Sloppy Joes, a messy and saucy cousin of hamburgers, are a part of American cuisine (if it can be called that). They include ground hamburger cooked in a tomato-based sauce (called, aptly enough, sloppy joe sauce; it's somewhat similar to BBQ sauce). The filling is served on a bun and is a common family dinner.
An American cafeteria* in Germany had vegetarian sloppy joes on the menu and I was
intrigued. I ate texturized vegetable protein (made from soy) based joes when I was in college (and have since)
and like them. I guessed that these would be something similar and chose them for lunch.
Imagine my surprise when I received a huge lake of sauce on a plate but
no bun. I asked where the bun was and they said it didn't come with a
bun. Um, isn't a sloppy joe a sandwich? I did finally manage to talk them into
giving me a bun instead of a side of vegetables.
got even more komisch when I tried what was really just "sloppy sauce:"
there was no "joe" in it. In the sauce, I found about a baby carrot
sized amount of carrot shreds and about the same amount of onions.
However, it wasn't enough to make it similar
to a hamburg filling; it was more like a garnish.
essentially served a plate full of sauce. By that time, it was
everything I could do to keep from bursting into giggles. The situation was absurd; I ate a plate
full of sauce for lunch.
the record, it tasted good and I would have been thrilled if it had
some sort of meat replacement in it and was willingly served on a bun.
Heck, I would have even been cool with having lots of shredded carrots
and onions as the "meat." I was a bit disconcerted about eating sauce for lunch.
I told my coworkers the story about this and we laughed so hard. When I explained the thing about the carrots and onions, S said that she imagined something like a population density map being used to demonstrate the ratio of vegetables to sauce. I started imagining how things can be measured by PPM (parts per million). Would the carrots be measured as PPS, parts per sauce?
*this cafeteria is American through and through, with American staff and American ingredients, so I can't blame the ridiculous situation on a misunderstanding of American food by those who are not from the US.