Tag Archives: sandwich

More Food Porn: Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

This one’s for Matthew, who has forgotten more about restaurants than I will ever know. Thanks for the company last night!

More Food Porn: Grilled Banana Sandwich

Honestly, I should just get a Tumblr account and be done with it.

This was decadent, by the way. In a good way.

More Food Porn: Green Madame

I’m elbow deep in writing, and haven’t the time or energy to do an in depth post. So instead, let me indulge in one of my base instincts – delicious, delicious food.

This is a Green Madame, an open-faced variation of the classic an Croque Madame with gruyere, collard greens and dijon crème fraîche, broiled on pain de mie and topped with a fried egg. This was one of the better breakfasts I’ve had in sometime. Alas, I had it in Boston, so it’s not readily available to me unless I make it myself.

More Food Porn: Pastrami and Chopped Liver Sandwich

Picture posted due to the plethora of political posts of late.

Well, that, and it was really a kick-ass sandwich.

Food Porn: Smoked Ham Sandwich

You know why by now, right?

The Histories of the Reuben

Is it possible that the one sandwich that people equate to New York City was actually developed at a poker table in Omaha, Nebraska?

There are several “discovery” stories involving the Reuben, most of them legendary, most of them false. The problem in discovering the truth is that there is often very little in the way of evidence to back most people’s claim. Oftentimes, the only evidence available are undated menus. So verifying any of the claims is simply not possible.

There are two basic stories out there, with variations and side stories that have evolved into urban legends. There’s the New York City stories and the Nebraska Stories. The New York Story is usually a variation of the story of Arnold Reuben, proprietor of Reuben’s Deli. One night, actress Annette Seelos came in, hungry and in need of something “different”. Mr. Reuben put together a sandwich that contained toasted and buttered slices of rye bread, added Virginia ham, roast turkey, Swiss cheese and cole slaw, spread on some Russian Dressing, and presented it to Ms. Seelos. Quick readers will note that this sandwich sounds less like a Reuben and more like a Rachel (A Rachel is a Reuben with Pastrami and Cole Slaw rather than corned beef and sauerkraut). However, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that this sandwich evolved into what is now known as the Reuben.

The Omaha story goes as follows. Local grocer Reuben Kulakofsky, while playing poker with his pals in tha backroom of the Blackstone Hotel, discovered that there was no lettuce available for the sandwiches. In an experimental mood, Kulakofsky used some sauerkraut that was on hand, and voila! – found that it worked very well with corned beef and swiss cheese.

Poker pal Charles Schimmel, the Blackstone’s owner, agreed with Kulalofsky, so much that he put it on the hotel’s restaurant menu, naming it after his friend and poker partner.

Fast forward thirty years or so. The National Sauerkraut Packers Association hold a sandwich contest, looking for the best sandwich using sauerkraut as an ingredient. Fern Snider, a one-time waitress at the Blackstone, entered the Reuben in the competition and promptly won, thus cementing the popularity of the Reuben nation-wide.

Both stories are great legends, and may or may not be true. But if I had to pick one over the other, I’d say the Omaha story sounds more believable. For one, there are no “celebrities” involved, simply some guy looking to find a replacement for lettuce whilst playing cards. As the cliche goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Of Earls and Sandwiches

The usually-dependable Ask Yahoo! gives a wrong answer today. When answering the question “What is the origin of the word ‘sandwich‘?”, they give the following tidbit of trivia:

The food item has little to do with the town, but with John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich. In fact, the first Earl of Sandwich (Edward Montagu) really wanted to call himself the Earl of Portsmouth, but for some reason, decided on Sandwich instead.

John Montagu didn’t shrink from enjoying life. It’s said that he was a corrupt, devil-worshiping sex fanatic who enjoyed gambling (he would have liked Vegas). The origin of the snack is attributed to his asking a waiter for meat between two slices of bread so he wouldn’t have to put his hand of cards down. Was he lazy or smart? Probably a little of both.

In actuality, meat and/or cheese on bread has been around since ancient times. As pointed out in the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture – “In fact, Montague was not the inventor of the sandwich; rather, during his excursions in the Eastern Mediterranean, he saw filled pita breads and small canapes and sandwiches served by the Greeks and Turks during their mezes, and copied the concept for its obvious conveninece.”

So why does the legend remain? Well for one, Montagu made it popular for the dish to be eaten by the upper class. From the gentleman’s clubs the finger food migrated into genteel society events such as a supper food for late night balls or finger food at low tea.

Plus, the legend has a bit of rebellous romance to it, what with Montagu being so involved with gambling, that he couldn’t be bothered to worry about a cooked meal.

But, officially? Montagu did NOT invent the sandwich. He merely popularized it amongst the upper crust – so to speak.

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