French Dip Sandwich ~ Clandestine Family Traditions

It was during Sister Madly’s Utopian Days that Midori- a recent transplant from Japan*- explained how, just before moving to the States, her Grandmother sat her down and lovingly outlined the ritual for something she called ‘jagaimo.’

* A culture of wise and beautiful people who recognize that life is much too short to be eating bread crust on a daily basis.
Also, they have pet otters.

Now Sister Madly hadn’t heard of this ‘jagaimo,’ but if she were to speculate, it is the custom of cutting the crust off all things sandwich- seriously, the Western World needs to adopt this tradition immediately. Many a school luncheon was ruined by her Mother neglecting to remove the crusts from her peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But fret not: having since learned how to properly handle a knife, Sister Madly is now able to remove the crusts on her own like a sensible adult.*

* That and her Mother lives across the country, and Sister Madly doesn’t want to pay the 50¢ postage to ship said sandwich for maternal de-crusting- again, sensible adult.

It turns out, what the Grandmother called ‘jagaimo’ was not the custom of de-crusting a sandwich, but her pet name for a specific method of seppuku, one performed solely by women. Apparently, tradition was very important to the Grandmother, even as she refused to utilize the appropriate term* when speaking with her grandchildren.

* ‘Jagaimo’ is Japanese for ‘potato’, the use of which undoubtedly caused much confusion and anxiety at the dinner table.

Now the Madly Ancestors hadn’t pass down so much as a cookie recipe* let alone one for ritual disembowelment. Why aren’t there any clandestine Family Traditions listed in the Madly Dynasty Archives? The recipe for bathtub gin, for example? The art of bootlegging? Even the secret to changing a tire would have been deeply cherished- if not most useful- in the years to come…

* Correction: they did pass along a Finnish sleigh bell, which included the Family Secret to Smuggling Things of No Value Out of Europe, circa 1900. Techniques are a bit dated.

The Ancestors on her Mother’s side, however, were much more generous, passing to Sister Madly an affinity for Perry Mason reruns and the time-honored tradition of pushing buttons on things that do not belong to her. So in honor of Midori divulging the secrets of ‘jagaimo,’ Sister Madly revealed her own familial tradition with the buttons on Midori’s oven, during which she discovered a setting called SAB.’

No doubt this was in reference to the Saber-Tooth Tiger, and a gentle plea to join the oven in a moment of silence to mourn its evolutionary demise. Naturally, Sister Madly left the oven set to SAB so that Midori, too, might partake in her own a Moment of Silence privately. Appliances are so thoughtful these days.

However, Sister Madly regrets to inform your good selves that SAB has absolutely nothing to do with the sadly-extinct Saber-Tooth Tiger. Midori later reported that, for several days after Sister Madly’s most touching Moment of Silence:

  • the oven’s digital display went dark
  • the lightbulb wouldn’t illuminate
  • the cooktop would not turn on
  • the oven would not turn off

From this, one can only conclude that SAB* means ‘Sabotage’- a clandestine method of mischief and/or glorious revenge authorized by major appliance manufacturers under the guise of innocent button-pushing. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the elder Madly sibling, Tallulah, also has this SAB mode on her oven…

Indeed, appliances are so thoughtful these days!

* It turns out, SAB means ‘Sabbath Mode,’ a setting that allows individuals to comply with Halakhah (Jewish Law) which prohibits certain activities during Sabbath and other holy times.


  • 3lb chuck roast
  • 1 cup stout
  • (2) 10.5oz cans beef consommé
  • 3 TBSP Worcestershire
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne (opt)
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • Rolls, Swiss Cheese, Mushrooms; to serve

Add onion, bay leaves, consommé, Worcestershire, and stout to slow cooker; mix
Mix spices together; rub over roast
Add roast to slow cooker
Cook on low 8-10 hours, or until meat pulls apart easily

Preheat oven to 350*
Split rolls; top one side with beef, mushrooms, and cheese
Bake for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted
Serve with au jus

12 responses

  1. I’ve been looking for this recipe for a long time. It looks similar to one I had in the 80’s near Chicago from a client I worked for. Though there, we call it Italian beef, and it has one more ingredient, a couple of handfuls of pepperocini. Thanks!
    I never saw that SAB mode before, and my husband, who works in the appliance industry and gets your stories second-hand from me, enjoyed your story greatly with a hearty laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 24, 2019 at 7:10 AM

    • She couldn’t figured out how to turn off SAB so she had to unplug it. ;~D

      Peppperocini… that is already sounding superior!


      October 24, 2019 at 2:58 PM

  2. Heliophilecooksandwrites


    Liked by 1 person

    October 24, 2019 at 9:00 AM

  3. I’m left wondering what mayhem the oriental matriarch might have wreaked with a gherkin…

    Liked by 1 person

    October 24, 2019 at 12:12 PM

  4. Pingback: French Dip Sandwich ~ Clandestine Family Traditions — The Sixpence at Her Feet | My Meals are on Wheels

  5. Reblogged this on Crackling Pork Rinds.


    October 27, 2019 at 12:51 PM

  6. Reblogged this on Are You Thrilled and commented:
    If you are not reading Sister Madly’s stories, you are truly missing out.

    Liked by 1 person

    November 5, 2019 at 10:53 AM

  7. Sun Hesper Jansen

    After a long journey away from WP, I return to find Sister Madly still pressing all the right buttons (who cares who they belong to)… What is it, though, about Perry Mason reruns?? They’re irresistible. Every time I visit my parents on a weekday morning, there it is on the TV just like when I was a kid and I know exactly who did it, but I have to drop everything and hold all conversation (except for MST3K-esque commentary, which is mandatory) to watch the thing to the end. Some kind of gravitational field around Raymond Burr’s eye folds or something…

    Liked by 1 person

    November 5, 2019 at 6:33 PM

    • Perry Mason reruns are magical- a nearby pub switches from sports/news to PM at 11am religiously. Whodunit speculations are strongly encouraged.

      Also, welcome back to WP! Miss seeing you around. ;c)

      Liked by 1 person

      November 6, 2019 at 12:34 PM

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