This morning my friend hosted a tea party to celebrate our friend Hannah’s birthday. One of the reasons I love Hannah is because she would like nothing more than to spend her birthday morning with two friends and their toddlers. She’s also an inspiration because she makes stuff: bags, baby blankets, she even made me a nursing apron.
I was inspired to make cucumber sandwiches for the first time. I’m not sure what the purpose of the cucumber sandwich is, but I think it is supposed to be decadent. Now that I’ve made them I know why this might be true. It’s a ridiculous amount of effort for a simple tea snack. But there is definitely something satisfying about the salty crunch of cucumber against the soft chewiness of bread. For guidance on an authentic recipe, I relied on this one from The PauperedChef, and this article from The Guardian. I used wheat bread because it’s the softest bread they have at the Co-op, and I did not use a mandolin to slice the cucumbers: I used a knife. It took more time but it wasn’t hard.
Does decadence always equate to waste? I flinched a little as I cut off the crusts, but then didn’t feel so bad because they made a good snack to munch on while I prepared the other sandwiches. Even transporting these little gems was decadent: I hate to use cling wrap, but then I realized that loading the sandwiches into a storage container would defeat the whole purpose. So I carefully arranged them on a plate and covered the whole thing in plastic. Did I just call cling wrap decadent? Yes I did. I’ve been thinking more and more about the decadence of the things we use: the resources that go into a plastic spoon that we use once and then throw away, for example. Sometimes saving resources is really hard – we’re so busy and we can’t feel guilty about every piece of waste we produce. But there are times when we’re wasteful only because we’re used to doing something a certain way so we use more resources than we need to. For instance if we put reusable plates in the picnic basket instead of paper. It takes the same effort but we forget that we have options.
The cucumber sandwiches were a success. It helps that no one I know (including myself) ever eats cucumber sandwiches. So we had nothing to compare them to.