Friday, March 26, 2010

Finger Sandwiches?

Some years ago at a roast, Barack Obama told the story of how Rahm Emanuel lost the tip of his middle finger on a meat slicer at the deli where he was working as a student. Barack described Rohm as being "essentially rendered mute". Apparently Rohm really knows how to wield his impedicus or digitus medius or what's left of it.

Having a bit extra on the end of that middle finger could be useful in case of this kind of accident. You'd never be at a loss for words. At lunch the other day, Barbara talked about experiencing a deadly business lunch with a chap who had more than a little extra (middle finger length). His impedicus was legendary for it's extraordinary length. Not only was it long, but spatulate as well! Barbara said it was terribly distracting, disgusting in fact,  and wondered why the man didn't undergo surgery to reduce it's length. Nancy, always curious, wondered what they had to eat at that lunch. Chicken fingers? Finger sandwiches? She did a hilarious enactment of the inevitable sputtering/word groping that occurs when you're trying to avoid  noticing or mentioning a peculiarity like this. Instead of putting your foot in your mouth, everything you say ends up having a finger in it.

I had a little bit (hmmm) to offer to the finger stories having sliced off the tip of my own dear impedicus on a bagel slicer in NYC a decade ago. In the emergency room they shouted, "Bagel Kit". Apparently, bagel accidents are frequent in NYC and in the ER's they have, at the ready, assemblages of appropriate sutures and splints, finger cots and so on. My finger and my story share happy endings as my fingertip, despite the prediction of the ER surgeon, clung to life -  by a hair for a while; finally it took hold and stuck. I still have my full finger repertoire although in Fallbrook there's little use for it and it's getting rusty.

Here's one of my mother's favorite recipes for FS.

Cucumber Finger Sandwiches
Only for the patient and pain-staking cook

1 cup whipped cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 medium cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 bunch watercress, washed well, dried and 1/2 the bunch cut into two inch pieces
1 loaf thinly sliced white bread, crusts removed (My mother used to roll them with slight pressure
using a rolling pin. She liked the bread ever so lightly compacted.)

Blend cream cheese with garlic salt. Spread thinly on bread slices, making sure to spread right to the edges. Assemblage is very important with these little sandwiches. It could take my mother an hour to put together a plate of these. Speed is not of the essence here.  Because the sandwiches are tiny, every bite has to count  - unlike it's vulgar, bulky cousins - those thick deli style sandwiches overly crammed with filling stacked up in the center of the bread. Nothing is as disappointing with finger sandwiches, as an unbalanced bite! Overlap the cucumber slices with great care and precision, on half the bread slices, placing them right to the edges of the bread; top with the two inch pieces of watercress. Close the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices - line up the edges. Carefully, avoiding fingers, and using a finely serrated knife, saw into quarters or use a sharp unserrated knife and one swift partitioning hack. Use excess watercress for  garnish.

If anyone expresses displeasure with the size of these sandwiches or the fillings or finds any fault of any kind with the sandwich maker or his/her family, you know what to do.


  1. That was such an absolutely hilarious lunch and so is this post! What do you mean there's not much use for that finger in Fallbrook. I find a use almost every day, especially while driving. I don't actually use it, though-just think about it. Someone, reading our past blogs and comments might get the idea we're obsessed with the middle finger. Nahhh!

  2. My mother always made finger sandwiches for special occasions- Nancy's wedding luncheon, for instance. This recipe sounds good!

  3. At the Huntington Gardens tea room, I had finger sandwiches earlier this year. They were good, but not
    as good as those mother-made ones, like yours and mine.

    I guess we do look a little finger obsessed. Odd that we're finding so much to be say on the subject of communicating without words.

    I'm still laughing over that lunch. Is it dangerous to laugh that much? Splitting a gut or something?