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The History of Cucumber Sandwiches

While it remains unverified, a popular origin story holds that British soldiers in India in the mid-1800s would eat sandwiches made with local cucumbers alongside hot tea. Eventually, cucumber sandwiches became popular among the wealthy elite in Victorian England. Native to India, cucumbers were expensive and difficult to access in England nor did they provide much sustenance, so they remained the domain of the rich for quite some time. Cucumber sandwiches eventually became more widely popular in the early 1900s as increased industrialization and the ability to grow cucumbers in hothouses made them more affordable and accessible than they had been previously. Over time, an Americanized version that uses cream cheese was developed and many recipes also call for fresh dill to add flavor. Yet despite the availability and affordability of the ingredients today, cucumber sandwiches are still associated with British-style high tea service and are often only served at fancy events such as brunches, luncheons, and baby showers.

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