Sandwiches born from poverty but conquered countless American diners with a delicious taste that will surprise you

In El Reno, a small industrial town west of Oklahoma City, along America’s legendary Route 66, Sid’s Diner is busy preparing lunch for diners. In the space filled with the smell of onions and grease, people chewed “devour” the bread born from poor circumstances but famous for its love.

Adam, the second generation owner of Sid’s Diner, takes over the restaurant from his father, Marty Hall. On the flat-iron grill, he pressed the onion into the marinated minced beef. When the meat starts to cook and has a nice crispy crust, Adam quickly flips the onion layer down, letting the grease and grill create a delicious caramelized onion.

Bánh mì kẹp sinh ra từ nghèo khó nhưng lại chinh phục được vô số thực khách Mỹ - Ảnh 1.

Adam continues his father’s business of selling onion sandwiches

Making a living selling Oklahoma’s famous onion sandwiches, Marty Hall has flipped 5 million pies in his lifetime. This dish is so loved by everyone that every first weekend in May, the whole town of El Rino will close down to hold a festival dedicated to it. Here, nearly 30,000 people from across the country will flock to see the process of making a giant onion sandwich weighing nearly 400kg.

The birth of the Great Depression sandwich

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Oklahoma – like many other US states – faced numerous difficulties. Unsuitable farming methods turn much of the land into a sea of sand, which further makes food items like beef scarce.

“Things were very expensive in Oklahoma in times of crisis, but onions were quite the opposite, they were very cheap,” said Larry O’Dell, director of communications and development for the Oklahoma Historical Society. and easy to grow”.

Bánh mì kẹp sinh ra từ nghèo khó nhưng lại chinh phục được vô số thực khách Mỹ - Ảnh 2.

Onions were originally used because they were cheap and easy to grow

For that reason, a dreamer named Ross Davis and his father came up with a new dish: onion sandwiches. He cut the onions into thin slices, sautéed them in a hot pan and sandwiched them on toasts. Believing that the dish would be loved for its delicious taste and affordable price, the two decided to open a shop selling this dish along the famous Route 66 highway.

Also because of emerging from the expensive and scarce food of the Great Depression, the dish has been given the strange nickname of “Great Depression-era sandwich”. This dish was quickly embraced by the entire El Reno community and even became a unique local cultural feature.

“When people ask us what we’re known for, the answer is definitely: onion sandwiches,” said Shana Ford, executive director of the town’s Sandwich Holidays. know.

The perfect onion sandwich

Marty Hall started his bread empire at a young age. Born in El Reno, he worked as a dishwasher at a small sandwich shop called Johnnie’s Hamburgers and Coneys when he was just 13 years old, and the first job Hall got was peeling onions.

“I’ve never peeled so many onions in my life. That’s where I learned how to make onion sandwiches”.

At the age of 19, Hall bought a restaurant called Dairy Hut, which served El Rino’s famous onion sandwiches with fries and whipped cream. He owned the restaurant for 13 years, flipping onion bread every day before building Sid’s Diner in 1989 and becoming famous.

Today, Hall and his son Adam will serve onion sandwiches with all sorts of ingredients that diners ask for. However, according to them, the best way to enjoy this wonderful dish is with a little mustard and a few slices of pickle.

Bánh mì kẹp sinh ra từ nghèo khó nhưng lại chinh phục được vô số thực khách Mỹ - Ảnh 3.

The giant bread made at the local festival

Hall shares the recipe for the perfect sandwich: “I use finely ground beef and thinly sliced Spanish golden onions in an 80/20 ratio. In addition, I use add salt and pepper and salt pork.

Although created in a reluctant way, the “specialty” caramelized onion is still used in sandwich shops across the country. Even famous culinary publications pay homage to this humble dish. For Oklahomans, the onion sandwich is truly a taste of the state’s history and soul.

“We grew up on onion sandwiches. People feel good when they first eat it, but it’s the food that raised us. I don’t know how to explain the taste of the food, I just knew it had the taste of Oklahoma, the taste of family” , Larry O’Dell said.

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