If You Grew Up in Kalamazoo, Your Favorite School Lunch Was Probably ‘The Wimpy’
You don't always hear someone waxing nostalgic about school lunches. Many think of cardboard pizza squares and lukewarm boxes of milk. But for some who grew up in Kalamazoo, there's a particular lunchtime offering that they still crave as adults.
We're talking about a Wimpy. A sloppy joe-like sandwich served by some cafeterias in the district, notably at Northeast Junior High.
The topic came up recently on the always fascinating Vanished Kalamazoo Facebook group. Someone came looking for a recipe for the Wimpy.
Just the mention of the Wimpy was enough to transport many back to their school days:
It was my favorite!!! It’s basically a sloppy joe but better tasting!!
Yup Wimpy's every lunch
I loved wimpys, they were the best
So how do you make one of these turbo-charged sloppy joes? Here's the best suggestion that came into the group:
I use Better Home and Garden cook book recipe, then add a small can of petite tomatoes, minced fresh garlic, minced onion, a little Worcester sauce, ketchup to thicken and a little brown sugar. So good!
Someone else in the group mentioned Pizza Buns, There was perhaps a similar recipe in my household we called Benton Harbor High School Pizza Burgers. They were ground beef in spaghetti sauce, cheddar cheese, salt and sage. The topping was baked open-face on hamburger buns until hot and the cheese was melted in. So damn good.
Some school lunches do become cultural icons for the city. Perhaps the best known is the Cheese Zombie from Yakima, Washington. Atlas Obscura describes the sandwich, created to deal with a surplus of cheese:
The Cheese Zombie is essentially a grilled cheese cake that’s baked with fresh dough. Zombie-makers begin by placing American cheese slices between rolled-out sheets of dough. Before placing the giant sandwich into the oven, they pinch the dough together to seal it—no one wants to lose any of the cheese—then top with a brush of melted butter to create a soft, brown crust.
We don't know of any restaurants in Kalamazoo serving the Wimpy, but it sure sounds like you'd get some diners hungry for nostalgia if it ever showed up on someone's menu.
Copycat recipies can give you a taste you love at home. Check these out:
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