Hot!Stewart and Other Infrared Cooked Sandwiches B4 Microwaves

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2013/04/17 23:00:53 (permalink)

Stewart and Other Infrared Cooked Sandwiches B4 Microwaves

The pizzaburger thread brought back the memory of concession  infrared heated sandwiches before microwaves became popular. We tried to have a discussion about this many years ago but it was hijacked by discussions about early microwaves. These all used a special, dual light source, infrared oven that cooked prepared, flash frozen sandwiches packed in a translucent, sealed celophane bag. They could handle many sandwiches at a time. The result wasn't bad at all and vastly better then microwave preparation. The sandwiches came out toasted on the ends, the meat hot, and the bag only suffered a little browning. Many vendors that did batches of sandwiches held them under infrared lighting for immediate sale. Unfortunately, those that weren't sold usually found their way back into the freezer and were reheated again and someone often wound up with a dried out sandwich the next day.
How many of you remember these? The original company that sold nationwide franchises was Stewart. I believe a relative of one of the original group that started the company was/is a member of this board. Down here, they seemed to had some sort of problem by the early 70's as most places that sold the Stewart brands changed over to another vendor named Landshire that sold an exact & identical frozen product offering almost overnight. Landshire is still around as a pre-packaged sandwich vendor. I've seen others on the net over the years such as Jimbo's Sandwiches, McKim, & Chef Wiz that used the same formula. I'm sure there were others. They could be found anywhere in convenience stores, snack bars, gas stations, school lunch programs, bars, just about anywhere where HD prohibitions would have made on-site preparation too much of an investment or burden. All these places would furnish the oven and promotional material for free if you subscribed to a scheduled, minimum delivery of their products. Some also delivered a private labeled brand of chips, pretzels, cookies,popcorn, and snacks similar to Lance,Tom's,Lay's or other similar vending products including racks/shelving to create a entire snack bar/lunchroom experience with no more investment then refrigerated storage and somwhere to put the ovens and lights on.   
Those of you that remember these, did you have a favorite sandwich? Some of them had a cult following of folks that bemoan their demise to microwaved products. Do you remember any of the names or ingredients?
The offerings that I remember included:
Ham and yellow american Cheese on Bun
Bbq beef on bun (sort of like little strips in a horrible sauce similar to beef gravy with liquid smoke) 
Regular Hot Dog
Foot  long hot dog with chili and minced onion topping
Grilled Cheese
Hamburger/Cheeseburger/Pizza burger (these were made with what I think was a soy extended beef patty complete with fake grill marking) We called them rubber burgers, but people actually liked them.
Personal pizza before anyone heard of them.
Beef and Bean Burrito
Hoagie that I think was called a Torpedo made from a 6" piece of french roll, cotto salami, bologna, and white american cheese.
There were others such as Polish Sausage, a long bun with the same mystery meat burger, but topped with minced onion and a gravy like topping I believe called a Longhorn. These must have not been available in our region, I've only read about these.
post edited by DawnT - 2013/04/17 23:07:00

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