|Road tripping with Alton|
This book accompanied the second documentary where they did a "river run," taking their motorcycles and following the Mississippi River from Louisiana all the way to my home state of Minnesota.
I wouldn't go so far as to call it a "cookbook," as it is more of a travelogue featuring tales from their road trip. But there are several recipes scattered throughout, featuring some of their finds and road-inspired cuisine.
The recipe I chose to make was the "loose meat" sandwich, which was really popularized by Maid-Rite. Think of it as a sauceless sloppy joe meets a crumbled hamburger - seasoned, crumbled ground beef that is steamed and served on a bun. Because of the association with the franchise, you will often hear the sandwiches generically referred to as "Maid-Rites," and you will also occasionally see them called "taverns."
"Alton, tell us about Maid-Rites..."
While there are Maid-Rite franchises in a number of states, primarily in the Midwest (including a handful in Minnesota), these loose meat sandwiches are perhaps most well-known in Iowa where the franchise started in 1926. I have eaten at a Maid-Rite a couple of times before (most recently in 2006 in Iowa). But I haven't made them for myself, so I thought I would take Alton's recipe for a spin.
|"Maid-Rite," complete with pickles, onions, mustard, and some optional cheese|
|"Maid-Rite" with a side of crinkle-cut fries!|
"Feasting on Asphalt: The River Run" is a fun book, filled with great stories of history, people, places, and the food Brown and crew encountered on their journey. Truly, it makes you want to hit the open road yourself to seek out your own pieces of Americana. It is also fun to see familiar local landmarks featured in the book. I might have to make the "Swing Omelette" next...