A Little Sandwich Stir


A tray of carefully made sandwiches is appealing to the eye as well as the palate, and most women enjoy the little stir of admiration which they are bound to create. –Meta Given, The Modern Family Cook Book

Yes, I’m still finding myself entertained by the 1942 Modern Family Cook Book and it’s fascinatingly antiquated, meticulous,and sometimes odd approach to meal time. I hit upon the Sandwiches section and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw recipes and detailed instructions for such simple offerings as bologna or pb&j sandwiches. Really? Yes, we understand that the book was written to the new homemaker in a time when young women no longer grew up, married, and lived next door to their families, but really? Instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

I had to stop and examine this section thoroughly. It begins with a dive into the history of the sandwich (Earl of Sandwich recap, of course) then a rundown of the types of sandwiches. Lunch box sandwiches. The hot sandwich. Grilled or toasted sandwiches. Open-faced sandwiches. Club sandwiches. Canapes. Fancy sandwiches. And the sandwich loaf. Use a main dish filling. A sweet filling. Or a relish filling. The tutorial continues with the proper way to slice bread, wrap a sandwich, and cut it for serving–halves or quarters so as to be handled conveniently. Although, “if everyone is hungry and the sandwiches are good, no one will worry about the arrangement.” Just be sure to serve them on a flat tray, large platter, or chop plate.

Beyond that, what was really most interesting were the sandwich recipes. Since most of the recipes are so simple as to be ridiculous, I assume the recipes are written to provide ideas for the harried new homemaker who doesn’t have time to think. (And how could she have time if she was following the meal plans and making such things as beef heart and strawberry chiffon pie on a daily basis?)

Sandwich recipes include: Bacon. Bacon and pickle. (Ewww!) Bacon and tomato. Chipped beef. Ham salad. Club. Ham and tuna fish. Ham and banana. (Seriously?) Liver sausage. (Uh… I don’t think ANY arrangement would be artful enough to get me to eat that.) Baked bean. Carrot-raisin. Broiled sardine. (Ditto my comment on liver sausage.) Olive and egg. Jelly. Peanut butter and jelly. Peanut butter and watercress. (!) Frankfurter.

The frankfurter sandwich grossed me out more than anything in the section, including even the liver sausage and broiled sardine recipes.

How to make Frankfurter Sandwiches:

5 frankfurters
mustard, sweet pickle relish, or catsup, if desired
5 leaves lettuce
10 slices buttered bread

Split frankfurters lengthwise and pan-fry in a little butter or other fat. Place 2 halves on each of 5 slices of bread, and spread with mustard, relish, or catsup, if desired. Cover with a lettuce leaf and another slice of buttered bread. Makes 5 full sandwiches.

For your perfect family of five.

I could only IMAGINE serving up this culinary atrocity to my three children. “Kids! I have hot dog sandwiches for supper tonight!” I could see them running from the table. I was definitely not envisioning a stir of admiration.

I was talking to my friend, Jerry, and had to tell him about the hot dog sandwich. “How disgusting is that?” I asked.

“Hold on,” he said, “I ate hot dog sandwiches all the time when I was growing up, and sometimes I fix myself a hot dog sandwich today.”

I was boggled. Who was this Jerry and what had he done with the real one? “Why would anyone eat a hot dog sandwich? Why not get a bun?”

“What if you don’t have a bun?”

“Then you don’t have a hot dog!”

I told another friend about the sandwich. Had HE ever had such a thing? Yes, he had. He’d eaten lots of hot dog sandwiches.

“Why would anyone eat a hot dog sandwich?” I asked.

He said, “Sometimes you’re poor. Sometimes you don’t have a bun.”

The tectonic plates of my hot dog sandwich world rocked.

I called my cousin. “Have you ever had a hot dog sandwich?”


“When you were a kid, or recently?”


I pondered the notion that people I actually knew ate hot dog sandwiches. Voluntarily. Was it just me, was it because I was from the suburbs? We always have buns in the suburbs. Did I need to think outside the hot dog bun? Was I spoiled to my bun-ability? Was it really as disgusting as I thought it to be or was I simply a hot dog sandwich snob?

I had to find out.

I bought jumbo hot franks. Regular hot dogs just seemed too small for one split hot dog to make a full sandwich.
I split a dog and fried the pieces on both sides in butter.
Buttered the bread and laid on the fried dog.
Mustard, ketchup, relish. Lettuce.
Hot dog sandwich.
I had to complete the experiment by eating the sandwich, of course. And….

It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t disgusting. It reminded me of a fried bologna sandwich. And I like fried bologna sandwiches. I’m not sure if Morgan would eat a hot dog sandwich, but she might. She does like hot dogs. (Weston is a vegetarian, so no.) I’m positive Ross would eat this sandwich.
Would you? Have you?

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  1. brookdale says:

    YES, I have eaten a hot dog sandwich many, many times. Growing up in the country we hardly ever had hotdog buns, they were a treat for special occasions like July 4th.
    In fact you don’t have to cut the hotdog, just cook it, add condiments and fold a piece of bread around it. DH likes them this way even today.
    Speaking of buns, why are there always 8 in a pkg to go with a pkg of 6 or 12 hotdogs? A mystery of life!

  2. Granma2girls says:

    I sure ate my share of hot dog sandwiches as a kid. My parents were too poor to buy special buns . My mother baked her own bread out of necessity. She’s not much of a cook. Sometimes the hot dog sandwich was made with cold wieners . Really it was no different than eating bologna sandwiches. I don’t think I had my first hot dog in a hot dog bun till I was 11 and we had hot dog day at school.

  3. rurification says:

    I ate them when I was a kid. We were poor and buns were a specialty food. [We were a wonder bread family.] Same as fried bologna…and mostly we had bologna because my dad liked it.

  4. Sheila Z says:

    Everyone I knew as a kid thought hot dog buns were for people with money. Just wrap a slice of bread around a hot dog, add condiments and dig in. Really, what is the difference, bread is bread, no matter how it is shaped. I rarely buy either hot dog or hamburger buns even today.

  5. gaea303 says:

    Yes we eat them now…due to the unmatched portions in hotdog packages versus hotdog bun packages, no matter how many you buy it never works out evenly….. So, sometimes bread it is! It’s not quite the same but it is pretty good. It’s still a hotdog!

  6. BuckeyeGirl says:

    I’ve had them too! I like them split and fried as well because of the browning ability they have when they’re laid in the pan! More crisping area! Ditto on the bun thing too, they’re never around when you want them.

  7. The High Altitude Tea Duchess says:

    We also had hot dog sandwiches growing up. Jelly and cheese too!-but not with the hot dog. :duck:

  8. Kristi C says:

    I was ok with the whole thing until the lettuce hit the sandwich. Um. No.
    My husband eats hotdogs (and hamburgers) on bread, but if we don’t have buns, I’m not eating either.

  9. lattelady says:

    I have had them. Never fried them in any added fat. Already more than enough fat in the hot dog itself.
    They are good. I, as many have already said, have often just wrapped a slice of bread around one hot dog.

  10. mschrief says:

    Actually they aren’t bad. My son’s dad and I were in Germany, he was in the Army,and boy were we poor. My mom would tuck a $20 in a letter and off to the commissary I would go..a loaf of bread and a couple packs of hot dogs, eggs, and whatever we needed to make it to payday (once a month)….

    From what I see, your big mistake was using butter on that bread. Child, you don’t do that. You need either Miracle Whip or Mayo. Not greasy butter no matter how good it is. Or you could use sandwich spread, the kind with the pickles in it. Butter, oh no!

  11. mamajhk says:

    I have eaten my share of hot dog sandwiches and actually prefer them over buns. Split and fried yum yum. I forgo the lettuce and relish and just add some shredded cheese and ketchup and maybe some mustard. Dh prefers sliced bread to buns and he prefers Miracle Whip while I go for the butter.

  12. saitisntso says:

    It’s surprising what you will eat when your hungry and tired. I wouldn’t even bother frying up the dogs and certainly could care less about condiments. I have one shot at cooking if it goes horribly wrong, well, we must eat it anyhow. Simplicity most often is the most satisfying in life. :moo:

  13. emmachisett says:

    I’ve always liked European wieners, split and pan-fried on rye bread with mustard. Also, liver sausage is just a poor man’s pate…its good too with mustard on rye. And, no, lettuce doesn’t belong on either!

  14. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Yep, sure would, with minor modifications. I like mine with just mayo, mustard and maybe a bit of ketchup. Nothing else. Try them with Nathan’s hotdogs.

  15. DebbieInMemphis says:

    In my 45 years, I’ve eaten lots of hot dogs and even hamburgers on sandwich bread. Sometimes, because we couldn’t afford to buy buns, more recently because I’m the mom and the kiddos should get the buns. There are benefits to wrapping a slice of bread around your hot dog instead of having a bun. Buns, often, tear across the bottom and then everything wants to fall out.

  16. Audrey324 says:

    LOL…I seriously laughed at this post…too funny. I can say that I have not personally eaten a hotdog sandwich yet. My husband, on the other hand is always the one to get the bread slices if we don’t have enough buns. I like buns. He says…bread is bread. :shocked:

  17. mcbailey22 says:

    I haven’t had a hot dog in 20 years, but as a kid….absolutely!! On Italian bread, because that is all we ever ate, and NO relish!

  18. yvonnem says:

    Yes, have wrapped a single slice of bread around a fried dog and topped it with chili, slaw & onion or just mustard & onion. Would never dream of using butter on the bread-or topping with lettuce. I do prefer buns though!

  19. epclinton says:

    Isn’t liver sausage the same thing as liverwurst, or braunschweiger as we call it in our family? If so, it is delectable in a sandwich, even my kids have always loved it, even when they were little. As for the hot dogs, we’re like most of you and have no qualms about wrapping some bread around a hot dog and digging in!

  20. ginakenney1 says:

    Loved hot dog sandwiches when I was little but never really thought about them as a hot dog “sandwich”.. Hmmm….. makes sense though! My mom rarely bought hamburger or hotdog buns. We always just used sandwich bread. My mom’s favorite lunch is still a “rolled over hot dog” which is just as the above commenter’s describe.

    The hotdogs you used look particularly delicious with the mustard and beautiful relish. I might have to load it up and just eat it with a fork. Yum! (In the south we eat hotdogs with hot dog slaw, which is just shredded cabbage, mayo and a little mustard. It should be creamy yellow in color. I would pile that hot dog sandwich with slaw, ketchup, mustard and relish and eat it open face for sure! Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Looks great!

  21. missmouse says:

    We had hotdog sandwiches growing up because, as others have said, buns were a luxury a lot of the time. Now days if I don’t have buns I just chop up the hotdogs and fry them with potatoes rather than do the sandwich thing. The ham and banana sandwich kind of grossed me out but then again, I may have to try it some day. The other thing I remember eating when I was little were brown sugar and butter sandwiches (those were when we were really, really poor and out of everything else). We thought they were amazing but mom was just desperate to give us something to eat.

  22. whaledancer says:

    I’ve eat lots of hot dog sandwiches. Whatever bread is handy (although I agree with Emma that they’re better on rye). Never thought of putting lettuce on them, though. Maybe because I grew up in a low income neighborhood, I thought of buns as something for special occasions, like parties.

    I have a 1917 cookbook from the church Women’s Alliance, and there’s a whole chapter on sandwiches. They had a lot of afternoon teas. My great-grandmother was the minister’s wife, so a lot of the recipes are hers. What struck me was that they had a far greater variety of sandwich fillings then than we do today, both savory and sweet. It does include peanut butter, with the comment “Nothing better than peanut butter for a standby.”

  23. Dumbcatluvr says:

    I noticed you bought Cavalier jumbo hot franks. Good girl:)Next time,leave the butter off, and put a slice of cheese on it while it’s hot.No lettuce, either.Mayo, mustard, ketchup.Oh, and you cut it wrong. :no: :hissyfit: :heart:

  24. Cheryl LeMay says:

    Growing up poor, we ate a lot of cheap meats like hot dogs. We always just boiled them and we used slices of bread with whatever condiments you wanted. I have since fried them whole, on a bun, with cheese. I guess I’ve moved up in the world as I don’t eat them anymore. But liver sausage? What’s not to like? My grandmother used to make a raw liver sausage (from her own hogs) that she would slice and fry. Can’t find that nowadays.

  25. holstein woman says:

    I buy Polish dogs, the BIG ones. Cut it in half long ways in 3 strips. Don’t heat, apply mayo, mustard, lettuce, sliced onion, Pepperorcinis, sliced tomatoes, salt and pepper. On the largest slice of bread I can muster.

    Don’t remember ever eating them before I married DH, but what the hay…

  26. Katharina says:

    Yes. We are not poor. My husband prefers hotdogs on whole wheat bread, so uses that instead of white buns. We don’t call them sandwiches, but looks the same minus lettuce.

  27. Cousin Mark says:

    See Cousin I told you people eat hot dog sandwiches !!!!!!
    Now you can try peanut butter spread on a slice of bologna and then roll it up like a jelly roll and eat it.
    Then tuna fish, chopped hot peppers, melted velveta cheese over toast for breakfast some time. You are so sheltered in the food world!!!

    Cousin Mark

  28. jodiezoeller says:

    I remember my mom making fried hotdog sandwiches when I was little. Didn’t like hotdogs so didn’t partake. Now I like Hebrew Nationals…. prefer grilled on a bun with Gulden’s mustard and sweet relish.

  29. bonita says:

    Yes, we ate hot dog sandwiches (minus the exotic lettuce) but only in secret. Here in Chicago the Chicago Hot Dog is the only ‘acceptable’ way to eat a red hot. On a bun with mustard & radioactive green relish. Noooooo butter or ketchup!
    Dad was German so all kinds of sausage were fair game. Liver sausage is a variety of pate…and liver sausage with (real) bacon on rye is quite the treat. Also, on Fri nights my mom would make broiled sardines on English muffins topped with cheese. The key was that the muffins were spread with Miracle Whip. That was from one of those old-timey cook books as well. Give ’em a try.

  30. cinderbama says:

    We ate hot dog sandwiches all the time. I was picky about the dog though, only Oscar Mayer was good enough for my spoiled palate. I can’t stand buns, they were never the right size, soft enough, they tore up, etc. I would never fry a wienie in butter though – too greasy! I don’t ever remember putting lettuce on one either. As for sandwiches in the summer, we ate lots of peanut butter and banana, pineapple, tomato, and cheese with dill pickle (my favorite is Claussen) on white bread with mayo. We also ate lots of Braunschweiger with mayo as well. My dad loved sardine sandwiches and I would eat those with him. The only sandwich I hated was my mother’s left over (cold) meatloaf with ketchup. To this day that turns my stomach!

  31. Della says:

    I didn’t eat a hot dog until I was 12 or 13. We lived in the country and Mom made all our food. Store bought food consisted of flour,salt sugar and the like. We always had the best food BUT I didn’t know it at the time.I thought I was deprived because I didn’t get to eat ready made junk. I am 63 and now know Mom was a hard working and loving Mother.
    Love Liverwurst,liver loaf.

  32. liquidstar says:

    I’ve been a reader for a few years now, but I actually made the effort to register just to comment on this post!

    I love hot dog sandwiches, and definitely grew up eating various versions. There were pretty much always hot dogs in our fridge or freezer when I was a kid and sandwich bread in the bread box, but we didn’t always have buns. If you wanted a hot dog when there wasn’t a bun to be found…well, you just ate it as a sandwich! 😀

  33. Ramona Slocum says:

    Our family grew up eating hot dogs without buns. I don’t think they made them until the Tasty bread people invented them. My mother baked our bread many years. She made hamburger buns but not hot dog buns. The hot dogs were better tasting when cooked over a hot fire outside.

  34. LisaAJB says:

    We didn’t have hot dog “sandwiches” but sometimes when we had bread and not buns we’d fold the bread around the hot dog and eat it the same way. The only difference between the bun and bread is the shape. The flavor didn’t change.

  35. Old Geezer says:

    Yup, add me to the hot dog sandwich clan. These days I prefer Nathan’s hot dogs. Slice ’em lengthwise for grilling. No butter or lettuce for me. Brown or yellow mustard always, chopped onions usually, sweet relish sometimes. Whole wheat bread because ya gotta eat healthy!

    “Liver sausage”? If this is braunschweiger or the like then I’m in. Always with a leafy green topping and sometimes a slice of onion. No mustard. Crusty white bread (although I think rye is traditional) not that mushy American stuff.

    In the Munich train station many years ago I encountered leberkase. Mustard on the side. Oh, yummy, yummy. Have never found anything like it in New England, but I’m betting that Chicago or Wisconsin would have it available.

    Hey, did that book mention lobster roll? I bet not.

  36. Urbanite says:

    I was right there with you when it came to liver sausage or ham and banana. Not my thing! But I don’t understand what is any more gross about a frankfurter on bread than a frankfurter on a bun. If you think hot dogs/franks are gross, then OK – I get that. But I’m baffled about why the shape of the bread would make any difference. In my hotdog eating days during childhood, we mostly used buns. But the number of buns in a package and the number of dogs in a package normally don’t match up, so sometimes we evened up the numbers with sliced bread. Pretty much six of one, half a dozen of another in my opinion. 😀

  37. PaulaA says:

    Well, I think I am ready to try BOTH the lettuce and the butter on my next hot dog sandwich! It is sooo funny to read all the delightful comments to your delightful posts. :woof:

  38. Sarah T says:

    When I was a teenager I made hotdog sandwich’s all the time. Split the dogs almost thru, pop them (2) in the toaster oven. While they cooked I sliced some onions and tomato’s, spread the bread with mustard, mayo and ketchup. I liked to put some cheese on the dogs just before I took them out of the toaster oven. Now I will also use tortillas or any flat bread to make sandwich’s.

  39. Joell says:

    :happyflower: :happyflower: :happyflower:
    I would dare say that many of us have had hotdog sandwiches. Growing up in a family of six siblings and my Dad was a military enlisted man, we had lots of them and liked them, my Mom was a master when it came to ways to serve hotdogs. I still like them today with a nice thin slice of sweet onion.

  40. wtrmllngirl says:

    I’d forgotten all about it, but my dad used to make us fried hot dog sandwiches to take with us to Orioles games. They were just split hot dogs, fried, on slice bread from the store. I don’t think we ever ate them while at home, or ever with any toppings…not even ketchup. I don’t know whether it was economics or just my parents’ preference to not do buns, but since we also ate our tacos on slice bread, it was probably a desire to not buy “specialty” goods. 🙂

  41. joykenn says:

    Lettuce! Butter instead of Miracle Whip! No wonder you never had a hotdog sandwich. Before microwaves and frozen dinners a hotdog or bologna sandwich was a quick lunch for hungry kids. Or Vienna sausages split in half on a sandwich. Spam sandwiches. Potted meal spread on a sandwich. But we never went hungry and canned salmon with skin and lots of bones was 10 cents a can (before overfishing)for salmon patties for dinner. I’d forgotten those gastronomic delights til now.

    In my childhood in south Texas we never saw or tasted things like corned beef or pastrami. AND our hamburgers were served with mayo, mustard, lettuce and tomato and maybe cheese (usually American slices, not real cheddar). Pickles on the side.

  42. WvSky says:

    First, let me say that NO REAL WEST VIRGINIAN EATS RELISH ON A HOT DOG! (Bun or bread or otherwise) The West Virginia hot dog is MUSTARD, CHILI, SLAW AND ONIONS. That’s it!

    Now, as you go WAY North in WV, almost to Pittsburgh, you “might see this horrible relish on a hot dog. This means that you’ve left the REAL West Virginia and now are in Pennsylvania territory.

    If I EVER catch Suzanne eating relish on a hot dog, I will personally remove it, toss it in the garbage, and buy her a West Virginia hot dog, as you can NEVER be a West Virginian if you eat relish!

  43. joykenn says:

    My husband says in Chicago hotdogs are ALWAYS Vienna Beef hotdogs on a poppyseed bun and come with yellow mustard, chopped white onion, unnaturally bright-green sweet pickle relish (like on Suzanne hotdog sandwich), a dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, celery salt and sport peppers. It is absolutely forbidden and never offered to have ketchup on a hotdog. Some swear by a steamed dog and others claimed it must be grilled.

    How you can unhitch your jaw to get around such a mammoth hotdog is beyond me. I’ve never seen people so passionate about their hotdogs as in Chicago. One new hotdog stand Doug’s Dogs serves the traditional dog and many exotic variations like antelope dog, a curry pork dog, a crayfish dog, etc. Their french fries are fried in duck fat. There’s always a line, no tables to eat at and its become a cult favorite. They love their hotdogs in Chicago!

  44. brookdale says:

    Up in northern Maine a little hotdog stand sells the “Trucker Dog” for the log truck drivers. It’s a hotdog with the condiments put in the bun first, then the hotdog, so a logger can eat it while driving without getting mustard on their face.
    Gotta look your best for those moose!

  45. Journey11 says:

    I am baffled by it too. We grew up poor, but I have never had a hot dog sandwich. Now I have to wonder what was wrong with me? LOL

  46. City Kid says:

    I’m not a huge hotdog fan BUT my favorite way to eat a dog is to wrap it in a slice of bread, sort of cradle the dog in the bread slice. Add ketchup, consume. Yum! Not exactly a hotdog sandwich, more of a bun substitute.

    What’s wrong with liver sausage?

  47. UlrikeDG says:

    I’ve never had a hotdog sandwich. If I’m eating a hotdog with a slice of bread, I wrap the bread around the dog like a bun.

    However, I have had bologna sandwiches with buttered bread, cheese, ketchup, and mustard, and the flavor is very much like a cold hotdog sandwich.

  48. jeri starcher says:

    No, I would not eat a hotdog sandwich. Even though yours is pretty, a hot dog belongs on a bun. I wouldn’t eat a bologna sandwich with all that stuff on it either. Mayo and a little bit of french’s mustard is all it needs. Guess I am picky.


  49. DancesInGarden says:

    okay. I am about to rock your world. Take one of your home made tortillas (go ahead, make em, we’ll wait). Cut your hotdog in half so both pieces side by side fit in the middle. Add some cheese. Fold the tortilla around the hotdog and cheese like a little envelope. Brown your tortilla package on all sides in a pan with some butter (or use butter flavour cooking spray and a George Forman griddle or pannini press). Dip into your favourite toppings, and eat! I like it dipped in ketchup myself. Don’t put the condiments inside the wrapper before heating, or it will drip out and you will scald yourself (ask me how I know!).

  50. OLEF641 says:

    I had to laugh when I saw your response to the idea of eating a hot dog on something other than a bun. The sandwich you describe is similar to what we here call an “Embassy Sandwich”.

    Yes you read that right, Embassy sandwich. Here’s the short version: My mom, as a newlywed, lived in a coldwater flat in Yugoslavia in 1955. (My dad was an American technician there on the Marshall Plan helping keep the Yugoslavs out of the Soviet sphere — but I digress.) Apparently they ate at the American Embassy somewhat frequently. The Embassy kitchen could get wieners, and it could get mayonnaise, and it could get pickle relish (or maybe pickles they chopped, it is unclear.), and it could get those squared off sandwich loaves (the kind baked in a Pullman pan.) No hot dog buns.

    So — they butterflied the hot dogs into three or four connected thinner pieces, grilled them, and served one on white bread with mayonnaise and pickle relish. Embassy Sandwich. Try it!

    Us’ns also eat something called a Greitzer Dog. My mom left my brother and me in the care of the neighbor lady one afternoon when she had to be away for some reason. We watched the old SciFi/Horror flick “Them” and ate hot dogs for lunch. I seven and was captivated by how they were served.

    She also had no hot dog buns. Don’t know why, but she was apparently the type of woman who would have thought of them as an extravagance when you had good old white bread around.

    Anyway: Roll up your grilled or boiled wiener and whatever condiments you want (she served ketchup only; I like brown mustard and minced onion) in a slice of white bread. That’s it. BTW – It’s a bit easier to roll if you trim the crust off the edges that will be bent when you roll up your Greitzer Dog, but that’s not the classic version.

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