Dora Hand Sandwich

Brian Murphy Master Plumber

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Small black dog on Christmas dinner table

Bad dogs make good pets!

By William W. Lawrence

According to legend, Dora Hand, a beautiful, green-eyed young woman, gave up a promising musical career and left her Bryn Mawr home because her wealthy parents had shattered her plans to marry a handsome young school teacher.

The raven-haired Dora arrived in Dodge City, Kansas by stagecoach shortly after the Civil War. She landed a job at the Silver Dollar, a rowdy dance hall as a pianist and singer. The cowboys, smitten by her beauty and an alto voice as soft as spring rain, loved her.

Dora became a close friend of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson and James (Dog) Kelley. It was understood, however, that Dora was recovering from a broken heart and was not interested in romance. She lived alone, and not even the drunkest cowpuncher ever dared to offend her.

Dora was also a talented cook. The food at the dance hall was dreadful when she arrived, and she took it upon herself to teach Hiram Gittis, the cook who had trained on a chuck wagon, a few simple, but delicious recipes.

The creeks and ponds around Dodge were full of catfish, sunfish and crappies. Many of the cowboys would take their catch to the Silver Dollar, where Hiram, under Dora's tutelage, would prepare them into marvelous sandwiches which soon gained frame in the area. Cowpokes would ride 50 miles for a fish sandwich and a beer.

Dora and Dog Kelley became close friends. He was like a father to her. One day, the cowardly Frank Bingle, a trouble-maker, filled up on cheap whiskey, then pulled a gun on the unarmed Kelley. Dora leaped in front of Kelley just as Bingle pulled the trigger of his .45. The bullet smashed through Dora's heart. Moments later, Bingle also lay dead. Every cowboy in the place had emptied their guns into him.

The story has a happy ending because Dora left behind a legacy which is still with us -- The Dora Hand Sandwich.

The original recipe calls for the catch to be cleaned, then placed in boiling water to which two tablespoons of vinegar, a quarter teaspoon of pepper and a half teaspoon of salt has been added. Remove after about ten minutes, skin and debone. Then spoon the mashed pieces of fish on thick slices of buttered bread. Add thin slices of dill pickle and onion. Put a little mustard on the onion and serve piping hot.

We found it is much easier to use sautÚd filet of flounder or haddock on hamburger rolls. It is an epicurean delight, which is best when served with a frigid mug of beer.

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Laura Nachman

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