Mrs. Mitchell's Sloppy Joes

Vickie Phillips


Although my grandmother had been trained as a teacher at East Tennessee State Normal School, the circumstances of her life led her to be a cook at Fairmont Elementary School in Bristol, Tennessee. This way, she could take leftovers home to feed her two girls. She was very well known and loved in the community of Willie Boom, where she cooked at the school and taught Sunday school at the Baptist church.

After my grandmother's death, many people in the community asked my mother for this recipe. I never knew it was famous. To me, it was just another comfort food. My grandmother probably made up the recipe while cooking at school.

2 pounds ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
¾ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce

Brown the ground beef and drain well. Add the other ingredients and let simmer for 20 minutes or more (the longer the better). Serve on hamburger buns or light bread.