These delicious & clever retro party sandwiches are edible masterpieces from the 1950s & 60s

Flower pot sandwiches

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Party sandwiches have long been the unsung heroes of social gatherings, offering a canvas for culinary creativity and a surefire way to delight guests. From dainty tea sandwiches to hearty heroes (carefully divided), these bite-sized treats have always been perfect for mingling and munching. 

In the mid-century heyday of at-home entertaining, party sandwiches took on shapes and sizes that were as varied as the occasions they graced. Whether arranged in an eye-catching display or served as an assortment of flavors, each sandwich was a miniature masterpiece of taste and presentation.

Themes and creativity ran wild in the world of party sandwiches. In the collection here, you’ll find a whimsical patchwork quilt arrangement from 1959, where sandwiches were crafted to resemble a cozy quilt, each piece a different flavor. And for an even more next-level touch of whimsy, flower pot sandwiches from 1963 turned the humble sandwich into blooming bouquets of deliciousness.

Below, we’ve gathered these two vintage party sandwich ideas — and more! — for you to marvel at, and maybe even replicate for your next get-together.

Arrange party sandwiches like a patchwork quilt (1959)

Ladies, circle the table, and have a bee. Set out Best Foods and start to spread on squares and triangles of brown and white bread.

Different fillings make the pattern! Salami, sardines, eggs and cheese…anchovies, salmon, whatever you please!

Arrange party sandwiches like a patchwork quilt (1959)

Grand Slam bridge buffet mini party sandwiches (1960)

To make dainty and interesting sandwiches, cut bread, cold cuts and cheese into the shapes of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades with cookie cutters. (See some playing card cookie cutters here!) 

Sandwich together layers of meat with prepared cheese spreads, combine bread with meet and cheese slices, and there are your sandwiches. Serve with celery, olives, pickle slices, and carrot curls. A clever way to present a buffet that’s sure to please!

Make your own “Lazy Susan” by using a large and small plate and a stemmed glass as shown. (Recipe from Coca-Cola)

Grand Slam bridge buffet sandwiches (1960)

Poodle Heroes: Dog-shaped party sandwiches (1960)

Serve a buffet that’s the talk of the town! “Hero” sandwiches with sassy French poodle faces, placed around a make-believe poodle.

Here’s the pattern. 1. Head: sliced French roll. 2. Filling: cold cuts, cheese, pimiento, tomato, and Fanning’s Bread and Butter. Pickles. 3. Eyes and nose: black olives, attached with toothpick bits. 4. Ear: cold cut or tomato slices, held by toothpicks. 5. Pompon: trimmed parsley. 6. Spread: Hellmann’s Mayonnaise…

Poodle Centerpiece: Use two-thirds loaf of Italian or French bread for body, heel for head, slices for ears. Attach with toothpicks. Add French roll face. Stand on breadstick legs, parsley trimmed.

Poodle Heroes -party sandwiches from 1960

Hors d’Oeuvres pie – Sandwich slices (1960)

How to make this open-face party sandwich: Take a center slice from a round loaf of dark or white bread. Decorate with ring of deviled ham and egg salad.

Mix yellow processed cheese spread with softened butter, and pipe along the edges with a pastry tube. Garnish with cucumber slices, sliced green and black olives, cream cheese and a radish. Cut into wedges to serve. (Recipe from Coca-Cola)

Hors d'Oeuvres pie - Sandwich slices (1960)

How to make flower pot sandwiches (1963)

The calendar for May is full of parties for June graduates and June brides (sometimes they are one and the same). It is the time when we can be frivolous with our food and have as much fun preparing it as our guests have seeing and eating it.

Nanette Boyd’s tea table is always scrumptious. Her sandwich loaf is a work of art — and so delectable — filled with all sorts of pleasing surprises. Her Flower Pot Sandwiches are equally appealing, and make for lots of conversation.

The Boyds’ big, hospitable house seems to have been built just for parties. She never minds if the guest list runs into the hundreds. Bowls of fruit punch are easily accessible to the guests on the terrace, in the library, or in the sizable breakfast room, and the tea and coffee are served in the dining room.

You can let your imagination run wild creating your own sandwich spreads. Use them for finger sandwiches or a big Dagwood — you don’t have to make Flower Pots, but it surely is fun.

ALSO SEE: Frosted layered sandwich loaf (1965)

How to make cute flower pot sandwiches

Flower pot sandwiches – Vintage recipe (1972)

Recipe from The Austin American (Texas) May 28, 1972


Thin white and dark bread slices
Mayonnaise (no substitute)
Sweet ham filling
Date nut filling
Chopped egg filling
Radishes (for decorative flowers)
Cherry tomatoes (for decorative flowers)
Carrots (for decorative flowers)
Olives (for decorative flowers)
Parsley (for decorative flowers)
Celery (for decorative flowers)


Cut two 3-1/2-inch, one 3-inch, and two 2-1/2-inch rounds from five slices of bread with assorted sizes of cookie cutters. Spread with mayonnaise, and then with about half a cup of filling of your choice from those listed below.

Stack slices using smallest round on the bottom. Insert in top some decorative vegetables on a food pick or small skewer, arranging leaves as decoration. Garnish with more mayonnaise if desired.

Sweet ham sandwich filling recipe

1 cup ground ham
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon dry mustard

Combine all ingredients. Yields 1-1/2 cups filling.

Date nut sandwich filling recipe

1/2 cup finely chopped dates or prunes
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup mayonnaise

Combine all ingredients. Yields one cup filling.

Chopped egg sandwich filling recipe

3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/3 cup chopped, drained dill pickles
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon minced onion
l teaspoon capers

Combine all ingredients. Yields 1-3/4 cups filling.

Skyscraper sandwiches: Stacked layered sandwiches (1970)

Skyscraper sandwiches steal the Chicago party scene with un-copyable Miracle Whip salad dressing…

Prepare your favorite recipes for ham salad, egg salad and chicken salad, then cut a variety of bread slices into rounds the size of a pineapple slice (about 3-1/4″). Spread rounds lightly with soft butter or margarine.

For each sandwich, spread one round with ham salad, one with egg salad, and one with chicken salad. Stack layers on pineapple slice, top with bread round spread with softened cream cheese. Garnish as desired. 

Skyscraper sandwiches - Stacked layered sandwiches from 1970

Party salad sandwiches – these feed a crowd! (1966)

Here’s a trio of loaves to feed the multitudes! It’s an idea you will want to use all summer long.

Much of the preparation can be done ahead; then, at serving time, you just assemble the salad sandwiches, and fix a beverage. With sherbet or a bowl of fresh fruit, and cookies, for dessert, you may decide it’s one of the easiest suppers you’ve ever served!

Polynesian Salad Loaf, at bottom, is a happy twist to chicken salad, with bamboo shoots in the filling, mandarin oranges and green pepper on top. Just before serving, you sprinkle on the toasted almonds in the little pewter bowl, for flavor and crunch. That green ruffle with the “designer look” is tender Bibb lettuce.

1960s party salad sandwiches - Polynesian salad loaf

Golden Gate Salad Loaf, in center, features bologna, probably the most popular cold cut of all. Large chunks of the meat and sliced crisp radishes are tossed with mayonnaise or salad dressing, and pickle relish. Then the salad is spooned into half a French loaf lined with shredded lettuce. Radish accordions and pickle slices for trim.

Rocky Mountain Salad Loaf, at top, copies the Western note of this trio. It pairs those two favorites, canned peach halves and smoky ham, with triangles of nutty-flavored Swiss cheese providing an attractive design. Leaf lettuce is used as a salad base, and watercress as garnish. That delicate pink dressing is chili-spiked mayonnaise. (From Better Homes & Gardens, July 1966)

1960s party salad sandwiches - Golden Gate and Rocky Mountain salad loaves

Harlequin tea party sandwiches (1973)

To set up a production line for Harlequin Sandwiches, give your family a selection of cookie or biscuit cutters, slices of whole wheat and white sandwich breads, and heaping bowls of sandwich fillings: deviled ham, peanut butter & apple, and tuna. Then let everyone mix and match breads and fillings to his heart’s content.

To decorate the tops of the sandwiches, supply colorful pimiento strips, snipped parsley, and green pepper. (From Better Homes & Gardens, January 1973)

Harlequin sandwiches for a party (1973)

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