The True Significance of a Cucumber Sandwich

Yesterday I ate a cucumber sandwich. I made it myself from home-made wholemeal bread, spread with local unsalted butter, a cucumber fresh from the garden, a hint of sea-salt and a sprinkle of freshly-milled black pepper. It was accompanied by a cup of Darjeeling Second Flush, made from loose tea in a tea-pot, and drunk without milk or lemon. To some, that would have been a modest supper; to others a luxury that nuns — nuns, forsooth! — ought not to have. To me it was a Lucullan delight I enjoyed enormously; and therein lies its true significance.

It is very easy to go through life either indulging or denying oneself at every turn. The indulgers cast a scornful eye on the deniers and accuse them of being shrivelled up, joyless old so-and-sos, while the deniers avert their gaze from the indulgers, thinking them wastrels or worse. The truth is, the earth and everything in it was given to us to be enjoyed. But we, being human beings, tend to get it wrong and assume life should always be all pleasure or all pain. Of course, it is a mixture; and we are asked to be wise stewards of whatever we are given. The fact that we cannot solve all the world’s problems does not mean that we shouldn’t try to contribute to a solution where possible; nor should we refuse to take pleasure in the little joys and good things that come our way, any more than making them our only interest.

Part of me would have liked to have shared my cucumber sandwich with someone who was hungry, but that was largely an after-thought. At the time, it was sheer cucumbery bliss. It gave glory to God by being so; and I gave glory to God by eating it and giving thanks.

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14 thoughts on “The True Significance of a Cucumber Sandwich”

  1. I love the term ‘cucumbery bliss’ – will need to remember and use it when I next delight in a cucumber.
    You’re so right – it is indeed important to enjoy life, and to remember to count one’s blessings at the same time.

  2. When I read this I felt thoroughly chastised, which was not your intention so I will explain. Yesterday in the late afternoon after some energetic gardening I too ate a cucumber sandwich, made by me, with like yours, a cucumber from our garden. I ate it mindlessly while scrolling through messages on my smartphone. In retrospect I can say it was delicious, but I’m ashamed to say I hardly noticed nor appreciated it at the time. So your post has come as a timely reminder to take time to savour and be grateful for whatever is there in the present moment.

  3. As Rudyard Kipling said in one of his poems: “Teach us delight in simple things”.
    I am so glad you enjoyed your sandwich and I do hope you are feeling better.

  4. So glad you wrote this. First, because It is good to know you are feeling better. Second, because I almost looked up the recipe for what sounded like a simple but refreshing meal. The only thing I would change for me would be Yorkshire Gold tea.
    But the very best part is to know you enjoyed it and are feeling better and reminding us about balance, gratitude and joy.

  5. If some of you are like me:
    Did You Know?
    Lucullan echoes the name of Roman general Lucius Licinius Lucullus. The general had a distinguished military career (including the defeat of Mithradates VI Eupator, king of Pontus, at Cabira in 72 B.C.), but he is best remembered for the splendor of his opulent retirement. Lucullus established a reputation for magnificent banquets, at which he wined and dined the leading poets, artists, and philosophers of his time. His feasts were sufficiently extravagant to establish a lasting place for his name as a synonym of “lavish” in the English lexicon.

  6. Wonderful to read about your delight in something so simple and pleasurable and that in enjoying it you gave glory to God. It is an error to rush through such things without enjoyment or to ignore the sensation. There are so many lovely things we can enjoy without harming others or over indulging. I am sure that the cool refreshing taste of the cucumber is as much part of God’s plan as anything else.
    The trick is (I suppose) to enjoy and give praise to the creator…

  7. Shame on you, you incited the sin of envy (and I don’t even like cucumber!)

    I shall go in search of an appropriate
    alternative with a more suitable mindset.

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