From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Diner Plates and Hot Beef Sandwiches

Vintage dinnerware and classic comfort food



Michael Leddy has a new "dowdy" coffee cup with saucer that looks like old-time restaurant ware. The everyday dinner plates at my house are similar in style. They are heavy, white, Corning® plates with burgundy bands on the rims.

Corning plateI bought fourteen of them at a flea market a couple of years ago for $1.00 each. I have no idea if that was a good price, and I don't really care. I bought them because I like them. I think of them as my "diner" plates.

When I imagine going back in time to a small-town cafe of my childhood, I see my dad getting a hot beef sandwich on a plate like that. The sandwich is two slices of soft white bread, filled generously with thin-sliced roast beef. It shares the plate with a big mound of mashed potatoes. Brown gravy covers the sandwich and potatoes and fills the plate to its brim.

Flashduck has a good photo of a hot beef sandwich in her Picassa album. In my opinion, the roast beef sandwich shouldn't be open-faced, but otherwise, it's perfect. It looks tasty.

Maggie Osterberg photographed a hot beef made with French fries. The sandwich looks great (mmmm, lots of pepper), but those gravy-laden fries just aren't right. (And the plate isn't right, either!)

Related: Hot Beef Sandwich Reminiscent of Home Cooking

5 comments:

Michael Leddy said...

Nice china, Genevieve! It makes me remember my earliest restaurant experiences.

Sarabeth said...

Definitely, diners should have plates like that.

Genevieve said...

Yes, I like those plates. Almost any meal looks good on them. I'd much rather have my food on these nice glass plates than on the Melmac of the same era.

Collagemama said...

Is the hot roast beef sandwich a diner tradition or a Nebraska sandhills tradition? I can only remember eating them on a high school choir bus tour in about 1972. We were traveling around Halsey, Thedford, Hyannis, and Scottsbluff. They were perfect for filling up ever-hungry teenagers.

Genevieve said...

I wondered about that too, Collagemama. I had myself convinced it was a "Nebraska, the Beef State" thing, but then I found that great photo of an open-faced hot beef sandwich that was taken in Virginia. (I hope this link will work -- I see that I didn't link to it successfully in the post.)

I don't see hot beef sandwiches on the menus of the restaurants I go to around here, but maybe I'm just not going to the right places.

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