Sandwiches in the Congo

Many ordinary people doing what they saw as their duty and for women, following their husbands, lived in different parts of the world, parts of what was then ‘the Empire’.

My father-in-law was in West Africa during the war; he was a merchant seaman in command of a river class frigate. Somewhere he acquired a book ‘Cooking in the Congo’ and I have it now and I’m looking at the suggested sandwich fillings from seventy years ago.

Some of the fillings hark back to dear old Blighty, to ‘home’ in temperate Britain:

  • hard-boiled egg, grated cheese and mayonnaise
  • crisp bacon, Gruyère and cream cheese
  • tomato or cucumber
  • sardines (no-one these days would have sardine sandwiches, but this was the 1940’s!)

Some of the fillings are, to our tastes, more interesting:

  • avocado and egg or avocado and mayonnaise, or made into a triple-decker with tomatoes
  • ground peanuts and creamed avocado
  • peanut butter, crispy bacon and mayonnaise (my son would love them!)
  • cream cheese and chopped ginger
  • salad with banana and peanut mayonnaise

It’s advised that bread should be one day old, sliced thin with a sharp knife; fillings should be chopped, minced and ‘moist enough not to crumble… yet dry enough not to dribble’ – such wise advice!!



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