Revisiting the long-ago school lunchbag

Raymond and the Heinz Sandwich Spread

Here is Raymond with one of our supermarket finds, a throwback to the school lunches of our respective childhoods: Heinz Sandwich Spread!

My recent post about Raymond and me re-creating a meal we both loved during our respective childhoods, wieners and beans, resulted in some fun comments from you fine readers. It seems a lot of people have fond feelings toward good old wieners and beans!

As the comment thread wended its way along, it got onto the subject of another good thing worth revisiting from everybody’s childhood: boloney (or baloney, or bologna if you want to get all fancy about it) sandwiches. Who among us didn’t have those in our school lunches? And from there the comments wandered over to fried boloney (and of course the necessity of cutting some slashes into the edges so that they didn’t kind of bunch up in the pan).

Man, all those things are the stuff of my lunchtimes as a kid here at the Manse, and as a lunchbox-carrying student at Madoc Township Public School and Madoc Public School.

And I was vaguely thinking about that during a recent leisurely Saturday-morning grocery trip to the Madoc Foodland. When we have time, Raymond and I both like to tackle the grocery store slowly, to see what new things we might come across. Or, in this case, old things. Because we found two more products that took us straight back to long-ago lunchtimes.

The first was Heinz Sandwich Spread. Do you remember it? (And if you do, a question: Didn’t it used to be Kraft Sandwich Spread?) I swear I had sandwiches made with that stuff for about three years straight during elementary school. As I recall, it was a rather sweet mixture, like a combination of Miracle Whip and relish and maybe some red pimiento. (Come to think of it, that’s probably exactly what it was.) Anyway, I was astounded to discover that it is still being produced, and it made me smile to discover it tucked into a rather obscure shelf in the Madoc supermarket.

Later I found myself in the deli section examining the differing types of boloney on offer (did you know there is chicken boloney?) and some of the other luncheon meats of my past. Which, given that it was almost time for luncheon – I love that word – were looking pretty appetizing right here in the present. And I spotted one that made me start with a combination of horror and delight, because a) I’d utterly forgotten about it and b) if distant memory serves, it is evilly delicious.

It was, of course, macaroni and cheese loaf.

Macaroni and cheese loaf

A much-loved (though when you think about it, kind of weird) cold cut from my long-ago childhood: macaroni and cheese loaf!

Raymond looked puzzled. He’d never heard of macaroni and cheese loaf. And truth be told, he looked even more puzzled when I explained that it was a loaf of luncheon meat with pieces of, yes, macaroni and cheese in it. Let’s just say he didn’t leap at the prospect of buying a few slices and trying it out.

And I resisted the urge too. For the time being. But you know, while I think I can safely live out my days without ever eating a Heinz Sandwich Spread sandwich again, I am pretty sure there is a sandwich made of macaroni and cheese loaf sometime in my not-too-distant future.

12 thoughts on “Revisiting the long-ago school lunchbag

  1. Poor Raymond, to think that he grew up in a country where they didn’t have macaroni and cheese loaf! What a backward country the USA must be. We are in the deep south where mac and cheese is listed in the choice of vegetable in fancy restaurants. It is true. On Tuesday night we went to “82 Queen” a fancy evening eatery located at, wait for it, 82 Queen Street in Charleston SC. On their menu along with items that i cannot pronounce we noticed that one of the choices as sides as a vegetable was mac and cheese.

    • If you ask me, mac and cheese on the menu in any location – vegetable or otherwise – is a happy occurrence! Raymond’s a big mac and cheese fan (I make a pretty good version, if I do say so myself) but he was still pretty befuddled at the idea of mashing it in with luncheon meat.

  2. Before I’d gotten more than a few words into your paragraph about the deli meats, and before I’d seen the photo, the words “mac and cheese” were going through my head. I hate to admit it, but it was always my favourite luncheon meat. The deli near me does not sell it (just as well, since it’s not terribly nutritious and it is quite fattening, but soooo good). Also, Kraft still makes the sandwich spread, but I can’t say I’ve seen it in a while. It can be bought on Amazon, if one needs it that badly.

    http://www.amazon.com/Kraft-Sandwich-Spread-15-Ounce-Jars/dp/B003VN5AL2

    Another favourite: Hellman’s mayonnaise. Why are all of these old-fashioned favourites so fattening and so tempting?

    • Oh yes, Hellman’s is wonderful. (Especially if you happen to be a person – like me – who fails utterly at every attempt to make homemade mayonnaise.) And about the Kraft Sandwich Spread available through Amazon (in the U.S.): interesting. I really could have sworn the stuff I ate as a kid was made by Kraft. I wonder if Heinz subsequently took over the sandwich-spread franchise from Kraft in Canada.

  3. And pimento loaf? I preferred it to mac and cheese loaf. It had bits of green olive and red pimento – and did it have pickle too?
    I’m curious, did you buy and try the sandwich spread? I succumbed to a similar bout of nostalgia and purchased sandwich spread in a little groceteria (remember them?) on our summer camp trip. It was disgusting.

    • Oh yes, pimento loaf – I would never have thought of that again if you hadn’t mentioned it, Lindi! I would guess no to the pickle option – I think it was essentially pimiento-filled olives sliced and mashed into the “loaf” material. But now I am going to have to try to locate it to find out for sure. Ah, some good sandwich-eating lies ahead. As for your experiment as an adult with sandwich spread – too funny!

  4. The fact that I love mac and cheese loaf blows my kids away, but yes–I still buy it now and then. Here’s my recipe for a mac and cheese loaf sandwich: butter a slice of supermarket white bread, very lightly toasted if you prefer. Top with two or three slices of mac and cheese loaf, then another piece of bread. No other condiment should intrude. While I’m at it, I’ll get my two other main trashy food pleasures out of the way: President’s Choice white cheddar mac & cheese and hot dogs. Which makes it appear I’m stuck in some sort of salty, fatty, mystery-meaty luncheon feedback loop…

    • Thank you for the excellent recipe for mac-and-cheese-loaf sandwiches, Nancy, and – hot dogs! Yes! I adore them too. I suggest them as a meal far more often than is good for me. Raymond thinks I’m nuts. But they are evilly delicious – just like mac and cheese loaf!

  5. I remember the sandwich spread very well. It always seemed rather upscale to me and I thought it was delicious. (Our diet was generally very bland.) I recall another, similar product, but I cannot remember what was the name of it. It was slightly orange. Perhaps made by Heinz?

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