Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Rori. Rori Wonders, “Why is a sloppy joe called a sloppy joe” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Rori!
What do you get when you combine ground beef, onions, tomato sauce, and seasonings? Here’s another hint—it tastes great on a hamburger bun. If you guessed a sloppy joe sandwich, you’re right!
There’s no doubt that this sandwich is a favorite among both kids and adults. But have you ever WONDERed where the sloppy joe got its name?
The answer lies in the sandwich’s origin story—or maybe we should say stories! There’s more than one tale of how the sloppy joe came to be. One of them starts in Havana, Cuba. There, a man named José García served a sandwich based on a Cuban dish called ropa vieja.
García also sold iced seafood in his restaurant, and the floor was often wet from melted ice. This led some customers to tease García for having a “sloppy” restaurant. Eventually, the name “Sloppy Joe’s” stuck with his establishment. Years later, the name passed to a restaurant in Key West, Florida. Writer Ernest Hemingway recommended naming this newer location after the original Sloppy Joe’s.
Of course, there’s another story of how the sloppy joe started. The sandwich may have begun as a variation of the loose meat sandwiches that were popular in the 1950s. According to legend, a cook named Joe at Floyd Angell’s café in Sioux City, Iowa, added tomato sauce to his “loose meat” sandwiches. Some believe this is how the sloppy joe sandwich was born.
Sloppy joes are popular with most children. They’re a favorite in lunch rooms in schools all over the country. They’re also popular among families at dinner time. That’s because sloppy joes are both easy and inexpensive to make.
Have you ever made sloppy joes? You can use a homemade recipe of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, and seasonings. Fry up the ground beef, add the other ingredients, and serve it up hot on a bun.
Many people prefer to use a canned product, such as Manwich. It already has most of the ingredients mixed together. All they need to do is add ground beef! Are you a vegetarian? No problem—just substitute vegetable protein or lentils for ground beef to make meatless sloppy joes.
Many people find the name sloppy joes funny. Would you believe that sloppy joes are often called by different names in different parts of the United States? It’s true! Some other names for sloppy joes include: barbecues, dynamites, gulash, sloppy janes, slushburgers, steamers, wimpies, and yum yums. What do you call sloppy joes where you live?
Just like the many names for sloppy joes, you’ll also find all sorts of variations on the recipe. Some areas use other meats, such as chicken, instead of ground beef. Other areas add special spices, like cinnamon and brown sugar. How do you like your sloppy joes?
Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, NCAS.A.1, NCAS.A.2, NCAS.A.3, CCRA.W.4,