... but a Manwich is a meal. Remember that?
If you grew up in the 1980s (or late 1970s), you no doubt remember that Manwich sauce slogan. Here's a 1977 Manwich commercial to jog your memory.
Manwich, the canned tomato sauce for sloppy joes, actually hit the market in 1969. But when I decided to create a sloppy joe recipe for my vintage vegan cookbook project, I figured I'd tuck it into the 1980s chapter because the sauce definitely rose to its height of fame at that time. And it's such an iconic thing for an 80s kid like me. Of course, Manwich is still a thing, but in the age of moving to less processed and prepared foods, I doubt they're seeing the sales they saw in the latchkey kid 80s.
Loose meat sandwiches, what sloppy joes were once referred to, actually go way back the 19th century. But legend has it that some guy in Iowa discovered his loose meat tasted way better when he added a little tomato sauce. Other theories say the sloppy joe actually originated in a restaurant called Sloppy Joe's Bar (so named because owner Jose was apparently a messy dude) in Key West in the 1930s. Either way, the sandwiches go way back.
I created a Manwich-inspired vegan version this week for my next cookbook. I'm saving the recipe for the book, but I can say that it has a base of TVP, French lentils, and green bell pepper. I've always loved the Snobby Joes from the Veganomicon, so I wanted to work lentils in here. But I also desired a meatier texture. Hence, the TVP. The result is a meaty, yet still pretty wholesome, sandwich with a tangy sweet-n-savory sauce.