JEFF TIEDEMAN: Sandwiches — It takes all kindsUse your imagination when it comes to sandwiches.
Do you remember what if felt like to go to your first Major League baseball game?
I do. It was in 1961, the Twins’ first year in Minnesota. My dad signed me up to go with a bunch of other kids on a bus trip to Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, sponsored by Johnny’s Pizza in Crookston. While I don’t remember who the Twins played or if they won, a couple of things still stand out in my mind:
First, there was the anticipation and subsequent feeling of awe while watching a game at the biggest outdoor baseball field in the state.
I felt that again just a week or so ago. But this time, I can tell you who was playing and who won. On the annual Hoover Caravan, which I’ve gone on for several years (put together my old friend Ron Amiot of Crookston), we saw two Twins’ pitching gems against the Atlanta Braves (a 2-1 win by Francisco Liriano and a 3-2 loss by Nick Blackburn the next night at beautiful Target Field in downtown Minneapolis).
Second, there were the sandwiches. On my childhood excursion, we had tons of ham sandwiches on the way down and back from the game (all in the same day). With a little imagination, you probably can probably figure out why I recall the sandwiches.
But the sandwich memories surrounding the 2010 games evoke much more pleasurable thoughts. While only eating one sandwich that you can buy at a Twins’ game, it was one of the tastiest I’ve ever eaten. It was Tony O’s Cuban Sandwich. Named for Twins’ great Tony Oliva, the sandwich (with chips) features Swiss cheese melted atop ham, roast pork and thinly sliced pickles and served on crusty, toasted bread. Delicious!
The sandwich was just one of many available to fans at Target Field. Among the others there is Vincent Restaurant’s Vincent Burger, described by one fan as decadent, a sandwich stuffed with gooey smoked gouda and braised short rib. Another was the Steak Sandwich with Garlic Toast from Minneapolis’ Murray’s Restaurant. There also were other sandwiches, including Mexican torta, Italian meatball and pulled pork.
I’ve always liked sandwiches. When I was growing up, Dad used to buy cold cuts at Erickson’s Meat Market, which we would have for lunch (usually on Saturdays) on a couple of slices of freshly baked bread from Cox’s Bakery. Along with peanut butter and jelly and fried egg sandwiches, these were mainstays in our house.
As you can see, there are all kinds of sandwich possibilities, and some of them are rather off the wall. For example, Therese loves to have peanut butter sandwiches with Miracle Whip and bread and butter sweet pickles.
A childhood acquaintence, Larry Desrosier, used to bring ketchup and peanut butter sandwiches for lunch when we were hoeing beets so the older kids wouldn’t take them. And during my college days, when I worked as a summer laborer for the Minnesota Highway Department (now the Department of Transportation), a monthly employees, Joe Veenstra, used eat sardine sandwiches, which I took up.
A recent study I came across shows people still love variety. According to the food-service industry consultant Technomic, only about half of consumers polled (52 percent) were satisfied with the sandwich choices at sub shops and delis, while just 42 percent were satisfied with the offerings at full-service restaurants. Eighteen- to 24-year-olds were least satisfied, at 44 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
That wouldn’t happen at a Twins game.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.