The sandwich itself looks unassuming: simple white bread, cream cheese, and a chaotic pile of roughly chopped green olives. Yes, the olive and cream cheese sandwich from Manhattan lunch counter S&P, which Bon Appétit restaurant editor and famed sandwich enthusiast Elazar Sontag reported on weeks ago, appears humble. But the response to posts by BA and Elazar on social media has revealed that it’s much more than a sandwich. Thousands of comments poured in, heralding it as a beloved childhood snack, the centerpiece of precious memories that brought people back to happy, care-free, and brinier times. 

Photograph by Alex Huang, Food Styling by Mieko Takahashi

Somehow this three-ingredient sandwich was a vital emotional touchstone for people worldwide. Olive and cream cheese sandwich lovers recalled eating the creamy-salty snack around the world, from New York to Lebanon to California to Argentina.

“What you need is pumpernickel bread and olives-it was the perfect sandwich when I worked in NYC in the 70s!”

“My grandmother always made these for me, and then for my daughter. We both love it, but other people think it’s disgusting.”

“Born and raised on cream cheese & olive sandwiches. Got some weird looks when I got it in my lunchbox but truly a favorite still!”

“I’ve had a rough week missing mom who passed away ten years ago and this sandwich just made me tear up. I can picture her in her tennis outfit eating this with a Diet Pepsi.”

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