Why a Sloppy Joe Sandwich Is Called So?
Sloppy joe sandwich is an American creation that has been around since at least the 1950s. Sloppy joes probably got their start as a variation of the “loose meat” sandwiches that were popular at that time. “Loose meat” sandwiches didn’t contain tomato sauce. According to legend, a cook named Joe at Floyd Angell’s café in Sioux City, Iowa, added tomato sauce to his “loose meat” sandwiches and the “sloppy joe” sandwich was born. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Sloppy joes are popular with most children and are a favorite in lunch rooms in schools all over the country. They’re also a favorite of parents when dinner time approaches, since sloppy joes are easy and inexpensive to make. Early 20th century American cookbooks offer plenty of sloppy-joe type recipes, though they go by different titles: Toasted Deviled Hamburgers, Chopped Meat Sandwiches, Hamburg a la Creole, Beef Mironton, and Minced Beef Spanish Style.
You can use a homemade recipe of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, and seasonings. Fry up the ground beef, add the other ingredients, and serve it up hot on a bun. For your convenience, you can also use a canned product, such as Manwich, that already has most of the ingredients already mixed together. All you need to do is add ground beef! If you’re a vegetarian, you can substitute vegetable protein for ground beef to make meatless sloppy joes!
Many people find the name “sloppy joes” to be rather funny. Would you believe that sloppy joes are often called by different names in different parts of the United States? It’s true! Some other names for sloppy joes include: barbecues, dynamites, gulash, sloppy janes, slushburgers, steamers, wimpies, and yum yums. What do you call sloppy joes where you live?
References to sloppy joes as sandwiches begin by the 1940s. One example is a 1944 Coshocton Tribune ad under the heading “Good Things to Eat” says “Sloppy Joes’ – 10c – Originated in Cuba – You’ll ask for more – The Hamburg Shop” and elsewhere on the same page, “Hap is introducing that new sandwich at The Hamburg Shop – Sloppy Joes – 10c.”
The term sloppy Joe’s had an earlier definition of any cheap restaurant or lunch counter serving cheap food quickly, since 1940 or a type of casual clothing. Food companies began producing packaged sloppy joe sauce, such as Manwich, by the 1960s.
Several variations of the sloppy joe exist in North America. In Quebec, Canada, sandwiches of stewed ground beef such as pain à la viande and pain fourré gumbo are usually served on hot dog buns. A similar sandwich, the “dynamite”, exists in the area around Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and is distinguished by the use of onions, bell peppers, and sometimes celery.
Stewed meat sandwiches are common in several other culinary traditions as well. The rou jia mo, from China’s Shaanxi Province, consists of stewed pork, beef, or lamb on a steamed bun. Keema pav of Indian cuisine uses a pav bread roll filled with keema, a minced, stewed, curried meat. Ground turkey or textured vegetable protein may be used as a substitute for ground beef.
In some stores in northern New Jersey, an unrelated sandwich made with a combination of deli meat, such as turkey, roast beef or especially ham, with coleslaw, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese on three slices of rye bread is also known as a sloppy joe.