Friday, September 16, 2011

Tea Sandwiches, a 1920s Throwback

We spent a recent weekend traveling back in time to the 1920s to hear Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra. Decked out in traditional (and inspired) garb, we took over Governors Island for a Jazz Age Lawn Party, complete with live music, dancing and delicious St. Germain cocktails. There are some gorgeous pictures here.

Having been to events at Governors Island before, we knew the lines for food would be outrageous. Too few food vendors trying to service too many people. That meant a picnic. And a 1920s picnic meant tiny tea sandwiches.

And, since you can't just make one kind of tea sandwich, I made eight. Here, I'll share some of our favorites with you, along with some choice images from our day. The sandwiches are all made from recipes by Shelia Lukins and Julee Rosso, number 15 on Gourmet Magazine's list of 50 women game changers in food history.

Of the selection, Gourmet wrote: "It's hard to overstate the influence of The Silver Palate--the 1982 cookbook named about the gourmet emporium this pair opened in 1977 on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Before, there was no ratatouille; after, there was chicken Marbella."

These are mint-cucumber sandwiches on circles of buttered white bread. They were incredibly small but quite refreshing on the hot day. Each sandwich was a single bite.

Our favorite was this ricotta and fig sandwich, complete with homemade ricotta cheese and a tasty fig jam. The ricotta had a bit of a lemon taste that paired beautifully with the fig jam. Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate these being tasty, so I only made enough for one each...oops!

These sandwiches began with a basil butter (just butter mixed with chopped basil). They were then topped with tomato slices and another piece of bread, with more butter, of course.

These sandwiches were made with a simple parsley butter (just chopped parsley and butter). Easy and tasty.

Another easy sandwich included a thick layer of basil pesto and a layer of butter (you may be noticing a trend). 

All in all, these sandwiches led to a delightful little lunch. 

When we weren't eating, we passed time watching dancers and admiring the outfits of our counterparts. 

This couple was one of our favorites. I certainly want to be out on the dance floor when I'm their age. 

We also enjoyed watching New York Time's fashion photographer Bill Cunningham in action. 

Be sure to visit the other bloggers who made dishes this week:


  1. What a fun excursion! I wish I could have been there, and your sandwiches look like the perfect people watching food.

  2. What a creative idea, Katie! I love the way you've presented "50 women" this week. Perfect little sandwiches for a 20's lawn party! Wish I could have been there, it looks like fun.

  3. How fun...leave it to you to come up with something so perfectly wonderful and such fun!! Eight, and again, such fun!! Looks great, all of it...but I'm going for those fig and ricotta ones very soon.

  4. that looks like such fun! definitely a lovely way to spend a day =)
    (for the tuna, I used an oil-packed light tuna...racking my brain trying to remember which brand. The tin was gold and green and written in Italian...but it was a "regular" brand like Bumble Bee or Chicken of the Sea...)

  5. The event looks like a blast, and these little sandwiches are a delicious blast from the past as well!!

  6. Looks like a fun day! That ricotta fig sandwich sounds like it would be my favorite too!

  7. Katie, Love this post...What a nice way to spend a day! Your tea sandwiches look lovely! Perfect food for a picnic!

  8. What a fun outing and such cute food to go along with it! The ricotta and fig would have been my favorite as well!