Monday, September 27, 2010

Is The Reuben The Mecca Of All Things Sandwich?

Back when I was 13 me and my friends used to work at a nearby golf course as caddies during the summer, carrying rich peoples golf bags for close to four hours a day. Hard work. Afterwards, fresh with a lump of hard earned cash in our pockets, we'd walk into town and head to our local deli to order gut-busting sandwiches for lunch. My weapon of choice was usually a Turkey, Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo on a hero or what we called a 'Wedge', to which I would add a bag of BBQ chips and a large bottle of Coca-Cola. My two friends, Peter and Larry (attached at the hip) always liked to one-up each other by ordering something different each day, a sort-of anything you can eat I can do better (?) kind of thing. Mostly I just ignored them both because they're act usually became a bit tiresome, besides I needed to concentrate on my own sandwich. Anyway one fine late summer day, as schools were getting close to opening, the boys introduced me to a sandwich that consisted of Rare Roast Beef (the redder the better baby) and Cole Slaw on Rye. At first I was a bit skeptical because up until that point I had never really had Cole Slaw or Roast Beef for that matter, but it was the fact that the sandwich was on Rye bread that caused me to have the most pause. You see we were always looking for the biggest pieces of bread we could find. Gigantic rolls that could have sailed the seven seas just like a submarine, so it went against all our unwritten rules to request puny little slices of Rye bread. However I relented and I was sure glad I did.  For years after that day, whenever I would order that sandwich, it would happily bring me back to my days at Bedford Golf & Tennis even if it did make me think of Peter and Larry. How was I to know it would open me up to a much grander world? Not quite as easy to remember is how exactly I got turned onto an actual Reuben. Was it at Katz? Was it just dumb luck? Perhaps, but the rest is history. It is in fact my favorite sandwich of all time. Now I am talking about a real Reuben, not a Rachel Reuben or a Roast Beef Reuben (the original sandwich that I was first introduced to). The Reuben that was first created in.....New York? Or was it Omaha, Nebraska? Nebraska, really? Well actually there are conflicting reports so no one is really sure. The sandwich dates back to at least the early 20's (whether it's NY or Neb), so it is basically an American institution at this point. A traditional Reuben is made with Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss Cheese and Russian or Thousand Island dressing and often times is grilled kind of like a Panini. Some people substitute the Corned Beef for Pastrami, also incredibly delicious, but that lead to the Rachel which uses Pastrami and Cole Slaw instead of the Sauerkraut. All good. I don't exactly remember why I started thinking about this, maybe it was a dream, or quite possibly it was my blogging friend Keri over at , her wonderful blog dedicated to the worlds greatest invention, the sandwich. All I know is that every time I read it I start craving for sandwiches...thanks Keri. Oh and thank you Reuben, you are the best (the sandwich, not the person).

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