How to Make a Reuben Sandwich

The Reuben sandwich is an American grilled sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread. It is associated with kosher-style delicatessens, but it is not kosher, because it combines meat and cheese. 

One origin story holds that Reuben Kulakofsky (his first name sometimes spelled Reubin; his last name sometimes shortened to Kay), a JewishLithuanian-born grocer residing in Omaha, Nebraska, asked for a sandwich made of corned beef and pastrami at his weekly poker game held in the Blackstone Hotel from around 1920 through 1935. The participants, who nicknamed themselves “the committee”, included the hotel’s owner, Charles Schimmel. Schimmel’s son, who worked in the kitchen, made the first Reuben for him, adding swiss cheese and thousand islands dressing to his order, putting the whole thing on rye bread.[ The sandwich first gained local fame when Schimmel put it on the Blackstone’s lunch menu, and its fame spread when a former employee of the hotel won the national sandwich idea contest with the recipe.

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