Blame it on my stupidity. I never knew that others outside of the Tri-State area were all that familiar with Maid-Rites.

I thought that Maid-Rites were something special, just for us folks to enjoy, and surprise our out-of-town guests with when they came to visit. Just how could something "so simple" be so darn delicious.

You'll pardon my ignorance and shock when I realized that Maid-Rites are part of a large corporation. I honestly had no idea. I just thought that you headed down on North 12th Street in Quincy, or if you happened to find yourself hungry in Hannibal, at the Mark Twain Dinette. I thought these two places were our little secret. It appears not to be the case at all, and there are folks all over, enjoying the "loose-meat" indulgence.

Matter of fact, we have to thank Iowa for creation of the original Maid-Rite. The sandwich has been around since 1926, first developed in Muscatine, Iowa. I remember when Tom and Rosanne Arnold opened a loose-meat restaurant in Eldon, Iowa, during their brief marriage. That's probably the only good thing that came out of that crazy relationship.  That restaurant, which closed in '95, at least lasted longer than the marriage. Go figure.

In the end, it doesn't really matter. People know what's good and if you keep making it the same way, they'll come back, which is what they do at the Quincy Maid-Rite, one of the original franchises, still in operation. How many times have you heard local people that no longer live in the area, say that eating a Maid-Rite is what signifies "coming home," for them.

So enjoy, and pass me another napkin.