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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

On Hoagies, Heroes, and Subs

Sub_Station_II_Sub_SandwichThe 18th century Earl of Sandwich might be turning over about now. His idea of placing a quick meal inbetween two pieces of bread has morphed many times over. In some countries, such as Russia, the “booderbrod” is what we might term an open-faced sandwich. In America, bigger is better, and the sub sandwich reigns.

But I got to thinking. (That’s what homeschooling parents do a lot of, they think of teachable moments, usually to irritate their kids and turn an absolutely relaxing moment into a high-pressure memorization of facts, lol.) Why a “sub” sandwich? Did the name meatball-subcome from a time of war, from the fare ingested while away at sea?

Yes and no. There are port towns, home to submarine fleets where the sandwiches became popular around World War II. Yet, some claim the name hailed from the fact that the sandwiches look like subs, themselves.

italiansub1Heroes? You’d have to be a hero just to finish one!

Grinders? You grind your teeth to get through the chewy Italian bread and sky-high fillings. Or, some say that “grinders” were Italian-American dockworkers sanding rusty ship hulls.

The hoagie also had something to do with Navy Yard workers, this time Irish immigrants often named Hogan. Or, the workers in Philadelphia who worked on Hog Island and were called hoggies.Jersey sub sandwich

On and on the variations go, but usually, the sandwiches are connected with the Navy, dockworkers, someone’s Italian wife making a great lunch, or sub shops during World War II, if not the Depression.

Nowadays, they’re still long and yummy, hot or cold, layered high on whole grain or delicious Italian sub rolls, packed with veggies, cold cuts, and condiments of your choice. Grazie to Italian ingenuity, the sub’s a hit, whether picnicing, a quick lunchtime bite, or an after-sports snack.

Hold the mayo, make mine with mustard, please.


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