Another kind of loose meat sandwich…
In the late 1920’s loose meat sandwiches came on the scene. First in Montana, and shorty thereafter, Iowa. As you might suspect from the name, these were hamburger buns piled with ground beef crumbles. You might have ordered a “Maid-rite” or a “Nu-Way” or a “Tavern Sandwich” but you were always asking for the same thing: a loose meat sandwich.
Loose meat sandies were, and are, so good because there is way more surface area of the beef to brown. And season. Condiments can mix right through the pile of beef instead of just sitting up on top. And then there is the challenge of keeping your pile of crumbles on your bun as you bite it. We just love challenging foods.
The next evolution, the “Sloppy Joe” began popping up in the 1940’s. Remember how we talked about loose meat sandwiches being awesome because the condiments could mix in with the meat? Well, some folks took it even further, binding the loose crumbles with a thick tomato-based sauce. Amazing.
And then in 1969, Hunt’s introduced “Manwich,” a sandwich made of men. No! I’m kidding you! It was really a can of tomato sauce to mix with your waiting skillet of beef for a fast-and-easy at-home Sloppy Joe. This seems like a manufactured want, but it caught on, and we are still eating Manwiches 51 years later.