Updating a Favorite American Sandwich

March 08 00:00 2005 Print This Article

Thanks to the fourth Earl of Sandwich, the English get credit for inventing this now international favorite. We must also thank our British forefathers for bringing sandwiches to the Colonies, where we proceeded to perfect this efficient and handy creation.

Sandwich recipes appeared in American cookbooks as early as 1816. By the time of the Civil War, they became quite commonplace. Popular fillings were as diverse as oysters, minced beef, fried eggs, jam, watercress and cheese. Sandwiches themselves were either dainty and bite-size and offered from a passed plate at teatime, ladies luncheons, or midnight suppers, or they were big and manly. (The Earl of Sandwich invented his namesake so he could eat without interruptions at the gambling table.) Taverns and bars served hefty ones filled with slabs of ham or beef and were substantial enough to make a meal.

Proving there is seldom anything new in the culinary world, in 1893, according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Mrs. Alexander Orr Bradley included a sandwich filled with imported Italian canned tuna in her cookbook, Beverages and Sandwiches. During the 1890s, salad fillings for sandwiches also became widely used. Creativity in filling and assembling sandwiches continued to flourish and in 1936, one cookbook included 1,000 sandwich recipes.

Commercially-sliced bread, introduced in the late 1920s, made assembling a sandwich even easier. And children could now make their own lunch without using a knife, truly cementing the popularity of sandwiches in school lunchboxes.

About the same time, a loose meat sandwich served by an Iowa restaurant chain gained popularity. Then someone added ketchup to the ground meat, and the Sloppy Joe was born. Today, along with lean ground turkey, onions and green pepper, you can add a jalapeo pepper and ground cumin to make a Sloppy Jos, or mushrooms, oregano and grated Parmesan for a

Sloppy Giuseppi. Any version makes a perfect one-dish meal, one that includes at least three kinds of vegetables, plus plenty of fiber when you use a whole-grain bun.

Turkey Joes


  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup mesquite or other smoky barbecue sauce
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 whole-wheat hamburger buns, grilled or toasted
  • 6 thin onion slices, for garnish (optional)
  • Shredded lettuce, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saut the onion and pepper until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saut until the vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add the turkey and cook, using a wooden spoon to break it up and stirring until it loses its pink color, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and barbecue sauce.
  2. Simmer vigorously until the mixture is thick, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If not using immediately, refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in a microwave oven before using.
  3. Place the bottom of each bun on a plate. Spoon over each equal amounts of the meat mixture. Top with the onion and some lettuce, if using. Cover with the top of the bun or set it to lean on one side of the meat topping. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving:
290 calories,
9 g. total fat (2 g. saturated fat),
35 g. carbohydrate,
18 g. protein,
5 g. dietary fiber,
541 mg. sodium.

Source: AICR

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