There are certain food combinations that are just right. On a night when Noah has class starting at 6 p.m. and my favorite show starts at 7, there is the all-time favorite Mayhew meal: Manwich Sloppy Joes and Tater Tots. With Velveeta cheese slices. Registered trademarks all, but I don’t care.
You have to start with the original Manwich sauce. I find it comforting that the can notes that it has a full serving of vegetables. Manwich was invented when I was 17 years old, in 1969. Now Noah’s 17. That’s two generations worth of Manwich loving in the Mayhew household.
Of course, you brown a pound of ground beef and add the sauce. You let that sit on the stove over low heat for about 15 minutes so the Manwich starts getting sticky around the edges, making it even more succulent.
Then while that’s going you get your Tater Tots in the oven. On a foil-lined cookie sheet so you don’t have to wash the pan. We have tried this meal with French fries, but it is just not the same. We feel that baking the Tater Tots instead of frying them makes them somewhat virtuous.
The next thing you do is butter the buns. They must be French hamburger rolls from the Publix. And, of course, you must use real butter. Pop them under the broiler until the butter is melted and the rolls are getting a toasty brown around the edges.
Once the Tater Tots are done and the rolls are toasty, assemble the Sloppy Joes.
I cannot emphasize enough how tasty this is. As you might be able to tell, I didn’t even have time to shoot the picture before Mark took a bite out of his first Sloppy Joe. I had to get between him and the plate just to snap this photo.
Even if it didn’t take more than 20 minutes to make, this would still be one of my favorite combinations of all time.