I grew up on sandwiches. I feel many of us who were kids in the 1960s and 1970s, and later, too, would cite sandwiches as a basic food group for our families. My mother was a big fan of deli meat sandwiches, particularly favoring olive or pimiento loaf. She also loved BLTs with homegrown tomatoes. My father became enamored with Maid-Rite sandwiches during the time he was in college in Iowa. He would master creating the iconic Iowan diner’s loose meat sandwiches in our kitchen, and we continued to eat them when we moved to his hometown, Evansville.
We don’t have Maid-Rite diners in Indiana, so you won’t find a mention of that sandwich in the feature, “Enjoy Every Sandwich” on page 46. And I do not now regularly enjoy them at home, though I see that changing. (Make your own Maid-Rite sandwich with the recipe below.) But you will see plenty of sandwiches — Evansville has its own epochal varieties — to inspire your next meal out or creation on your own cutting board.
My mother also fed us sugar sandwiches. Today, making a sandwich from sugar and butter would not cross our minds, and that is too bad. A sugar sandwich tastes so sweet and is so simple to make: sliced white bread spread with real butter (softened from sitting on the counter) and sprinkled with pure granulated sugar. In my early adult years, I recall musing if my sisters and I were served sugar sandwiches as a treat or because we were stretching our food budget. My mother was a child of the Great Depression when butter and sugar were rationed, so I think the simple, sweet sandwich remained a treat for her.
We asked around the office to see which sandwiches were favored among the staff here at Evansville Living. My husband, Todd, favors the Chicken Souvlakia from Knob Hill Tavern in Newburgh, Indiana. Creative Director Laura Mathis prefers the club sandwich from Friendship Diner, while Sales and Marketing Coordinator Logen Sitzman is a fan of the French dip. Graphic Designer and Advertising Administrator Morgan Dean’s favorite sandwich is the pesto grilled cheese from the Daily Grind. You can find Senior Writer John Martin devouring the tenderloin at the Peephole Bar & Grill, while down the street at Subway, Distribution and Circulation Manager Gregg Martin goes big with an Italian BMT with pepper jack, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, banana peppers, salt and pepper, and oil and vinegar.
Senior Account Executive Jennifer Rhoades enjoys tucking into the chicken salad sandwich on a croissant at Honey Moon Coffee Co. while Account Executive Jessica Hoffman favors a Lyleboli from The Sportsden. Managing Editor Jodi Keen thinks the chicken shawarma sandwich at Kabob Xpress is divine. But Staff Writer Maggie Valenti says nothing beats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, made at home.
Spring soon will be here. Enjoy every sandwich! As always, I look forward to hearing from you.
Kristen K. Tucker
Publisher & Editor
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Making it Right: Make the Famous Midwest Diner Sandwich at Home
Born in 1926, the Maid Rite sandwich today is served at 31 diners in Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, and Ohio. But you can also make it at home; a quick internet search will yield many recipes with similarities.
I settled on a recipe from Cooking with Carlee as it looked most like what my dad made at home. All you need are the ingredients, a large skillet, and simple buns – plain buns, is what I say, not fancy.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 pound ground beef, 85/15 mix preferred
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup water
1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1. Mix all ingredients in a large skillet.
2. Brown over medium heat until meat is cooked through and most of the liquid is evaporated, about 15 minutes.
3. Adjust salt to your liking (likely adding salt if you are not keeping a low-salt diet).
4. Serve on buns with desired toppings. If using American cheese, put a slice on the bottom bun. Some people like sliced onions, pickles, and ketchup on top.
This recipe makes six sandwiches but can easily be scaled. For large groups, meat can be served from a slow cooker to keep it hot. Use two hands and enjoy!