Thursday, February 22, 2024

Mack Truck Holes


I was making Ruben sandwiches for Grandma, Grandpa, and I this week. As I sliced up the Swiss cheese the holes reminded me of an old saying Grandma Lydia uses every now and then… She says, “Wow, that’s a hole you could drive a Mack truck through.”

Mack is an old brand. It’s a company that builds eighteen-wheel trucks of the kind that transport so much of our goods over land today.

Then I remembered the beat-up little truck I saw transporting firewood down the two-lane highway in front of me this weekend. It was obvious the driver was in the working folk class by the condition of the truck and the little trailer pulled behind. The small truck, a Chevy Luv or a Datsun/Nissan was a bit beat up; it was dirty; the trailer was half full of wood; there were tool handles sticking up between the chunks of wood and nothing was shiny.

About then I saw a sign that said, “Merge left next 2 miles.” Cars, trucks and eighteen wheelers started to merge over into the left lane except for some… some decided to run to the front of the line then cut in at the last minute. Needless to say, these runs to the front force the surrounding vehicles to accommodate a last-minute merge that can (and usually does) force the flow of traffic to grind to a halt. Knowing this I merged over as soon as I saw the sign just as the little red truck pulling the firewood trailer ahead of me did. We were going right along when one eighteen-wheeler trucker passed, then another, then a third. I saw it happen, so I know the little red truck’s driver saw it too. I was surprised to see the little red truck’s driver position his truck and trailer back into the right-hand lane, and me right behind him in the left-hand lane with an eighteen-wheeler coming right up on him. I slowed way down because I didn’t want to be part of a rear end collision. The eighteen-wheeler slowed down just in time, and I thought, might be a bit of road rage going on there. I backed off a little more to stay out of the conflict and in so doing made an escape hole big enough for that eighteen-wheeler to drive into, which they did after realizing the little red truck driver wasn’t going anywhere. A little red truck being in that lane worked so well the traffic behind us in the right-hand lane slowed down, both lanes continued to flow at the same speed and the merge point didn’t plug. The traffic kept flowing. When it came our turn to merge, that hole between the little red truck and me was big enough for two Mack trucks and three SUVs to drive through. I know because I counted them.

Ruben Sandwich

Enough sliced corned beef for 2-3 sandwiches (about half a pound)

Enough Swiss cheese slices to cover 2-3 sandwiches (about ¼ pound)

Enough sauerkraut to top 2-3 sandwiches (about one pint)

1-2 Tablespoons butter or oil

4 to 6 slices of bread, lightly toasted

Divide the corned beef, the cheese slices, and the sauerkraut into separate piles to equal the number of sandwiches, 2 or 3 (there will be six or nine piles of food total). Position the toast into the toaster, put a skillet on the stove and prepare to grill one sandwich at a time.

When the skillet is hot (a drop of water will ‘skittle’ across the bottom) put a teaspoon of butter along one side of the hot skillet then lay the corned beef in the butter. Next squeeze the excess fluid out of the sauerkraut (this keeps the corned beef from getting soggy) and lay it along the other side of the hot skillet. Pop the bread down into the toaster then mix the sauerkraut so it gets evenly hot. When meat is hot on one side turn the meat; lay the cheese on top of it; pile the sauerkraut on top of the cheese. Take the bread out of the toaster-it should be toast by now. Spread the toast with Grandpa Truman’s 1000 Island Dressing. Load one piece of toast with the pile of meat, cheese and sauerkraut, cap with the second piece of toast.

Repeat for each sandwich. Cut sandwiches in half, serve, and enjoy.

Grandpa Truman’s 1000 Island Dressing

1 part mayonnaise (1 Tablespoon)

1 part ketchup (1 Tablespoon)

1/3-part sweet pickle relish (1 teaspoon)

Mix all together and use as a sauce on Ruben sandwiches or any salad needing dressing.

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.



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