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What do you call this sandwich?

January 13, 1998

What do you call this sandwich?

By KATE COLEMAN

Staff Writer

A reader who had a "hankering" for a steamer asked if Lifestyle could provide a recipe for her.

She described it as a hot beef sandwich sold at Little League games in the Hagerstown area when she was a frequent visitor here "some 20 years ago."

It seems that the steamer is the very local name for a ground beef sandwich known generally as a sloppy joe.

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Lynn F. Little, family and consumer science educator for University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service, hails from Howard County, Md. She'd heard of sloppy joes, but never heard of "steamers" until she came to Washington County.

Martinsburg, W.Va., natives may know it as a Mexican. In some geographic areas it's called barbecued hamburger, and in the eastern Iowa Maid Rite restaurant chain and Lanford Diner of television's "Roseanne" it's a loose-meat sandwich.

Canteen Lunch in the Alley, a restaurant in Ottumwa, Iowa, gives its name to the loose meat sandwich on its menu. Canteens are loose, plain hamburger - not patties.

The restaurant - a little pink building in an alley - was visited on more than one occasion by Roseanne and her former husband, Tom Arnold, according to Trina Thompson, who works at the more than 60-year-old eatery. She describes the restaurant as a town landmark.

We don't claim to have the final word on this hearty, tastes-like-home concoction.

Take your pick of recipes, call it whatever you like and enjoy.

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