    Serves: 16

    Preparation time: 1 hour

    Approximate calories per serving: 335

    Party Sandwich Loaf

    Prepare fillings (below). Trim crusts from 1 loaf unsliced sandwich bread. Cut loaf horizontally into 4 equal slices. Spread one side of 3 slices with softened butter. Place 1 bread slice, buttered side up, on serving plate. Spread evenly with Shrimp Salad Filling. Top with second bread slice and spread evenly with Cheese-Pecan Filling. Top with third slice and spread evenly with Chicken-Bacon Filling. Top with remaining bread slice. Frost top and sides with Cream Cheese Frosting (below). Chill until frosting has set, about 30 minutes. Wrap loaf with a damp cloth and continue to chill 2-1/2 hours, or overnight. 12 to 14 servings.

    Shrimp Salad Filling
    • 1 hard-cooked egg, finely chopped
    • 1 can (4-1/2 oz.) broken shrimp, rinsed and drained
    • 2 tbsp. finely chopped celery
    • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
    • 1/8 tsp. salt
    • Dash pepper
    • 3 tbsp. mayonnaise

    Mix all ingredients.

    Cheese-Pecan Filling
    • 1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
    • 1 can (8-3/4 oz.) crushed pineapple, well drained

    Mix all ingredients.

    Chicken-Bacon Filling
    • 8 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled
    • 1 cup finely chopped cooked chicken
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tbsp. finely chopped pimiento
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper

    Mix all ingredients.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup light cream
    • Green food coloring

    Mix cheese and cream thoroughly. Add a few drops food coloring to tint frosting a delicate green.

    (That one is apparently special for Yuletide.)

    It also has an entry in Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandwich_loaf

  • None of the ingredient lists explains the mushrooms or the round green things in the picture. The pictured thing isn’t frosted with tinted cream cheese, which would surely improve it in my eyes. Cream cheese can redeem almost anything—even tinted a delicate green.

  • so many layers of disturbing

  • And served COLD! Of course, all those 60’s Stepford wives had time to stand the mushrooms up “just so.” Good luck with that!

  • Sandwich cakes are hugely popular party food in Scandanavia, where they are called Smörgåstårta. The round green things are cross-sections of asparagus and the orange bits are probably carrot sticks.

    Sandwich cakes can be yummy or vile, depending on how they’re made. The one on this site looks quite yummy.

    http://annesfood.blogspot.com/2007/05/swedish-sandwich-cake-by-lena.html

    That one looks like it dates to the time when people thought that putting canned fruit in gelatin created a festive dessert.

    A good sandwich cake, to my mind, should have shrimp and boiled eggs in it, and probably some ham or turkey.

  • You’ll find quite a few sandwich loaves/cakes on Cake Wrecks (for those with strong stomachs) as well.

  • Those are just a couple of the recipes I’ve found. There’s a slew of different ones.

    I was actually thinking – my mom makes these little tea sandwiches with a homemade cheese spread that I could use to make one of these – without all the veggies or gross stuff like ham. I should try it and see how it turns out. They tend to get dried out after a day or so even refrigerated, but maybe the cream cheese frosting would keep the moisture in.

  • I initially thought that the green things were peas, but TychaBrahe’s suggestion of asparagus cross-sections looks more like what they, uh, look like.

    This looks gross to us because we don’t really eat composed dishes these days, and because some of the things they have on there frankly Do Not Go, but the general concept could be a sound one: make a giant “Dagwood” sandwich with many layers of different tasty things (things that do go together), and serve it cut in cross-section to get around the problem of the sandwich being too big for a human mouth. That said, the only way I would eat the thing in that picture is if I were starving. The second recipe from Jami’s comment, that I would eat–although if I were making it, I’d not use the pecan-pineapple-cheese layer, because sweet pineapple Does Not Go with the other layers…maybe something with avocado would work, or just a nice ham salad.

    And the book is, sad to say, definitely a weeder. No matter how good the series is, nobody is going to check this book out with that horror on the cover. I wouldn’t even want to touch it.

  • YES! There is exactly ONE copy of this book in my library’s system. It was put in, according to the computer, in 2003 and has checked out 15 times, last activity October 1st, 2009. I put it on hold and hopefully they’ll be able to find it then I can tell you the recipe for the Sandwich Loaf From Hell up there.

  • I remember my mother making a sandwich loaf just once, probably about 1965. I don’t remember eating it though–it must have been for a PTA party or something else where kids weren’t invited. I remember her having to make a special trip to a bakery to get a loaf of bread that wasn’t sliced.

  • I have to agree with El September: this series is widely considered excellent in the foodie world, and given the recent interest in the interest of science and the kitchen copies will go for big bucks. I know because my husband has been on the hunt for a few specific ones, and online even well used copies, complete with evidence of that use, go for ridiculous prices. I hope the submitter has put it in the library used book sale rather than thrown it in the trash or even recycling, because despite the horrible cover someone will want this.

  • The meal which begins with T is most probably a terrine, which comes as both a food and as a plate.

    Other forcemeats (delectable name!) include galatine and mousseline.

    As for the cover … mushrooms, pickles …

  • This is frightening! The picture makes it seem like the vegetables are each about a foot long. Look at that perfect mushroom cross-section. I’m terrified.

  • What I find fascinating is how they were able to slice so perfectly through that cake, with perfect half mushrooms. I’d keep the book just for a tutorial on slicing in a pretty manner. Usually my food ends up as a giant mush as soon as I try slicing it.

  • It just looks like bread, mushrooms, cream cheese, and what I thought were olives but may be asparagus as one commenter noted. Those could be carrots or peppers in the middle (can’t tell). But nothing frightening, really.

  • From that era, I would bet gherkins rather than asparagus. I had a kid’s series book, perhaps the 60s version of YA called Donna Parker (?) on her Own, wherein Donna hosted a party for her friends and served something like this, the ult in sophistication for the time, I suppose. Actually, we own this book, and I just don’t have a problem with it, but I don’t think a dated cover is necessarily fatal to a book.

  • If the Donna Parker book is about “teenage parties going out of control”, then it’s the last one, Donna Parker takes a giant step (1964).

  • I have made this or a similar loaf for parties and we liked it! As recently as June 2010, athough the occasion was a slightly ironic tea party where adults and kids dressed in gloves and hats, one gentleman had spats (!) and had calling cards, one of the kids was a “butler”. Anyway the sandwich loaf fit in well with the other dainty sandwiches and tarts, etc.

  • I got it!

    They instruct on how to cook the various items needed in other sections of the book. But the sandwich pictured appears on pages 44/45 under “A Play Of Geometry” which also features a checkerboard sandwich.

    Anyway – the ingredients are whole wheat bread, butter (and lots of it!) mushrooms, pistachios (shelled), boiled aparagus, and julienned boiled ham.

    Basicially it’s butter the bread, put down a layer of mushrooms, more butter on both sides of the next slice, then ham and pistachios, then more buttered bread and aparagus, then finally one last slice of buttered bread. Only the bottom and top parts aren’t buttered on both sides.

    As I am allergic to whole wheat and ham, plus I despise aparagus and pistachios and barely tollerate mushrooms, I won’t be making this any time soon.

    The checkerboard one above with herb blended butter, looks a lot more edible to me – but I abhor pumpernickel.

    What can I say? I may be fat, but I’m a picky eater!

  • Is that really what people were eating the year I was born? hmm.

  • I just had to order this book from ebay, to add to my collection of old cook/craft books. My husband is the cook in our home, and he’s dying to find out what the white substance is.

    I too think it would be a great dish at a geologist party – CROSS SECTION!!!! They could have done better with a the cross bedding though…

  • @Librarianguish – Like I said above, it’s butter, lots and lots of butter. That’s what holds it all together.

  • Don’t hate on the Good Cook series. It’s actually pretty epic and extremely informative.

  • What the f- is that….thing on the cover? Is it supposed to be food? Who in their right mind would eat that?