Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vegetarian on St. Patrick’s Day

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve seen a number of restaurants advertising corned beef sandwiches and I started thinking out a sandwich I liked as a kid, the Reuben. A Reuben is a corned beef sandwich, typically served on pumpernickel, with thousand island dressing, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. The whole thing is then grilled.

The thing is, even when I ate meat, I didn’t like thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, or Swiss cheese. Or pumpernickel bread. I just liked the sound of a Reuben sandwich. So my mother would make it my way, on rye bread, with no condiments or cheese. You could say it was a corned beef sandwich. But I called it a Reuben.

One day when I was about 8 or 9, we had gone out to lunch and I ordered a Reuben. Without thousand island dressing, sauerkraut, or Swiss cheese. On rye. The waitress started arguing with me, that I wanted a corned beef sandwich. I insisted that I wanted my customized Reuben. It was like the toast scene in Five Easy Pieces.

I have no idea why this waitress felt the need to argue with a little girl. but when I saw that chefs at New York restaurants insist that customers eat their food the chef’s way, I thought I’d better make my own Reuben. And now I even like Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and pumpernickel bread, though I still hate thousand island dressing.

Yves Meatless Salami
Pumpernickel bread
Swiss cheese

Drink enough Guinness Stout and you won’t even notice the missing meat.

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