America’s Culinary Food Stories-The Reuben Sandwich

America is a melting pot that was formed by the hard-working people who migrated here from lands as far east as China and Japan, as far north as Russia and Europe. They utilized American supplies and prepared them in ways that they had prepared them in their homeland.
True American food is a collection of these culinary traditions passed down from generation to generation”.Each culture brought its cooking methods, food, and spices to America. They farmed the soil, hunted game, and incorporated their ways into the food of America.

The Reuben sandwich is a grilled sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. It is associated with kosher-style delicatessens, but it is not kosher, because it combines meat and cheese. However, the Jewish delis are famous for serving this sandwich.

One story about the origin of this sandwich reports that Reuben Kulakofsky (his first name sometimes spelled Reubin; his last name sometimes shortened to Kay), a Jewish Lithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, asked for a sandwich made of corned beef and pastrami at his weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel sometime around 1920.

The hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel, and his son, who worked in the kitchen, made the sandwich for him, adding swiss cheese and thousand islands dressing, and put the whole thing on rye bread. The sandwich gained local fame when Schimmel put it on Blackstone’s lunch menu, and its fame spread when a former employee of the hotel won the national sandwich idea contest with the recipe. In Omaha, March 14 was proclaimed Reuben Sandwich Day.

Another account says that Reuben’s creator was Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of Reuben’s Delicatessen (1908–2001) in New York City. According to an interview with The New York Tines’ Craig Claiborne, Arnold Reuben created the “Reuben Special” around 1914.

Bernard Sobel in his 1953 book, Broadway Heartbeat: Memoirs of a Press Agent, states that the sandwich was a spur-of-the-moment creation for Marjorie Rambeau when the famed Broadway actress visited the Reuben’s Delicatessen one night when the cupboards were particularly bare.

Still, other versions give credit to Alfred Scheuing, a chef at Reuben’s Delicatessen, and say he created the sandwich for Reuben’s son, Arnold Jr., in the 1930s.

Corned Beef

Though it’s not known precisely where corned beef was invented, its ties to Ireland run deep. One of the earliest recorded references to the meat product was a Gaelic poem of the 12th century, and the country was the top producer of salt-cured beef for many years. It most likely came about when people began preserving meat through salt-curing. Evidence of its legacy is apparent in numerous cultures, including ancient Europe and the Middle East. The word corn derives from Old English and refers to the coarse, granular salts used to cure the beef

The industrial production of corned beef started in the British Industrial Revolution. Irish corned beef was used and traded extensively from the 17th century to the mid-19th century for British civilian consumption and as provisions for the British naval fleets and North American armies due to its nonperishable nature. The product was also traded to the French, who used it in their colonies in the Caribbean as sustenance for both the colonists and enslaved laborers.

The Original Reuben Sandwich

From Saveur Magazine

Ingredients

3 tbsp. sauerkraut, well drained
3 tbsp. Thousand Island dressing
2 slices dark rye bread
Unsalted butter softened
4 thin slices of Emmenthaler Swiss cheese
4 slices Jewish-style corned beef, or more to taste
Optional for serving: kosher dill pickle, potato chips, radishes

Instructions

In a small bowl, mix the sauerkraut with the Thousand Island dressing. Set aside.
Spread one side of each bread slice generously with softened butter. Place 1 slice on a clean work surface with the unbuttered side facing up. Top it with two slices of cheese, the corned beef, the sauerkraut, and then the remaining cheese. Top with the remaining bread slice, buttered side up.
Heat a small skillet, griddle, or grill pan to medium-high. Melt a thin layer of butter in the skillet, or brush the grill pan with melted butter. Once hot but not yet smoking, transfer the sandwich into the pan and cook, pressing down occasionally with a spatula and flipping as needed, until the bread is browned evenly on both sides and the cheese is fully melted, about 5 minutes per side.
Transfer to a plate, slice in half, and serve immediately. Garnish the plate with the pickle, potato chips, and radishes if desired.

My Version Of The Reuben Sandwich

2 Sandwiches

Ingredients

2 tablespoons deli mustard
2 slices of rye bread, lightly toasted
½ lb cooked corned beef, sliced thin, warmed in the microwave
4 oz sauerkraut. warmed in the microwave
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup Russian dressing
Dill Pickles

Directions

Preheat the oven’s broiler to low, and move the oven rack to the highest position.
Cover a small baking pan with aluminum foil.
Place the toasted bread on the pan and spread it with deli mustard.
Distribute the corned beef slices evenly on top of the bread.
Spread the dressing over the meat and then spread the sauerkraut over the dressing.
Top each sandwich with 2 slices of swiss cheese.
Place the sandwiches under the broiler until the cheese melts about 2-3 minutes.
Serve with dill pickles fries or onion rings.

 

Originally posted at Jovina Cooks Italian