Googling “cucumber sandwiches“, this is what I found:

The traditional cucumber sandwich is composed of paper-thin slices of cucumber placed between two thin slices of crustless, lightly buttered white bread. As the thinness of the bread is a point of pride in the kitchen, a dense-textured white Pullman loaf is cut with a wide-bladed knife, which guides the cut; daylight should pass through the resulting fine pores. The cucumbers, if sliced thin enough, should permit a newspaper column-heading to be read through one. The peel of the cucumber is either removed or scored lengthwise with a fork before the cucumber is sliced, and the slices are dried gently with a paper towel before use. The slices of bread are carefully buttered all the way to the edges in the thinnest coating, which is only to protect the bread from becoming damp with cucumber juice, and the slices of cucumber, which have been dashed with salt and lemon juice, are placed in the sandwich just before serving in order to prevent the sandwich from becoming damp enough to moisten the eater’s fingers. The crusts of the bread are cut away cleanly and the sandwich sliced diagonally twice, creating four small triangular tea sandwiches.

The traditional cucumber sandwich is of British origin. Modern variants (largely of American origin) exist, involving cream cheese, chopped dill or spices, brown bread, salmon, and even bread with crusts left intact. One specific American variant includes benedictine, a green soft spread based on cucumbers and cream cheese. British cucumber sandwich enthusiasts conventionally frown on these variants and many would not consider the modern variants to be variants at all, but simply a different sandwich. – Wikipedia

Isn’t this brilliant? Wikipedia notes that the article doesn’t contain any references or sources, and is thus in danger of being removed. But this reads like high-level scholarship to me. 

I failed the newspaper column-heading test, alas, even though I used my mandoline. My cucumber sandwiches erred toward the American variety (cream cheese, dill) but I remained strictly English in the composition of my Pimm’s Cup (ginger ale, slices of cucumber and orange, mint.) The menu was rounded out with cream and berry-topped meringues, mince pies and fresh peach jam on toast. A summer Christmas menu for crafternoon, inspired by Persephone Books, who were serving cucumber sandwiches, cake and meringues at an event on December 4. Alerted to Persephone’s existence by Jane, I pore over their catalogues and dream of a shelf lined with dove grey spines.


wow wow wow!

Posted by Emily Westmore on 10 December 2008 @ 9pm

ohh yummm – but your tea set looks yummier!

Posted by worldpeace and a speedboat on 11 December 2008 @ 11pm

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