Until I saw directions for packing sandwiches in a hundred-year-old cookbook, I never thought about how people packed sandwiches to take to school or work back then:
Keep sandwiches wrapped in a cheese cloth which has been thoroughly dampened with cold water, and pack in a closed box until ready to use.
Lowney’s Cook Book (Revised, 1921 Edition)
Sounds like a good way to get a soggy sandwich – but apparently if the cheese cloth is merely “dampened” and not “wet,” this is not a problem.
The tip was supposed to provide cooks with guidance so they could confidently pack sandwiches. But I’m left with more questions: Was the cheese cloth reused for multiple days, or was it discarded after one use?Why didn’t the cook book suggest using waxed paper to wrap sandwiches? I’ve seen hundred-year-old recipes that call for using waxed paper to line pans, so I know it was available back then.
Packing sandwiches sure was more complicated in the days before Ziploc bags!