The local paper had an article about St Patrick's Day foods. First up is Corned Beef and Cabbage, which is only sort of Irish. It used to be called a New England Boiled Dinner. Corned beef was packaged in Ireland, yes, but it was packed for export. The Irish didn't get to see most of it, as they were too poor. But being in such constant contact with something nice you couldn't have made it a very precious food in their eyes, so when people made a little money, first in America and then back in Eire, it was eaten with great joy. It became traditional for special occasions. Makes complete sense to me. If I was employed making something valuable that I couldn't have myself, that would loom large on my list of desirable items.
Also listed was the Reuben sandwich. I love Reubens and might make them for St Pat's Day if they're now traditional. They sound completely authentic, don't they? Marbled rye bread from Cork. Sauerkraut from County Winslow. Swiss cheese from the Irish Alps. Thousand Island dressing from the St Lawrence River in Irish Canada (though some consider Russian dressing to be more authentic).
I love everything about the Reuben sandwich, except for the Thousand Island dressing. I always ask for Spicy Mustard on mine.
If you go the spicy mustard route up here in NH, some restaurants are instantly sure you must want hot pastrami and no sauerkraut. It's not at all universal, but I have encountered this at three separate restaurants in separate towns over (admittedly many) years.
This always befuddles me, because it sometimes reminds me that I would actually like a hot pastrami even more. Not that different, but enough. So I stand there uncertain how important the sauerkraut is to me at this one moment.
This alerts me to the possibilities of kiosk ordering. They will not have to improve much before they can give us much greater flexibility on these things, and we will get used to them and become addicted - until the day when the kiosk cannot understand a simple difference that a live fourth-grader could manage at the counter.
I don't care where Reubens came from, they're a triumph of culture. No problem switching ingredients out, either. I like pastrami instead of corned beef, but if the cold cuts are salty and there's some kind of pickled vegetable and melted cheese and tart bread and mayo that's been made sweet and sour somehow, I'm on board. Almost the only way to ruin one is to put it on bland squishy bread. Put it on decent bread and toast that puppy.
Actually it's pretty much like a Cuban sandwich. Nothing wrong there. Lately I've been making ham and cheese sandwiches on toasted bread with a mixture of sweet relish and horseradish sauce. Avocado, too, if I've got it. It's a rare sandwich that's not improved by avocado.
With pastrami it's called a Rachel. There's a deli about a mile from me that does Reubens, Rachels and all manner of delights.
I haven't gone for lunch downtown in over a year. The last time I drove near our group's favorite burger/reuben/whatnot place it was disfigured w/ BLM-sloganed plywood, but that was months ago.
It has been too long. I should see if Gus' reuben is good.
I love corned beef and was raised on the New England Boiled Dinner. But recently I tried roasting a corned beef in the oven after browning it, and was very pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I'm going to do it again to make sure it wasn't completely accidental, but if it works out I'm prepared to declare it superior.
Reubens, well, of course they're sublime, with either the hot mustard or the creamy dressing. Schilo's is the place to get it in San Antone, they've been practicing making them for over 100 years now.
Dang! I was hoping for Ruben's paintings.
I had what a local deli/bakery here calls a Reuben for lunch today, largely due to this post. It was OK, but the craving is intact. Considering where I live, I will probably have to make it myself.
I read years ago that corned beef is actually Jewish, and has no real connection with the Irish. The association in peoples minds came from the comic strip Maggie and Jiggs, about an Irish couple who loved corned beef. I vaguely remember the strip, and I think Jiggs did love corned beef. Dunno if that is true or not, but it would be an amazing connection to develop just from a comic strip.
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