Thursday, May 7, 2015

The joe that was too sloppy

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.

Things 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. 

I was 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.

For 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.


  1. Now I'm hungry for a real Sloppy Joe! I used to love those as a kid - especially with a piece or two of cheddar cheese, which then melted just a little...

    Nice interview/article at Multicoolty, by the way!

  2. I have some Manwich and tvp in the cupboard. I think I need to make some in the upcoming week just to make up for this! The sad thing is that the sauce was tasty, with a good smoky flavor. However, eating a puddle of sauce was just a bit too weird for me.

    Thanks for the comments on the Multicoolty article. I really enjoyed yours, too. I copped out of the selfie dilemma by making Moo my mascot :)

    1. Manwich?!? Merp. Because of your post I recently wrote to my mom requesting that meal when I'm back in WI in June. She makes it from scratch, and I'm bringing the recipe back!

      I would have used a pet for the Multicoolty pic also, but I don't have one and Stinky the hellcat wouldn't sign the release. Moo looks adorable.

  3. Ooh, do share the recipe!

    I think that you have PTSCD (post traumatic stinky cat disorder). ;)

    Here's a happy kitty thought: Moo met my coworker S tonight and she hugged and smooshed him and then kissed his little Mooface. He really liked all the attention.

    1. Awwww. I need to meet more nice kitties.

      I will be getting the Sloppy Joe recipe in June, and I'll send it to you or post it on my blog.