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Olive and Cream Cheese Sandwiches a Baltimore Only Treat?

My grandma used to make them for me, and I see them on the menu at some old school style delis downtown. My question: is this culinary delight a local Baltimore phenom, or is it more widespread?

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  1. I ate tons of cream cheese and olive sandwiches growing up in Rhode Island in the 1960s.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Bob W

      Growing up in RI in the 80s -- my mom made Ham Supreme sandwiches. Thinly sliced deli ham, and then the mixed cream cheese with olives. Mmm. I think we usually had these on pumpernickel. I am going to request these for my next visit home :-) Thanks for reminding me of a great treat! We often had these packed in the cooler for lunch at the beach, and my sister and I would get wildly excited as my mom prepared them that morning!

    2. I remember eating them for lunch in Michigan in the late 70s/early 80s.

      1. I'd get them in my lunchbox in Seattle in late 70s/early 80s. I always thought they were a little weird, even though I loved olives on their own. Mom is from Seattle, Dad is from Massachusetts, but Mom does the cooking.

        1. I put olives and cream cheese (and reconstituted onion flakes) in tortillas and roll up and slice.

          We also put olives and cream cheese in celery

          2 Replies
          1. re: laliz

            When my mom had the neighbourhood ladies over for bridge, she'd make pinwheel sandwiches, among other things. For one, she'd spread cream cheese on a long thin slice of bread which she'd previously flattened with her pastry roller. Then she'd put stuffed olives in, roll them up, and slice thinly. We kids got to eat the "rejects" - the slices where there was only a bit of olive. Used to love that! (1960's Toronto).

            1. re: laliz

              I remember the years my Mom played cards with the girls spreads were very common "tea sandwiches" served with pitchers of iced tea and coffee. Olive and cream cheese, canned salmon and cucumber, ham spread and pickles, etc. Very common.

            2. I grew up in Massachusetts and had them. I love them. Have you tried them grilled like a grilled cheese sandwich? The cream cheese gets a little soft and warm, the bread is buttery, crunchy. Fantastic!

              1. I took cream cheese and olives several times a week for lunch in NYC

                1. Never had it as a sandwich, but my Aunt used to chop walnuts really fine then mix with cream cheese and wrap on the outside of the green olives. YUM think I'll make some tonight. and maybe a Sandwich to go with them.

                  1. That's my favorite schmeer on a bagel...prefer pimento-stuffed green.

                    oops, sorry - I'm in VA.

                    1. Another Michigander here. My college snack bar (Kalamazoo College) offered grilled olive and cream cheese sandwiches, which I loved--crispy, gooey, salty AND creamy.

                      And the late, still-lamented, Drakes in Ann Arbor made the Stanford sandwich: Three layers of thin white toast, with olive salad, iceberg, and cream cheese. Delicious and dainty!

                      Now I have a hankering :)

                      3 Replies
                        1. re: dct

                          Haha hankering! That sounds like the best sandwich treat! Thanks! I put canned parmesan cheese on the outside of regular grilled cheese. Do you think that would be good on these?

                        2. Massachusetts - a standard sandwich in our household growing up.

                          5 Replies
                            1. re: BobB

                              My boston born dad used to make them for our lunches when I grew up in Chicago, don't know how to score that geographically.

                            2. re: chowmel

                              Yup,

                              Here is my mom's recipe from my Irish-Boston mid-60's childhood:

                              Cut jarred green, pimento-stuffed olives into thinnish slices (width-wise, so the pimento is a circle of red in each slice). Put brick of cream cheese (they only came in bricks then) into bowl. Add olive slices and just enough of the olive brine to make a thick, creamy paste.

                              Spread thickly on dark pumpernickel.

                              Slice in half.

                              Devour.

                              1. re: sablemerle

                                OOOOOHHHH, never thought of mixing them together and thinning with the olive brine! Will DEFINITELY have to try that!!

                                1. re: muzzomine

                                  That was (well, still is) our standard prep for stuffed celery. The only time as a kid that I had a sandwich was when there was leftover spread from the stuffed celery. Now I make sure there's leftover spread for just that purpose. After reading this thread, I'm now intent to try it grilled.

                                  One difference from sablemerle, we just do a rough chop on our green olives, not nice slices. But it still tastes delicious!

                            3. Southern Californian, early 60s, my favorite lunch treat. My mother (CA) and I ate them as a special treat. I think this was more of an "era" thing than geographic.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sherri

                                Also had them in Southern California in the late 50's and early 60's. Mom would make them for us.

                              2. Sorry to go off topic, but this sounds really tasty right now.

                                This California native has never heard of these.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: charentais

                                  I grew up in Southern California and we never had cream cheese and olive sandwiches. I once went to a friend's house in Newport Beach and her mom showed me how to make cream cheese and black olive dip, which I thought was phenomenal! It wasn't until I moved to the East Coast before I had a proper cream and green olive sandwich or rye or pumpernickel, which was even more phenomenal than the Newport Beach olive dip.

                                  Kraft makes a pretty good pre-mixed green olive and cream cheese schmear for when I'm too lazy to make my own.

                                2. I grew up eating them too and have recently taken to spreading a shmear on a multigraIn cracker and topping it with a dollop of tapenade. Very satisfying.

                                  1. What memories! This was one of my favorite "special" sandwiches as a kid. Mom generally made them on NY Rye bread, but occasionally, we got white bread for really special occasions. She grew up in Boston, but we were living in NYC. I don't know which location inspired this fabulous sandwich.

                                    My sister preferred cream cheese and jelly sandwiches. I never liked that sweet thing.

                                    I still love olives with cottage cheese since it is very similar.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Yes, my Grandma usually used un-toasted rye bread, seedless. Un-toasted white bread isn't up to the task, but white toast is perfectly acceptable!

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        My mother occasionally packed me cream cheese and jelly sandwiches too. I much preferred the savory cc&o to the sweet cc&j.

                                        Also, I sometimes got cc&o with black olives. Not good -- too bland for me. Cc&o needs briny green olives. Of course, a modern version could use kalamatas.

                                        Rye bread is definitely the way to go!

                                        I don't eat much cream cheese these days due to cholesterol issues but I might have to whip up a cc&o sandwich this weekend. We have a loaf of corn rye from a local bakery that will be perfect for this treat. My daughter (almost 5) loves olives so I'll see if I can pass the torch on cc&o sandwiches.

                                        1. re: Bob W

                                          Please do. Pass the torch I mean. My kid won't touch an olive. When she was at the age that I should have been introducing briny delights, we lived in a culinary wasteland and had no money! No olive treats were in the house, and an opportunity was missed.

                                          1. re: smtucker

                                            Exactly -- if you don't offer different things, you'll never give them a chance to say yea or nay.

                                            Speaking of briny delights, my mother also packed me pickled watermelon rind as a "treat." Dare I offer that to the kids?

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              Ooh! I got my first taste of pickled watermelon from a favorite aunt who offered them to me like she was offering a subversive treat. I loved it from the start.

                                          2. re: Bob W

                                            Hmmm, never tried black olives. I'd miss the pimentos too much.

                                            I tend to just use the regular 'ol green olives in a jar with pimentos, since that fits the sandwich's utilitarian vibe, but you've got me thinking. Our local Whole Foods has a nice olive bar, I may need to do some "research".

                                            1. re: Bob W

                                              Another variation is a slice of really good kalamata bread with cream cheese. I had this at a bakery in Berkeley. Fantastic. Those tangy, salty kalamatas and creamy cheese with that good chewy bread--what else do you need?

                                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                i like that idea.

                                                ~~~~~~
                                                in high school, i went through a baking phase, and one of my specialties was baking (and eating and giving away) the small date-nut loaves. i can say from a wealth of experience <ahem> that cream cheese on date nut bread is really great.

                                              2. re: Bob W

                                                try these with finely chopped raw onion and green olives with cream cheese with chives , and grilled wow!!!

                                            2. We had cream cheese, olive, and walnut sandwich spread growing up. I still love it, though it's been some time since we've had it. Grew up in Northern Illinois.

                                              1. Brooklyn, NY. It was a lunchbox favorite. ALways made on white toast.

                                                1. My Mom made them for us in the fifties and sixties. I remember her using ripe olives and whole wheat toast. Winston-Salem NC
                                                  I have some olives in the fridge right now and may have to grab a package of cream cheese next store stop. I have a source for some really good sourdough whole wheat too!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Sam at Novas

                                                    I remember my mom making cream cheese and olive finger sandwiches growing up - in Mississippi.

                                                  2. in florida, i had that spread on crustless tea sandwiches (finger sandwiches, as suites rightly recalls). white, soft bread.

                                                    in college, there was a place that turned me on to rare roast beef with the green-olive-and-pimento cream cheese on pumpernickel and grilled. so delicious!

                                                      1. My dad made these for my lunches a lot. This was the early 80's, Northern Cal. I don't recall anyone else eating them, though. And it was always black olives.

                                                        1. Never had the pleasure of a cream cheese & olive sandwich. Must. Try. One.

                                                          Can any of you fans explain whether the olives are sliced? Are they in circles, or lengthwise? Do they have to be green olives stuffed with pimentos, or would olives stuffed with, say, garlic, or jalapenos, or almonds be acceptable? How about anchovies?

                                                          Does the type of cream cheese make a difference (solid vs. whipped)?

                                                          What else do I need to know?

                                                          Thanks!
                                                          Roxy

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: RoxyB

                                                            In our family, we always used cocktail olives with pimento. We did a cross-section slice so that each slice had a dot of red pimento in the center. The two rounded ends were "scarfed" by the person with the fastest hands. Bread or toast slice smeared with cream cheese, and then the olives are pressed into the cheese [liberally.] I like the sandwich cuts into triangles, crusts on. Welcome to the club.

                                                            1. re: RoxyB

                                                              Olives sliced in circles, so each slice has the pimento in the middle -- concentric like. Its more fun that way! I'd start with green olives w/ pimentos. I like solid cream cheese better than whipped for its consistency, but it may not matter that much.

                                                              Also, one question you must consider is the "population density" of the olives. My personal preference is not too many olives, just enough to get a few slices in each bite. I got this sandwich at a deli recently and they were way too heavy handed with the olives.

                                                              1. re: placidothecat

                                                                Thanks, smtucker & placidothecat. I'll start with the basics and then fool around with options.

                                                                Still giggling about "population density of the olives." I can see that briny goodness might not be so good in vast quantity.
                                                                R

                                                                1. re: RoxyB

                                                                  Quite true, though it depends on the presentation medium. In a sandwich they should be like houses in suburbia, close enough together to make a neighborhood but with enough space to keep everybody busy mowing their lawns on the weekend. If you're making canapes on crackers you can increase the density to favela level.

                                                              2. re: RoxyB

                                                                I save green olives with anchovies for dirty martinis.

                                                                When I make olive and cream cheese spread, I just recklessly chop the olives and smash them into cream cheese, which I've softened and whipped slightly. Sometimes I put the whole mess into a food processor and hit the pulse button -- the result is still as yummy. I always use pimento stuffed green olives for cream cheese.

                                                                1. re: RoxyB

                                                                  I made them with reg philly cream cheese softened, sliced pimento stuffed circles on plain white bread. I imagine you could experiment and use any kind of cream cheese or olives.

                                                                  1. re: RoxyB

                                                                    put those green olives stuffed with pimentos with a small wedge of raw onion , garlic optional put in one of those kitchen choppers , leave kinda course mix with any kind of cream cheese , even flavored with onion and chives mix it all together ,spread on your favorite bread , grill in skillet , just had one , wow !!!

                                                                  2. Definitely not exclusive to Baltimore. In Manhattan, bagels with cream cheese & chopped olives (green, with pimentos) are pretty common. But I first had them at the Inkwell in Long Branch, NJ, in the mid '80s.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                      I, too, had the c/c and olive sandwiches on black bread at the Inkwell in the mid 1970's. That was a GREAT place. However, my mother made them for my school lunch at least once a week all through the 1950's.

                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                        I just re-visited the Inkwell two weeks ago after a looooong absence. And discovered that it is no longer a good idea for me to eat a grilled cheese and fries at 1:30 in the morning. Oh, well. Still a great place! Everyone got really young, though.

                                                                    2. Interesting... being a SW boy, I've never even heard of these until this thread.
                                                                      Green olives sliced and pressed into cream cheese on bread - is that the gist of it?
                                                                      Regular 'ol jarred green olives?

                                                                      I should try this - I love olives. I love cream cheese. I love bread.
                                                                      Any additions (besides walnuts - can't stand 'em)?

                                                                      Thanks,

                                                                      AzD

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ArizonaDave

                                                                        I recommend starting with the pure experience. And after you are addicted, start the add-ins. Personally, I have never added anything to this sandwich beyond the basic three ingredients.

                                                                        1. re: ArizonaDave

                                                                          pimento-stuffed green olives and cream cheese.

                                                                          1. re: ArizonaDave

                                                                            Most people probably use squishy white bread, but I heartily recommend a nice rye.

                                                                            As alkapal and smtucker say, three ingredients: bread, cream cheese, green olives -- with pimento if possible.

                                                                            I always went heavy on the olives, but don't overdo it on your first try.

                                                                            1. re: ArizonaDave

                                                                              Thanks everyone - looking forward to trying this on rye.

                                                                              AzD

                                                                              1. re: ArizonaDave

                                                                                We chopped our olives up and mixed them into the cream cheese

                                                                              2. Nicholson Baker's first (and to my mind still best) novel, THE MEZZANINE, is set in Boston, and its main character has a long and hilarious rumination on the olive and cream cheese sandwich, especially those found pre-packaged in delis. As I recall, he mostly wonders what the inventor of the combination discarded before he hit on the green olive and cream cheese combo.

                                                                                1. Bernie's deli in Fairfax, VA, serves olives and cream cheese on pumpernickel.

                                                                                  1. My mom made olive and cream cheese appetizers - she used the party rye. Grew up in the SW Suburbs of Chicago. Just talked to my husband - he grew up in the NW Suburbs - he's never heard of them.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Missy2U

                                                                                      LOL party rye. Now there's a blast from the past.

                                                                                    2. It seems every bagel store in Brooklyn offers an olive cream cheese spread. I like it on either an everything or garlic bagel.

                                                                                      1. Olives and cream cheese is a magical combination. My mom used to get roast beef/cream cheese/black olive/yellow mustard/sprouts in a pita from a shop in Belmont Shores in the early eighties, 25 years later, it's my favorite. I also like to stuff large black olives with cream cheese, it makes a great snack or app for holidays. Cream cheese and green olives sounds divine. If I make a sandwich, what kind of bread should I use? And can I put yellow mustard on it, or is that sacrelidge?

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                          good pumpernickel i'd say is the best for the spread. make sure you use the "salad" olives (green olives with pimentos) -- they're olive pieces instead of whole, and are cheaper to buy.

                                                                                          but i'd even eat the olive spread on wonderbread, too, although it would stick to the roof of my mouth (i'd suffer through...).

                                                                                          as i mentioned upthread, add some rare roast beef and grill it, and you've got *my* fave sandwich.

                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                            OMG - Roast beef and c/c+o -- grilled! Yowza -- that sounds really yummy!

                                                                                            1. re: Divalicias

                                                                                              try it ...you'll like it!!! (don't overdo the olives, or it'll be too salty). get a really *good* pumpernickel, pref. from a bakery -- with a good rye component, and a firm texture -- but not too malty or too dark and sweet. finally, don't skimp on the cream cheese ;-)).

                                                                                              1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                There was a gourmet store in The Garage in Harvard Square (they had another location in Cambridge too; I can never remember the name) that made amazing roast beef and boursin sandwiches on baguette. I suspect a few green olives would be a nice added touch.

                                                                                                  1. re: BobB

                                                                                                    Yes! The other location is/was on Huron Ave. I could always remember Huron Ave but never the name of the place.

                                                                                                    I loved those sandwiches (back when I could eat a roast beef/boursin sandwich with impunity).

                                                                                                    Thanks BobB!

                                                                                                  2. re: Bob W

                                                                                                    aaaaaahhhhhh, boursin! heavenly!

                                                                                                    (ps, i let "alouette" fool me once. if it fools me twice, shame on me!).

                                                                                            2. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                              YES -- on pumpernickel. Also great with thinly sliced deli ham! I mentioned this upthread, too, but it deserves a double mention :-)

                                                                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                                Standard in my house in NJ is the sixties. Mom bought these cans of finely diced olives, but I haven't seen them in a supermarket in years. Both black and green.

                                                                                            3. I was raised in western Virginia (yes, I'm a hillbilly!) and grew up on the stuff. My mom chopped up green olives and stirred 'em into room temp cream cheese. Many was the day I got them in my lunch sack.

                                                                                              1. Now extinct Nashville sandwich shops like Candyland and Vandyland always had cream cheese and olive sandwiches on the menu. My 92 year old great-aunt still loves them.

                                                                                                1. Thanks for reminding me of this old fashioned deliciousness. I have just revisited good old home-made pimento cheese sandwiches and will now introduce my grandchildren to this treat (made with green olives w/pimentos please). I am also thinking about (for our more sophisticated palates) trying this with a green olive tapenade or olivada mixed with the cream cheese. In theory it sounds good to me...perhaps as a spread for crackers...may be too strong for a sandwich? A good project for today.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: saycheez

                                                                                                    ""green olive tapenade or olivada mixed with the cream cheese""

                                                                                                    oh yeah!!! i'd love it on pepper water crackers!

                                                                                                    (i'm wondering if a little nibble of smoked trout on that would be overload).

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      I think the smoked trout would be perfect! Makes me salivate just thinking about it!

                                                                                                      1. re: cuccubear

                                                                                                        Me too! What a great idea! I'm going to have to pick up the ingredients today.

                                                                                                  2. My favorite is a THICK (must be enough cream cheese that you can leave teeth marks in each bite :) slab of cream cheese on a kaiser roll, with coarsely chopped big green olives. My local delis (Cleveland OH) all have them on the menu.

                                                                                                    1. My family used to get cream cheese and chopped olives at a sandwich shop in Princeton, NJ, growing up in the 50's - 60's. Also tuna with chopped olives, or tuna, cream cheese, & chopped olives if we were extra hungry.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: debchap

                                                                                                        I still make tuna with cream cheese and chopped olives. I add grated carrots, chopped waterchestnuts and worchestershire. Its wonderful.

                                                                                                      2. I grew up in Virginia with my grandmother making them for me. She grew up in Michigan and lived in New York and Pennsylvania before coming to Virginia in the 60's. Yum! Had forgotten about them.

                                                                                                        1. LOVE sliced green olives mixed in with cream cheese! My local breakfast/lunch spot has this in the display case, along with a gazillion other iterations of cream cheese to schmear on your bagel of choice. (Okay, well maybe that's hyperbole - not really a gazilllion - more like 9 kinds.)

                                                                                                          Even more than just sliced olives and cream cheese, I go a little crazy when bits of crisply-cooked bacon are crumbled into it. Pack some o' that into a sandwich on white toast or date-nut bread - oh boy!

                                                                                                          1. They are popular in North Carolina among oldtimers.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. Back home in Marshall, Illinois in '55, my mom had read about these somewhere and brought a platter of them to my 8th Grade graduation party. I think I had one and she had one and a couple of other people got brave as well, and then I had'em for lunch for a week. I thought they were swell, but Adventurous Eating was not real big around there in those days.

                                                                                                              1. I grew up in the Bronx, and Westchester County, NY and in the 60's my mom used to cut them into triangles and put them in my lunch box at least once a week. YUM! Only thing is I hated the pimento and always had take it out of the olive first!

                                                                                                                1. Illinois, 1940's, cream cheese with black olives and chopped pecans. Best on whole-wheat bread. But, speaking of olives, in Upstate New York, 1940's, the birthday party sandwich of choice was egg-and-olive (chopped hard-boiled eggs, chopped or sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives, and mayonnaise). Somehow I have dropped the first from my repertory (seems too rich now) but have kept the second---put plenty of lettuce on the sandwich.

                                                                                                                  1. In the 60s/70s, Mom made olive nut tea sandwiches by mixing softened cream cheese, chopped pecans, and chopped pimiento-stuffed green olives and spreading it on white bread with the crusts removed. I have used low-fat and no-fat cream cheese with fine results. I pulse the olives and pecans in the food processor and add cream cheese until it's the desired taste/saltiness and consistency. I've also served it as a spread with crudités and crackers.

                                                                                                                    Beth, Lexington KY

                                                                                                                    1. I ate them as a kid in Pennsylvania (outside Philly). My Dad introduced them to me - and he was from Baltimore. But I always thought it was a quirky thing that he came up with. Didn't know it a legit sandwich. My friend and I used to add salami when it was in the fridge. Yum.

                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: FoodLoverInChs

                                                                                                                        Salami and cream cheese-another amazing combo.

                                                                                                                        1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                          We did a '50s-theme cocktail party once and got a lot of appetizers from James Beard's party-foods book from that era. One of the big faves was salami and cream cheese cornucopias - you cut each salami slice (use the small ones!) from the center out, then form it into a cone and fill that with cream cheese.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                            I remember those, or at least something very similar. That was a cocktail party staple at our house when I was a kid.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                                                                                              We used to have cream cheese/salami roll ups at Thanksgiving-I still get a craving. They sound a lot like the cornucopias, just not cut. Last Christmas, I put a tiny pickle spear in some-it was a nice touch. Maybe a cornichon would work well.

                                                                                                                        2. Can we admit that mixing anything with cream cheese is good??? Cream cheese and pineapple anyone?

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Sam at Novas

                                                                                                                            Haven't tried it with pineapple yet, but Sam, I'm with you. I can't think of much that wouldn't taste good with some cream cheese!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Sam at Novas

                                                                                                                              Cream cheese and pineapple? I just joined a gym. Please don't give me yet another cream cheese combo that I'm going to want to eat all the time. (PS-cream cheese and salsa rules)

                                                                                                                              1. re: schrutefarms

                                                                                                                                My husband is from Baltimore and he is a CCandO addict. He says the classic is as follows: Lightly toasted Arnold's white bread, cream cheese and thinly sliced green olives. That's the story and he's sticking to ti.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Sam at Novas

                                                                                                                                this was my family's favorite "holiday" salad. Drain a can of pineapple rings. Use some of the juice/syrup to thin the cream cheese to a salad dressing consistency. Place iceberg lettuce on indivual plates top w/pineapple rings and pour cream cheese "dressing" over.

                                                                                                                              3. My daughter took an olive and cream cheese sandwich on white bread when she started 3rd grade in 1987. We are from PA and she wanted them because her school buds were eating them. She loved them

                                                                                                                                1. Not at all. In Southern Illinois, 1930's and 1940's, my grandma made cream cheese, black olive, and chopped pecan sandwiches. They were especially a birthday party item along with "egg & olive" (mashed hard-boiled eggs with sliced stuffed green olives and mayonnaise). I think both of these are best on whole-wheat bread, and both are ace sandwich fillings.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                    In southwest Virginia in the 40s we made cream cheese and chopped green olives stuffed with pimento. Also, the ubiquitous pimento cheese.

                                                                                                                                  2. We grew up on cream cheese and olive sandwiches. My mom has fond memories of taking Amtrak to from Buffalo to Rochester as a girl in the late 50's and ordering cream cheese and olive sandwiches from the the Amtrak restaurant. I have a little farmer's market stand, and I make a cream cheese/olive/scallions/cheddar spread that sells very well, and reminds me of my childhood and those catholic school friday lunches. Kind of an update homage to the past.

                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                      There was no Amtrak in the late 50's. It may have been the New York Central she was riding. One of the best sandwiches of my life was a BLT served to me by a white-gloved waiter on the B&O when I was about 8 years old. It was fabulous.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                        You are probably correct - she just said she rode the train. She said the food was wonderful, and a real treat.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                                                          It was awesome, probably my first "fine dining" experience. This would have been about 1967. We would take the train from DC to Sedalia, MO to visit my grandparents. By 1970 or so, Amtrak took over all passenger service and train travel became a much grittier way to go. They went from white glove service with embossed china to your choice of a stale ham sandwich and a warm soda or going hungry. Looking back, I believe this was the juncture of our decline as a nation. Air travel followed suit with deregulation in the 1980. The greydog is now looking like the way to go. You can grab a bucket of chicken and a pint of bourbon and you're set. The seats are more comfortable, too, and you don't need a reservation. God, this is depressing.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                                                            """"""" You can grab a bucket of chicken and a pint of bourbon and you're set.""""""
                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                            too funny, mister meistr !

                                                                                                                                    2. They were never around much in Colorado but I have eaten them as little sandwich appetizers before. I have a friend from Michigan who told me about olive burgers and how they are really popular there. He desribed them as not olives mixed into the beef but the olives being on top of the meat. I keep reminding myself to make one one of these days. Perhaps an olive- cream cheese burger would be good?

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: LorenM

                                                                                                                                        A Michigan-based fast food chain called Hot 'n' Now had an olive burger on their menu, which might be where your friend had them. They basically slapped a dollop of mayo onto the top bun and pressed a handful of sliced green olives (no pimientos) into the mayo, then put it on top of the burger. We had a Hot 'n' Now in my hometown and the double olive burger was my absolute favorite thing on their menu. Sadly, ours closed a few years ago, but there are still a handful of them in Michigan. I make my own at home all the time by stirring chopped green olives into mayo - it's my husband's favorite burger condiment now!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                                                          Thanks, I am so trying that. I wonder if the olives come from the Middle Eastern presence in MI.

                                                                                                                                      2. funny that this topic re-emerged, as i was just talking with one of close friends (who grew up in Massachusetts), and she was saying how her grandmother used to feed her cream cheese and olive sandwiches, and how she thought that that was the it's it of haute cuisine (as a kid).

                                                                                                                                        1. No. Grew up in Oklahoma to a Chicago-born mother; she used to make it for me.

                                                                                                                                          1. This thread has been fun to follow and has inspired a tasty little snack of wheat thins with cream cheese and olives. And, yes my Texas born mother made olive, cream cheese, and pecan tea sandwiches for festive occasions in the early 60's and the combo has appeared at my table in South Texas and New Orleans ever since.

                                                                                                                                            1. One of my favorite childhood sandwiches,my mom used to stuff celery with same, easy addition to "cocktail bites"; my mom was from philly so...

                                                                                                                                              1. Definitely not a Baltimore-only phenom. I grew up in western Virginia, and had it often. Now I live in Florida and still make it on occasion.

                                                                                                                                                1. I grew up in southern OH, and my mom would sometimes stuff celery stalks with cream cheese and olives as an appetizer for a special occasion meal.

                                                                                                                                                  1. My Jersey-born Mom made cream cheese and green olive sandwiches for me as a child in Wisconsin during the late 50s. Also made sandwiches from egg salad with sliced green olives and curry- a favorite of mine to this day.

                                                                                                                                                    1. My father always made them for us. Cream cheese and green Spanish olives with pimientos. His mother made them for him in the 30's & 40's in Massachusetts. She was from Vermont via Quebec, Canada. ? Not sure if she got it from Canada or her town in Massachusetts which was mostly inhabited by Italians.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Never spied hide nor hair of these puppies out here in west Texas. But I aim to rectify that situation here directly.

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                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                          It's one of the most amazing foods...especially on pumpernickel bread or an everything bagel. yum.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I never tire of these sandwiches. One of these days I'll muster enough self-control to try grilling one before devouring it...

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                                                                                                                                                          1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                                            Do, you will be so pleased that you did!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: GretchenS

                                                                                                                                                              I grilled my first CC&O sandwich this weekend - why did I never try that before! great take on an already great sandwich!

                                                                                                                                                          2. Sliced green pimento-stuffed olives & cream cheese on white bread were one of my mother's favorite sandwiches to pack for our school lunches during the 50's/60's back in NY.

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                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                              What's funny is that I was literally the ONLY person in grade school with what everyone else considered "oddball" sandwiches - Olives & Cream Cheese; Headcheese; Olive & Pimento Loaf; Pimiento Cheese; Salami & Cream Cheese, etc., etc. I always loved my lunches, which is probably a good thing, because I'd never have been able to get anyone to trade with me if I didn't - lol!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                wow - pimento loaf - another fav I haven't thought of in ages!

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                                                                                  Amen to all of them! Especially GOOD head cheese, with mustard and coarse ground pepper on rye. People at my lunch table would turn green at the thought, but I loved them all. I wouldn't trade any of them for anything.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Wow. Talk about bringing back forgotten memories! Yes, I did have them growing up in NJ. Now you've got me wanting to make it when I get home. Hope the cream cheese isn't the same color as the olives!

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                                                                                                                                                                1. re: njmarshall55

                                                                                                                                                                  One of my lunchbox favorites also in NJ late 50s, early 60s. Always black olives, white bread.
                                                                                                                                                                  Loved black olives because my cousin's pediatrician told his mom to give them to us instead of
                                                                                                                                                                  candy so we thought of them as treats. Never thought of trying it with green olives but now I
                                                                                                                                                                  might have to - not on white bread! Must admit I recently put cream cheese on a Wegmans
                                                                                                                                                                  kalamata roll - probably a subconsciuos throwback to my lunchbox days.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ferventfoodie

                                                                                                                                                                    Kalamata bread from the Acme Bakery in Berkeley and a tub of cream cheese are pretty much at the top of my list of earthly pleasures.

                                                                                                                                                                2. A former coworker, who was born and raised in Tucson, introduced me to olive and cream cheese samdwiches- around 40 years ago. I still get cravings for them, although these days the bread is much better, to my delight!

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                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                    GREEN olives, pimento-stuffed, sliced slightly less than 1/4 inch thick, that it!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                      My mom bought green pimento-stuffed olives in a variety of forms - whole (since she was a Martini lover - lol!), pre-sliced, & we nearly always had a large jar of what were & still are called "salad olives", which are pimento-stuffed green olives that get squashed or otherwise mangled while being sliced for the more expensive "pre-sliced" olives or while being stuffed for the whole variety.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. As the pack has already spoken and clarified that this was more baby boomer period food than regional food, you won't be surprised to learn that we were eating these sandwiches in suburban Connecticut in the sixties. I'll bet you a nickel that the popularity of the sandwich had to do with magazines like Family Circle and Woman's Day, that were sold alongside Time and Life and Newsweek at supermarket check out counters. Can't you just see in your mind's eye, the strange period foodstyling photo that would go with the recipe?

                                                                                                                                                                    The sandwich is good, but what makes it really tasty is the way it is seasoned with memories. Which is why, when I saw it on the menu at the Sugarbowl in Scottsdale, Arizona, I simply had to order it.

                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.sugarbowlscottsdale.com/Su...

                                                                                                                                                                    Of course, The Sugarbowl itself is a delicious serving of the romance of fifties and sixties retail style. And they also have fantastic ice cream sodas served in glass, on a saucer, with a shot of seltzer on the side!!!

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                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pipenta

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes. There was another variation-canned chopped clams mixed with cream cheese and sour cream. Sounds weird, but it's actually pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. It has to be widespread. I ate them in MN, courtesy of my grandmother; I ate them in Ca. courtesy of a friend's (Mid-Atlantic-shore-bred) mother. I ate them as a wee sprout in Oh., because the housekeeper, who was Ky.-born made them for me, and the same mixture was served here in Ca. not many years ago, only not as a sandwich filling but as a dip or scoop for crudite and plain crostini. That version may been thinned w/ mayo, and it came from a friend who was raised in Manhattan. I've also seen many versions in pre-war cookbooks, usually authored by home economists or dieticians.

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                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mamachef

                                                                                                                                                                          It's funny that dieticians suggested these sandwiches, because they are just little heart attacks on a plate. Delicious heart attacks.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Pipenta

                                                                                                                                                                            It is funny, considering a few of them also highly recommend a slice of bread, thickly paved with butter and then spread with a thick layer of sugar, as a good "anytime" snack for kids.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Lovely on.cocktail pumpernickel. Food process softened cream
                                                                                                                                                                          cheese with large green OlIves and almonds thin with a bit of milk or
                                                                                                                                                                          cream for spreading. An easier way if you live near a luxury hotel
                                                                                                                                                                          is to go for "high tea".

                                                                                                                                                                          1. We used to get Kraft Olive pimento spread sandwiches, which was pretty much olives and cream cheese.
                                                                                                                                                                            That got me wondering if you could still buy it. The olive pimento has been discontinued, the the pimento spread is still available. A little jar for about 4 dollars, which got me checking for a recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                            I found that it is very popular in the South. There are several variations, but here is what I made taking the stuff I like from each.
                                                                                                                                                                            8 oz shredded sharp cheddar
                                                                                                                                                                            4 oz cream cheese
                                                                                                                                                                            1/4 cup mayo
                                                                                                                                                                            dash (or2) of hot sauce
                                                                                                                                                                            a little garlic
                                                                                                                                                                            a dozen or so cheap pimento stuffed green olives

                                                                                                                                                                            Throw it in the food processor, blend until a bit creamy.
                                                                                                                                                                            I can't live without it in the fridge anymore. I almost wish I had never thought about it.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I grew up in the South and remember it on spreads that went on Ritz crackers. (We bought the Kraft spread and it came in little juice glasses and I haven't seen it for sale in an aeon.) What were the details of the ones your grandma made?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. I grew up eating them in Philadelphia in the 60s/70s - but a coffee shop near me now (still Phila) sells an open face sandwich spread with thick yogurt and sliced kalamata olives - YUM! (plus I can pretend it is good for me since it is yogurt!)

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I live in Portland and started eating green olive and cream cheese on wheat when I was pregnant. I was mad for salty stuff, and would eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Always with carrot sticks on the side. Mmmm, now i want one!

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                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RachelJ

                                                                                                                                                                                    My mother used to make these for us when she was pregnant in the 60's. Only she made them for breakfast. Sorry, but not what I wanted to fuel a half mile walk through the snow.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I remember growing up in westchester,ny making names and faces at that strange combo my father liked and I thought was weird and disgusting, 50's and 60's, now I really like it too, another variation, that we use as more of a cocktail spread is cream cheese, anchovy s and anchovy paste and chives, mostly on pumpernickel

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. There's a deli in Fairfax, VA called "Bernie's" that has a Cream Cheese and Olive on Pumpernickle on their menu with the subheading "A taste from the past for those who remember". Oops, I posted this earlier, my bad. Mods, delete if you want.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I've made these all my life and I'm born and raised in Santa Monica Calif.
                                                                                                                                                                                        don't know where I first had them to want to make them myself.
                                                                                                                                                                                        maybe my love of olives or cream cheese or bread.
                                                                                                                                                                                        I've done black alone green alone or mixed them, any way they're a favorite of mine but family says blech ;:-/

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. My mother made these in the 50s/60s. Fancied them up, as others report, with chopped pecans. Good memories.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Fort Worth

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. No, siree, Bob. I knew them in New England back in the '50s.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. My Mom introduced them to me as a pre-teen at George Watts' Team Room in Milwaukee in the '60s -- still one of my favorites!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. My mother and I used to shop at Kaufman's in Monroeville PA, and had the most delicious nut bread sandwiches with olive and cream cheese spread. Does anyone else remember these?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I think of these on a tiered tray with a number of different texture & tastes + color mini sandwiches served with tea and a lovely flowery delicate platter lined with perfect lemon curd & raspberry tarts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Recall commercially prepared cream cheese and olive spread available in small town grocery store chain ("Big Apple") in Reidsville NC. Found in same section as chicken salad, pimento cheese etc. and came in the same plastic tubs. My mother and I made sandwiches with it (such a special food memory - this was sometime in 1960s). A few years ago when I tried to find it, it was long gone. I make it at home now, but it's not the same. RIP Mom, thanks for turning me on to cream cheese and olive (which by the way is mentioned in the poker game sequence of the 1957 film Designing Woman)!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: May_gret

                                                                                                                                                                                                      you know what I'm gonna make today? a small treat for me, since I bought a container of mixed olives and have cream cheese and home made white bread, so it's a blast from the past for this lassy today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. After reading this, I stopped at the store on the way to work, purchased sliced olives, cream cheese, and Ritz crackers...pretty good lunch. Might prefer wheat thins...Ill try them next.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: brilynn79

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's pretty good on just plain toast, also. Oh, and another thing that's wonderful on toast is cream cheese mashed up with avocado. Yummy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. My mother used to make them for my school lunches, and she's from New York City. However, she also spent time on the Easteern Shore and in Washington, D.C., so I'm not sure where she got the idea. I'm planning on making some tonight for a daylong yoga retreat on Sunday. Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. A coworker when we were just puppies told me about cream cheese and olive sandwiches- the olives were green pimento-stuffed and layered on top of the cream cheese. I loved it and will always remember her for that and a bunch of other fun stuff. Sherry, you're the bomb!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. I love that this thread is still alive. I never would have dreamed that this simple, slightly odd, but cosmically perfect sandwich would have so many fans and fond memories. There is hope...

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I always had cream cheese and olive as a kid in NC. One of my favs. Gonna make finger sandwiches tomorrow with the nuts. Wondering if I should roast the nuts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't roast them and everyone loved the sandwiches. Some actually said to us that we always bring the good stuff. Lots of people mentioned not having them in years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Yummy! Thanks for reminding me of this childhood snack:) My Mom made them with sour cream and green olives or cream cheese with black or kalamata. So 60's-70's. Going to whip up a batch and watch Mad Men! This was at Edwards AFB CA but my Mom is from Texas so not sure how we lucked into these.