Corned Beef, Sauerkraut, and Rye Bread

Reuben Sandwich
Reuben Sandwich for St. Paddy’s Day

Is it the corned beef, rye bread, or sauerkraut that makes a Reuben sandwich Irish? If you research the history of the Reuben sandwich, you’ll learn that it originated in New York City when it was invented by German immigrant Arnold Reuben.

Neither corned beef or sauerkraut (fermented cabbage) is a popular food in Ireland. You can, however, find organic rye bread there. Irish immigrants to America substituted corned beef for pork because it was less expensive. So if you’re planning a trip to Ireland and hope to enjoy the best Irish Reuben sandwiches everywhere, you should probably count on fish and chips instead. No need to go so far to enjoy a Reuben sandwich. You can, most likely, find one at a restaurant close to home.

Last Friday, March 11, I surprised myself and ordered a Reuben sandwich. I had awoken from a disturbing dream that morning. The dream had a surprising twist at the end of it. My dad (who passed away November 2015) popped into the dream at the very last. The moment I woke up, I remembered that it was his birthday. It was one of those trigger moments. You know what I mean if you’ve lost a very close loved one. Grief took over. Tears refused to stop. My eyes were swollen. A beep on my cell phone distracted me from my melancholy state. A text message said something like this, “Want to go eat breakfast? My treat.”

“YES!” I quickly replied. My sweet friend Patty, a music teacher, had introduced me to a lovely little restaurant with fabulous food about a year ago. Every menu item I’ve ever ordered there tastes amazing. On Fridays they don’t serve breakfast like they used to, so we had lunch. Since St. Patrick’s Day is coming up this week, Patty decided to order their Reuben Sandwich. “I think I’ll get the Patty Melt,” I mentioned. That sounded good to Patty, so she changed her mind.

“I think I’ll order the Reuben Sandwich to honor St. Paddy’s Day,” Patty said.

When I decided on a Patty Melt, however, that sounded good to Patty, so she changed her mind.

“Why don’t I order one and you order the other, and let’s eat one of each,” I suggested.

We agreed on sharing our sandwiches. I can’t recall the last time I had eaten a Reuben, so I wasn’t sure if I’d like it. It tasted better than delicious. In fact, I liked it better than the Patty Melt.

Reuben Sandwich
Patty Melt and Reuben Sandwich

Reuben Sandwich Recipes

I came across a good recipe for a Reuben sandwich at that I think I’ll try sometime. There is a certain technique, explained by Gastronomer Joseph Erdos, to making the sandwich with its Russian dressing. I like Joseph’s idea of making the sandwich with soda bread (now that’s a bread you could surely find in Ireland from what I hear).

The best soda bread I’ve ever had is from a little southern country restaurant in Texas. Just writing about this is making me crave a Reuben sandwich on soda bread. In fact, a soda bread Reuben sandwich recipe will make an excellent St. Paddy’s Day entree to surprise my family with. The one I especially hope to impress is my toddler granddaughter. If SHE likes it, then I’ll know it’s good.

Got a special St. Patrick’s Day food you like? Anything unique? Like dying your rye bread green or some other fun idea? Share it with Kitchen Hospitality, and I might try it out.

Happy St. Patrick’s week!


1 Comment

  1. I love a good reuben sandwich, but I can`t imagine eaing it on soda bread. I think I would miss the strong taste of rye.

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