Monday, November 27, 2006

The Lost Art of Church Basement Cuisine

When was the last time you ate a pinwheel sandwich?

With tuna and pickles, with egg salad and canned black olives, with cream cheese and maraschino cherries out of a jar. This weekend Sheena learned the fundamentals of a dying art - Catering a Church Lady Tea.

It all starts with the bread. In Winnipeg, sometimes you can buy pinwheel sandwich bread at the grocery store, but to be safe you can pre-order it. Long loaves of white and whole wheat, cut horizonally into long strips. It was up to us to cut off the crusts. No-o-o-o-o-o-body will eat a pinwheel sandwich with crusts. Cripes, where's your head, man.

Now, the first decision is where to put the bread when the resident companion animal decides to jump up and check out the tuna salad. Don't worry. In the Old Country, cat ass hair in the sandwich is considered good luck. First tip of the day is not to waste too much money on the bubbly for mimosas. Second is to use a rolling pin to flatten down the bread (not totally squished) before spreading the filling. Keeps the bread from getting too soggy and makes it nice and springy for later rolling.

Spear of red pepper, pickle {{shudder}} or slice olives end-to-end at the top of the bread, and then roll. Roll it like you mean it. Nice and tight, placing it seam-side down on the plate when it's done. Get a cousin to wrap it up in Saran Wrap. Put 'em all on a big tray when they're done. If there's no room in the fridge, stick 'em in the porch overnight.

When it's time to take them over to the tea the next day, pile them gently into a big bag and put them in the back seat of the truck, taking care not to squish them or sit on them. Take them downstairs to the ping-pong table and gently unwrap them. While still cold, slice them into about 6 pinwheels per roll. Spread them out nice and pretty on a platter on top of a paper doily. Eat the ugly ones. Pick out any cat ass hair that is visible to the naked eye. If the fridge is full again, just stick the platters outside on the patio swing. Cover it up in case the squirrels are out.

When the guest of honour arrives, yell "Surprise". And enjoy.


At 2:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you finally figured out the secret in the Church Ladies' sauce!

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Leatherhands said...

Have you ever worked out the "how many pinwheel sandwiches= one regular sandwich" equation? I think I ate 35 pinwheel sandwiches the last time they were presented to that considered gluttony?

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous spy said...


At 5:40 PM, Blogger pam said...

true story-
For years I've been on the "Funeral CWL Sandwich Committee", which means I purge my Catholic guilt by making sandwiches for funerals. I usually make the cheez whiz and olive/gherkin pickle ones.
I also make these sandwiches for my girlfriends drunken golf tournaments. So, in a nutshell, if you want my pinwheel sandwiches you have to die or golf with me. It's all the same to me.

At 1:26 AM, Anonymous scout said...

rememberance day at the legion after the ceremony....thats where our community gathers and quaffs down such delights and yes, you have to eat about 35 of them to feel full.

hey how come the pic of barbara bush's snatch is gone....did blogger pic up on the title and outlaw it?

At 3:42 PM, Blogger saran said...

This weekend saw the making of literal Family Spam! Those sandwiches have been my lazy student lunch for the past three days... except that I took a canned-chicken one by mistake this morning. What an unpleasant surprise. No Angus hair to date.

At 8:03 PM, Blogger Sheena said...

Oohh.. good thinking Saran.
Spam pinwheels. So very Honolulu.

And dare I ask "What canned chicken". I seriously don't remember any chicken ones.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger pam said...

Flakes of Chicken, in a little can like tuna.

Canned chicken, mayo & finely diced celery. YUM.

Handy to keep a can in the cupboard for an emergency (funeral or running out of cat food).

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do people only make these sandwiches for funerals? Living people enjoy eating them also! But then you always needs some FUN in FUNeral

At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other delicious dishes:

Wieners in aspic

Jello with bits of celery in it

Unidentifiable Cassarole

Any recipe from the Kraft Kitchens circa 1968 - 1975

At 2:48 AM, Anonymous RealNana said...

I was looking for a photo of pinwheel sandwiches for the cookbook I am making for my 9-year old granddaughter. Pinwheel sandwiches seemed a fairly safe and fun project for this budding cook, who has become enamored of kitchen activities (and who in their right mind wouldn't encourage that, since most of my family was allergic to anything remotely resembling domesticity!) I found "The Lost Art of Church Basement Cuisine," and aside from the picture (which I hope I won't be sued for using for my granddaughter's personal cookbook - no commercial enterprise here) .. I laughed so hard at the piece that I nearly peed my pants. I am definitely adding this blog to "favorites," and will be an avid visitor from now on. Long live SheenaVision!

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Sheena said...

awww.. .thanks very much for the kind words Realnana. Good luck with the cookbook project. I'm kind of an attention whore, so by all means please go ahead and use the picture.


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