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Posted by / Monday, August 26, 2013

Back To School Throwback Lunches: Classic Cream Cheese & Olives


This week I'm kicking off a series all about back to school lunches. Not just any lunches — lunches my mom made for me when I was going to school back in the 70's. Of course I got your standard fare from straight peanut butter and jelly to a ham a cheese, but more times than not, mom was always trying to be creative and not bore me day after day with the same old thing. 

First up in the series, the good old cream cheese and olives.


The amazing thing about this sandwich is the time she took to individually slice the olives. Now in my mind, I imagine most moms are looking for a quick and easy assembly to get the kids off to school. Not mine — she sliced each olive individually and carefully arranged them in uniform rows. Keep in mind that if I was getting this sandwich, it probably meant dad was taking one to work also.


A couple of other lunch bag staples typically included chips and of course some variety of a Little Debbie. Who remembers the Zebra Cake? Yep, they are still out there, although I must say since I rarely shop the middle of the grocery store this was a 10 minute hunt and almost required me to stop and ask for directions. That aisle in the grocery store is now very scary to me, knowing what we know now about heavily processed and refined foods.


Sliced and neatly packaged, I was sent off to school with a unique lunch that was always fun to show my buds at the table. I never recall running across anyone else that had a cream cheese and olive sandwich. I used to like to open it up and show my friends my "eyeball" sandwich, since the sliced olives looked like eyeballs, ha.


This was definitely not the most unusual thing I brought to lunch, but tomorrow we will tone it down with something a little more standard. What sandwich did your mom send you off to school with that you felt was a little outside the norm?

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P.S. Yes, my name was Timmy in school.
P.P.S. The zebra cake did not make it. I ate it.

14 comments:

  1. Great series! That's a pretty cool sandwich she made you guys.

    My mom usually just made me a pb&h, but she always included a little baggie with green and black olives, pickles, carrots, pepperocini's, and those little sour onions. It was my favorite part of lunch even though everyone thought I was weird.

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    1. I love this little onions! I never had them packed in my lunch though!

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  2. I love cranberry jelly! Mom would make me cranberry jelly sandwiches..no pb..just cranberry jelly. I am making some cr. cheese olive sandwiches today! Ty for the inspiration!

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    1. Cranberry jelly sounds good! Hope you enjoyed the Cream Cheese and Olives!

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  3. Love this series Tim. I've never had an olive and cream cheese sandwich but I'm sure it was a hit with your friends at school. I was packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich practically every day throughout childhood. They're still one of my favs.

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    1. Thanks Brittany and Mary says she was the same way!

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  4. How have I not had a cream cheese and olive sandwich, two of my favorite things. Yum!

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    1. Stephanie the salt from the olive with the creaminess of the cream cheese really makes this sandwich!

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  5. My mother's sandwiches from the 50's included your cream cheese and olives (pieces of olives, not nicely arranged halves like your mom) - other variations were cream cheese and raisins as well as cream cheese and pecans. Loved the cream cheese and pecans. Sounds like a cheese ball, right? Also had the old standards of pbj, pimento cheese, egg salad and tuna salad. She froze the tuna salad sandwiches and tossed them into the lunch bag in the morning - by lunchtime they had defrosted with no fear of food poisoning!

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  6. My Mom's Cream Cheese & Olive Sandwich was made a little differently. She would chop the Olives, soften the Cream Cheese, and then mix with Mayo. Served cold or Hot when browned in a pan using butter! Great tasting, low calorie (ha) and good for you! Hope you are doing well in your new ventures...

    -The Pope

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    1. Too funny, I did not realize the Pope was following my blog. Very nice and hope all is well with you! Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. My mom use to make something called ham spread and sometimes she would pack that on a sandwich for my lunches. Liverwurst sandwiches with raw onions and mayo were the other lunches that set me apart from the other kids.

    I've never had an olive and cream cheese sandwich before. I'll have to try it! =)

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    1. I on occasion got a liverwurst sandwich only it was with mustard. I still love a good liverwurst sandwich! Thanks for stopping by!

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"Some people eat to live; I live to eat." -Tim Vidra

An avid home cook, I believe in using simple ingredients, local when possible and am inspired by the principles of supporting a sustainable food system. I’ve cultivated this blog as a way to share my passion for the preparation and enjoyment of food in a way that everyone from beginners to long time foodies can get involved in.

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