My grandmother and great-aunt had an apartment together on the top floor of 34 Morton Street in New York City in 1941. It was a nice walk-up apartment building, and they paid $80 for it.

They were very frugal, and so had various dishes they cooked together that they considered their specialties. One was called “Slum Gulligan,” made from corn, and green pepper, and baked like a custard. Another they called “34 Morton Street Specials.”

My father recreated the latter over the holidays in appetizer form, though you can also make a larger version. They go like this…


First you toast some bread. Simple white bread is ideal. These are not called Healthy Street Specials. It’s Morton. Remember that.

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You will want to toast them low and slow, about 250 degrees F, so they dry out and stay crunchy (you are going to be putting mayonnaise on these babies).

Then, as if you were feeding a picky six year old, you will remove the crusts.

Then, on goes 1 thick slice of cheddar cheese.

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And you will slice this whole affair into four squares. Once…

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Like so.

Next comes…

Can you guess?

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BACON. Aren’t you glad I said bacon and not deer liver today? This you will cook low and slow also. Really low, really slow, maybe for 30 minutes or so. Trust me, it makes the texture so even and lovely.

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Then you will break them into small bits, so that one fits on each small square.

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Then comes your tomato slices. Certain particularly fastidious people dry theirs on paper towel so the tomato doesn’t soak through the bread and make it soggy.

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They shall remain anonymous.

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Now you assemble your little squares.

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1 = bread, 2 = mayonnaise, 3 = tomato, 4 = bacon, 5 = cheese.

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And you put them on a rack or sheet tray and melt them for about 4 minutes.


The surface of the cheese will just begin to bubble and your heart will fill with glee. That’s when you know they are ready.

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Then you take this tray and pass them around to all your guests and eat one for every one you give away.

“34 Morton Street Specials”

Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings: 4 bites per piece of bread


  • White bread
  • Cheddar cheese thickly sliced
  • Mayonnaise
  • Tomatoes sliced
  • Bacon cooked crispy and broken into 2 inch pieces


  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  • Place the bread on an oven rack and toast until golden and well dried. Let cool.
  • Place a slice of cheese on top of each toast and cut into four squares.
  • Remove the cheese from the bread, slather a healthy dose of mayonnaise onto each square of toast, then top with a tomato slice, piece of bacon and square of cheese.
  • Return to the oven and cook for approximately 4 minutes more until the cheese bubbles. Serve immediately!