When is a Reuben not a Reuben?

January 7, 2009

I’m not opposed to substitutions in cooking. I make them fairly liberally myself. But at some point, you can make so many substitutions that you’ve created something completely new. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes…

We were at the Inn on the Bay in downtown North Bay, and a colleague had ordered a Reuben sandwich. It was busy, and the service was slow. When it finally arrived, the sandwich was not served on Pumpernickel, but on rye. Fair enough, that’s a commmon substitute. The meat was corned beef, and the cheese was Swiss. All good so far. But they used mustard instead of Thousand island dressing. Now, you can use Russian dressing in a pinch. I wouldn’t advise it myself, but I’m sure you’re capable of making those kinds of decisions responsibly. But mustard?

And then…horrors…they substituted cole slaw for the saurkraut. I was flabbergasted. I have since learned that this substitute changes the Reuben into a “Rachel” sandwich.

Now that’s change not to be taken lightly.