Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Ruben Sandwich With Authentic Russian Dressing

I believe that the first Ruben Sandwich I ever ate was at a now defunct Department Store in St. Louis. The store was named: Stix, Baer and Fuller, it was in the nice Lunch Room (pictured on the left) on one of the upper floors. I must have been about 10 years old at the time. Mom had me downtown with her, I don't remember why, but I do remember her suggesting the Ruben Sandwich to me. So I tried it. The Ruben was great and what I most remembered is the dressing. At the age of 10 I was no food expert. Well I was an expert in Hamburger and French Fries from Steak 'n Shake. But I surely didn't know Ruben (Russian) Dressing from ketchup.

Decades have now passed and as many Rubens have crossed my lips. Yet none of them ever excelled the flavor and savor of that first one. I believe this is due to the fact that the sandwich at the Stix department store was made with real Russian Dressing. It wasn't cooked so it had a fresh flavor never equaled or duplicated again in my lifetime.

Reading at the Pickle Packers International Incorporated webpage, they assert that: the Ruben Sandwich "was invented by Reuben Kulakofsky during a break in the action of his weekly poker game at the Blackstone Hotel in Omaha, Nebraska." Other authorities state that the Ruben was the creation of Arnold Ruben of Ruben's Deli in New York City. Even George Leonard Herter give another creator of the Ruben, an accountant named: William Hamerly.

Imagine my joy when I found what I believe to be the original Russian Dressing recipe in:

Author Campbell, Clyde H. (Clyde Henderson), 1883-1946.
Title(s) Campbell's book.
Edition 3d ed. rev. by Rohland A. Isker and Walter A. Maclinn.
Publisher Chi., Vance Pub. Corp. c1950.

On page 165, I have:

Russian Dressing for Ruben Sandwiches

Servings: 1152

* 1 gallon carrots,grated
* 1 gallon beets, grated
* 1 gallon onions,grated
* 6 gallons Mayonnaise


This product is not stable and should be made fresh for local trade. If the product is to be kept, it should be pasteurized 30 minutes at 160° F. This is supposed to be the genuine Russian dressing. If the raw materials are to be kept any time before being use, they should be covered with strong vinegar. Of course, this vinegar must be removed by pressing or draining before using the materials."

For those not in the business of making Russian Dressing for a large group, to 1 quart of mayonnaise, add 5-6 ounces each of the above ingredients. Mix well, so that the dressing has no grittiness from the vegetables. Enough for 25 Ruben Sandwiches.

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