I have long let it be known that I do not have a kosher bone in my body. Of course, since a Reuben sandwich is patently unkosher, I have no idea what that had to do with anything, save to say that I am all ham. The provenance of the Reuben is in question, though the fact that "Reuben's Delicatessen" claims the distinction provides more than enough proof for me. Besides, Mason Adams told me that was true. He also told me that "Smuckers" has to be good. I have no argument with either.
I have also long claimed to make the best Reuben in the South, but such a claim must be founded upon fact. When I opted to stop at an Arby's to sample their Reuben - I was traveling to a convention, I was hours later than I wished to be getting started, and was thus in a wretched mood - I placed my order, and as I moved to the Place of He Who Stands and Waits, a sweet thang called out "We are out of corned beef.". The person ahead of me got the last. The sweet thang apologised, and said "I can make it for you with turkey!". I smiled sweetly back and told her that if it has turkey, then it's not a Reuben. I got my refund and drove on, kvetching a great kvetch to the Universe.
A Reuben is made with corned beef. That is FLAT! And Swiss cheese. And sauerkraut. And Russian dressing (Thousand Island is standard now, but Russian is more accurate). On Rye. Grilled with Butter. My patented method layers cheese throughout, as though it were some curd-ey mortar. The melting cheese holds everything in place. Now, the standard method is to assemble the sandwich, then grill it both sides.
The Dread Dormomoo and I went to Anime Blast in Chattanooga last weekend, and as is our wont, we took several meals at the City Cafe Diner. One dinner I had a Reuben. As I prepared to eat it, I noticed the state of the generous slices of corned beef. I turned to the D.D. and said in the hushed tones of one who has just discovered the Ark of the Covenant in his attic "They grilled the meat before they assembled the sandwich!". As the Glory shone on my plate, it became clear that the rye was grill-toasted while the meat, cheese and all were grilled separately, then assembled and allowed to meld before serving.
So yesterday, I went to Publix, and because someone in earshot earlier in the day had mentioned a Reuben, I decided to pick up the makings. Boars Head (Yeah, we've come a distance from the Carl Buddig pressed meat stuff. I can make it sing, though!), and I even found a rye bread with no high fructose corn syrup (Pepperidge Farm. I normally riot over the price of PF stuff, but the HFCS thing looms large now. And this is a special thing. The Aardvarks usually enjoy more pedestrian fare.)
(Note to self: rotate the tins of foie gras in the cellar.)
I broke out our venerable cast iron griddles and set to work. And it worked. And it took less time. And it was scrummy! (Why is it that so many Brit exclamations sound like something one should get a shot for? "Worst case of scrummy I've seen in a fortnight!") Delish! (Who says "delish"?).
I have been converted to the Reuben Weirding Way.
I am the Kwisatz Haderach!