Tuesday, August 21, 2012


A Regional Delicacy

Hey, remember when Roseanne worked at the Lanford Lunch Box, selling "loose-meat" sandwiches? That's not even the least appealing name for said Iowa-centric treat! It's also been called a "steamed hamburger," a "tavern sandwich," or, um "Maid-Rite." Tom Arnold and Roseanne even opened a loose-meat restaurant during their brief, ill-fated marriage.*

*We (Jane and Nicole) cried a little during his appearance at her Comedy Central roast. He said "thanks for letting me sit on your couch for a little while." Closure! Forgiveness! Redemption!

95 Comments / Post A Comment

Siobhan Perricone@facebook

I LOVE Maidrites! Some of the best lunch days at school were maidrite days! :)


I know that I really do love steamed things (pork buns holla), but it's hard to get past the idea of steamed hamburger. Then again, I love Denver sandwiches. (Although now that I've googled it to make sure I was calling it the right name, it looks like real Denver sandwiches are very little like the ones we make at home? As usual. THANKS MOM. Our Denver sandwiches are just ground beef mixed with some egg and seasonings and then fried in a pan, served open-faced. None of this omelette nonsense.)

In other news, good god, the Midwest confuses me sometimes. *twiddles thumbs in California*


@frigwiggin Who else has parents who doctor up traditional recipes to the point of unrecognizability? I didn't learn that huevos rancheros don't usually come with leftover chili verde until I was in my twenties.


@frigwiggin I had no idea that lentil soup was not traditionally eaten with cheddar cheese on top until college.


@frigwiggin You've never had White Castle? Steamed hamburgers are the ultimate food.


@boyofdestiny It's Krystle, below the Mason-Dixon Line.


@boyofdestiny Nope! I have been to the Midwest...three times. It looks like the closest White Castle to me is about 2,000 miles away! *contentedly munches on In-N-Out*


@MoonBat OH MY GOD so that's why Krystal burgers are grey and taste like gym socks and despair! Steaming!


@iceberg Ohmigod you tried to eat one before Last Call, didn't you? NEVER EAT KRYSTAL BURGERS UNTIL AFTER LAST CALL.

It's a rule. Or something.


@MoonBat It's like Waffle House. There should be a "You must be this drunk to eat this food" sign outside with little pictures of shots.

OMG WAFFLE HOUSE. I think I need to get drunk tonight.


@OhShesArtsy Wait, I'll drink and go to Waffle House with you!
(ok, actually I'll go to Waffle House pretty much any time. Pecan waffles, always).


@MoonBat Cheesy eggs and buttered cinnamon toast and grits, oh my!


Let's go.
Right now.


@OhShesArtsy My friend swears that the Waffle House uses that god awful color of yellow in their signs so that drunk people know where to stop. I believe it.


@MoonBat OH, my diet hates this conversation...

@boysplz That sounds like the best explaination for those terrible corporate colors I could ever imagine.


@OhShesArtsy You guuuyyyysss! Mmmm, scattered and smothered.


@frigwiggin I'm in the same boat/on the same coast as you. I don't know what half the interesting Americana foods are.

*sprinkles kumamoto oysters with champagne mignonette*


@MoonBat AHHH GAWD, KRYSTAL!!! Jeesh, i gotta drive all the way to Panama City Beach for some damn Krystal's!


@ThundaCunt GURL. You're on the panhandle? I'm in Jacksonville! And I go out to Destin to meet with a client there. I'll let you know before my next trip, we should meet for Qream and Krystal burgers!


I loved the Roseanne roast! Esp that little backstage bit w/ her and Tom, and when she sang at the end.

That photo makes me want Shake Shack, though everything makes me want Shake Shack...


@punkahontas UGH so rude to bring up Shake Shack!! I have had two glorious Shake Shack experiences and every time I think about it I waaaaaaaaaant it but we don't have it in Boston (yet). Same goes for In-N-Out.


@mangosara I'm sorry. There is one three blocks (smelling distance!) from my apt and it's all I can do not to go every day. It takes so much willpower, it's amazing I get anything done!


@punkahontas There is a Shake Shack in Times Square that I both want to try and also do not want to wait in line with tourists for two hours. First world problem!


Me too! It was really touching. If they can be civil and even somewhat affectionate, there's hope for all of us.


@aliceandstuff You should just come to Brooklyn, I've never waited in line longer than ten minutes at this one. Usually it's more like 5. I just went to Duane Reade and two ladies in there had shakes. I don't think I'm going to be able to make it through the week without giving in to temptation...


@punkahontas I had no idea there was one in Brooklyn!


@aliceandstuff It's on Fulton St, right by Borough Hall. Just about every subway line will get you within a few blocks. Also, if you need any sneakers, wigs, or other kinds of fast food, the Fulton Mall is right there. (home of The Worst Ever Macy's)

Bed Monster



@Bed Monster AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH MY LIFE but whyyyy in Chestnut Hill I hate the green line :(


@mangosara but I think it might be worth it...?

Bed Monster

@mangosara Totally worth it. I lived on the B line for four years. The D line is a piece of cake and completely worth using for freaking Shake Shack.


screw the haters, maid-rite rules.


@telling_everyone truth!


Never having tasted one of these Maid-Rites, I can't say for sure, but it sort of looks like cheesesteak filling? In which case, of course they are delicious.


Steamed hamburger? Oh.

The most confusing regional sandwich I have ever encountered is the butterburger. It's a burger... with butter... ?*

Says the lady who has eaten brains and eggs before, so, you know, all you like is what you know...

Anna Jayne@twitter

@OhShesArtsy the butterburger makes perfect sense to me. If it's confusing, think of it as a cheeseburger where the cheese is very very unaged and also rennetless.


@OhShesArtsy I see you are referring to Wisconsin. Specifically Culvers. Back off. That shit is delicious. How can adding fat be BAD?


@OhShesArtsy A Culvers came into the next town over, but I'm with you. Even the name "butter burger" creeps me out. Steak & Shake, Freddy's, Winstead's, etc are enough.

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@OhShesArtsy Not confusing so much as gross, but...ugh, the "chipped ham barbeque" people seem to love here makes my stomach turn. It's paper-thin specs of lunch meat ham drowning in a sea of watery ketchup. Blech!


@sudden but inevitable betrayal WAT IS THAT I DON'T EVEN.

I'm honestly pretty open to regional foods - nothing worse than trying to explain your home cooking to some one not from 'round h'yere. It's super interesting (to me, at least) to hear about these regional food items!


@BornSecular Steak & Shake does the butter burger thing, it's just not specifically listed. Their mushroom and swiss burger has butter added!

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@OhShesArtsy Me too...I love talking about (and eating!) regional food. The debate over "the right way to eat/prepare" chili is endlessly fascinating to me. (Me: beer, meat, beans and onions, served over rice, with cheddar cheese on top!)

I feel bad about knocking ham barbeque now. :/ I imagine it grew out of the days when people didn't have a lot of money and had to feed a lot of family - and I certainly understand how that grows into a source of pride/nostalgia, even after you've grown up/moved on/make more money/etc. (But I still don't want it in my mouth.) And it's not like Pittsburgh doesn't have a ton of other delicioussssss foods to stuff my face with.


@BornSecular Winsteads! You're in the Kansas City area, I gather? I used to live there (grew up not far from there) and I love it!


@sudden but inevitable betrayal Don't feel bad about the ham barbeque - it sounds fairly vile :p There are some prety nasty depression era foods out there - my grandmother still makes something she calls spaghetti but is really noodles and ketchup, no toppings allowed! Bleh.

I'm snobby about barbeque - I grew up near Memphis where we do it right ;)

Chili for me - beans, red onion, cheddar cheese, and sour cream!


It looks like a sloppy joe?

all the bacon and eggs

@travelmugs Exactly what I was thinking. Somehow, someone invented a less appealing name than Sloppy Joe, which is a real accomplishment.


@travelmugs Yes! Like a Sloppy Joe without the tomato sauce.


@travelmugs Dry Joseph?


@all the bacon and eggs Are we forgetting about Manwich? I think Manwich and Maid-Rite are just about neck-in-neck.


@travelmugs I think its sloppy joe minus the parts that make sloppy joes taste like heaven.

all the bacon and eggs

@frigwiggin I guess whether a Manwich sounds appealing is subjective, but it sounds pretty awesome to me!


My boyfriend introduced me to these. Delicious!


Loose meat sinks the fleet?

fondue with cheddar

Loose meat makes me think of diarrhea or flaccid penises, neither of which I want on a sandwich.


@jen325 Or a uterine prolapse!


@frigwiggin As a side-note, Wikipedia provided me with more images of uterine prolapse in sheep than I ever needed to see.

elbows on the table

@jen325: and now, this is all I can think about.

fondue with cheddar

@frigwiggin BEEN THERE.


@jen325 Yep! When I hear "loose meat," all I can think of is "loose bowels."


@jen325 I keep hearing the Funkadelic song "Loose Booty."

fondue with cheddar

Why is the hamburger steamed? Was it something I said?


@jen325 This made me laugh out loud, which was much needed today so thank you.

fondue with cheddar

@lora.bee You're welcome! I'm sorry you're having a bad day. Want to talk about it?


@jen325 Well, it's been a year since my grandma passed away, and I just found out I have to work til 8 30 on Saturday. Boo.

fondue with cheddar

@jen325 Oh, no. Those are two bad things, alright. I lost my first grandparent a few months ago so I feel you on that. And working weekend nights sucks so hard. I'm on my phone now so I can't easily give you a link, but go to YouTube and search for "animal beatbox". That always cheers me up. And now I'm going to have it stuck in my head. :)


I think I'm a vegetarian now.


But don't they serve this in lunchrooms across the country? I'm pretty sure we ate these in my school in NYC, only they came in hot dog buns with melted cheese on top.

Jane McTaggart@facebook

Growing up in Iowa, I was never a fan of Maid-Rites. I always preferred a tenderloin sandwich. Arguably the best place for them, though, is the Canteen in the Alley in Ottumwa, which the Lanford Lunch Box was based on.

elbows on the table

@Jane McTaggart@facebook: how have I never heard of a tenderloin sandwich before today? This has revolutionized my ideas about What Sandwiches Should Be.

elbows on the table

@elbows on the table: though if you google them, some of those pictures are kind of intimidating...

Jane McTaggart@facebook

@elbows on the table It's true, the diameter of tenderloin to bun should be at least 2:1. I like them plain with a little ketchup.


@Jane McTaggart@facebook I had a maid-rite during my first trip to Iowa this summer and it was a bit anti-climactic. Like, oh this is just a sloppy joe without the best part. I wasn't allowed to have anything other than mustard, pickles and onions in it because apparently it's not genuine otherwise?

elbows on the table

@Jane McTaggart@facebook: I need to see if I can coerce Mr. Elbows to make me one of these (he likes to cook, and I am fairly incompetent in the kitchen, so...)

Roaring Girl

@Jane McTaggart@facebook I feel like I have to comment just to say that I grew up in and still reside in Iowa, and I hate Maid-Rite with a soggy grey passion. I don't understand why it's a thing. I don't recall if we actually have one in Des Moines, though--I actually don't think so. Maid-Rite to me is terrible, disappointing road trip food.

Heat Signature

Maidrite? More like Made WRONG, amiright?


Steamed hams.
It's a regional dialect. Upstate New York.

Would anyone like to come see the Aurora Borealis in my kitchen? Well, you can't.


@Ialdagorth Really? Well, I'm from Utica and I never heard anyone use the phrase, "steamed hams."


@meetapossum We call them that despite them clearly being grilled!


@meetapossum It's an Albany expression.


As a native New Jerseyian, all I have to say is "pork roll".

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@meetapossum The king of regional sandwiches!


@sudden but inevitable betrayal I didn't even know it wasn't a national thing until college.

fuck fuck fuck

@meetapossum it doesn't even go all the way up to north jersey! i can't think of even one regional food we have :(


@i'm a self-rolled man Really? That's tragic.

But maybe disco fries? I know they're just sort of like poutine, but also different!


I can't believe that you guys have never heard of this/ that it's so weird-sounding to you as to merit a hairpin write-up. I mean, it's one of those "realizing that your childhood was particular rather than universal, as you had assumed" things. Iowa is sort of proud of being the "birthplace of Maid-Rite" which I always took to mean that it was well-known and well-regarded beyond the state's borders. But come to think of it, I've never seen one anywhere else.


As a Minnesota native with an Iowan mom, I claim Maid-Rite = sloppy Joe. Also that no steaming is involved. My mom's recipe was just to brown ground beef in a saucepan, then add ketchup, brown sugar, garlic powder, and maybe vegetable soup?

sudden but inevitable betrayal

@alloverthemap Ooooh...can I come over for dinner?


Just...I LOVE ROSEANNE. My childhood doll is named Roseanne. Love.

Hiroine Protagonist

SHE TWEETED AT ME ONCE! I am currently re-watching 7 season of Roseanne in tribute.


@lue Roseanne! LOVE.


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