Try, try again – Reuben sandwiches

I have this weird thing where it drives me crazy not to like a food. Growing up, there were distinct dishes I didn’t like and while originally, I hated having to “at least try the dish again,” it did stick with me.

I taught myself to enjoy certain things over the years that I likely would’ve never tried again after my first brush with the foods. Often times, it was just a matter of bad preparation the first time. Other times, I’m sure my tastes had changed and I got lucky.

~~For the record, it took me at least 10 years to finally be able to eat and enjoy raw carrots. My mom would buy them for me a couple times a year when I requested the chance, knowing I didn’t like them, but not going to turn me down when she knew I desperately wanted to like them. I still can’t stand celery. ~~

Sauerkraut is a food I was presented with in a single way, over and over again, and I found it absolutely disgusting. It came in a bag, cooked on the stove in a big pot for what seemed like all day, and only contained sliced polish sausage. The smell was horrifying, but the taste was even worse. And because it cooked for so long, even trying to pick the meat out was impossible because it soaked up all the nastiness.

(This looks like heaven compared to what I remember the soggy mush with bloated slivers of sausage. via

So gross. For anyone that loves sauerkraut or has had it fresh or even had it in a halfway presentable way, you can understand why I avoided the food for years. Not that the opportunity arises often for me to have it anyway, but I certainly wasn’t going to go out of my way to have it in any way, shape, or form.

But then I made the mistake of reminiscing the awful mistake, exchanging stories with a friend who grew up with fresh sauerkraut. “So you’ve never had a Reuben sandwich before?” Uh, no.

Of course, that was put on the menu for the night and I was soon having my first taste of sauerkraut in at least 10 or 15 years. Now we weren’t having fresh, but it wasn’t like the stuff I remembered either. When they opened the can, I braced myself for the whole room to fill with pungent odor, but surprisingly, I could actually sniff the can up close without gagging, and even sneaked a bite. It had crunch….how weird, lol!

When it was all said and done, the sandwich was surprisingly tasty. It was probably just the grill marks, though, huh? Everything tastes better with grill marks.

How to make Reuben sandwiches

– Pile heavy amounts of either corned beef or pastrami onto rye bread. Every picture I’ve seen has large amounts of meat, so I have a feeling that the version I had above was actually on the light side, lol.

– Add a layer of sauerkraut. I’ve been told that Steinfeld’s is a good brand, if you don’t make your own. I imagine most of us don’t, but when done correctly, it’s apparently amazing.

– Add cheese! Swiss is traditional, but I’d imagine others could work, too.

– Russian or Thousand Island dressing goes on in there someone, too, but I don’t know between which layers it should go? We didn’t have dressing, so I guess that’s sorta cheating.

– Grill and enjoy!

^ Those potatoes had an amazing peri peri rub on them, by the way. Delicious meal that I was prepared to grin and bear my way through, lol.


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