Sloppy Joe’s and Tater Tots
How does comfort food become comfort food? I don’t know. But comfort food falls into that category of things you eat over and over even though they may be humble. Processed, even. Sometimes found in your grocer’s freezer section. Or in a can.
For as long as we’ve been married, Sloppy Joe’s and Tater Tots have been the go-to meal when time is short, nerves are frayed, feet are sore and bones are tired. The Sloppy Joe’s must be made with Manwich sauce. People may tell you they have an award-winning homemade recipe for Sloppy Joe’s, but it will never stand up to the glory that is Manwich. Original, of course. The meat must be 80-20 ground chuck. Never ground turkey. The chuck must be browned in its fat until the fat disappears. Never drain chuck. The meat gets crispy browned bits because of it. Embrace the bits.
The buns must be one of two types: French or Hawaiian rolls. Buttered and broiled until brown. If you use French rolls you get one Sloppy Joe. If you use Hawaiian rolls you get three. We often use Hawaiian rolls.
The Tater Tots must be Ore-Ida. Either mini or regular-sized. They must be dusted with Cajun seasoning before entering the oven. Ketchup is the preferred sauce for dunking. Any kind of ketchup will do.
I know some of you are mocking me now. I can hear you. But try it. Just try the magic combination of Manwich on buttered broiled buns and Tater Tots. You will become a believer, I promise. Oh, to add insult to injury, Mark likes his with processed American cheese slices. No substitutes.