Posts Tagged With: Philadelphia

125/365: National Hoagie Day

Happy Cinco De Mayo! Break out your sombrero and get ready to whack a few pinatas, because it’s National Hoagie Day!


OK, so May 5th seems like it would be a day more fitting to celebrate tacos or burritos, not hoagies. But it is what it is. We’ll save our fiesta for next year, I guess. Hoagies are one of many names assigned to a sandwich made with a long Italian or French roll that is split widthwise and filled with meat, cheese, vegetables, and sauces. It is also variously referred to as a submarine, sub, grinder, po’ boy, hero, torpedo, or Italian sandwich. The sandwich originated in Italian-American communities in the Northeast late in the 19th century, created to serve Italian laborers who wanted the same convenient sandwich they had enjoyed back in their native country. New York Herald Tribune wrier Clementine Paddleford (seriously) coined the term “hero” by writing, “you needed to be a hero to finish the gigantic Italian sandwich.” As far as the word “hoagie” goes, there are several different theories about its origin. This particular sandwich comes from the land of Rocky and Tasty Kakes, Philadelphia, and may have referred to a World War I-era shipyard in that city called Hog Island, where Italian workers introduced the “Hog Island” sandwich, later shortened to “hoggies” and then “hoagies.” Or it may be related to Philly street vendors known as “hokey-pokey men” who sold antipasto salad, meat, and cookies. OR it might have been derived from the term “on the hoke,” a slang term for bums in South Philadelphia. Deli owners, taking pity on these guys, would give away scraps of deli meat and cheese in an Italian bread roll known as a “hokie.” Wherever the name came from, former Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell declared the hoagie the official sandwich of Philadelphia. Kind of a surprising choice given that the city is famed for the cheesesteak, but maybe Ed had an intolerance for dairy. Who knows.

Everybody loves a good hoagie, and by everybody, I mean Tara, too. So we grabbed a couple from Jimmy John’s for dinner. Loved ’em!


Categories: Sandwich | Tags: , , , , , , | 5 Comments

116/365: National Pretzel Day

You’ll be in the mood to twist and shout today if you’re a pretzel lover. April 26 is National Pretzel Day!

It is believed that the pretzel was created by a bored monk (is there any other kind?) in the year 610, at a monastery somewhere in southern France or northern Italy. Scraps of dough were formed into strips and folded, to represent a child’s arms in prayer, with the three holes representing the Holy Trinity. The warm dough was offered as a bribe to children who memorized Bible verses and prayers. They called the doughy creation pretiola, Latin for “little reward.” As it spread through Italy the name was changed to brachiola, meaning “little arms.” Germany, probably more closely associated with pretzels than any other country, offers up an alternate version of their backstory, claiming they were invented by desperate bakers being held hostage by local Dignatories. Whatever their true source, pretzels (called bretzels there) have been an integral part of German culture for centuries. German immigrants known as Pennsylvania Dutch introduced the pretzel to America in the 19th century, and soon handmade pretzel bakeries flourished throughout the Pennsylvania countryside and beyond. In 1850, the first hard pretzel bakery opened in Lilitz, Pennsylvania; hard pretzels became a popular snack food that appears in various shapes and sizes – sticks, rods, braids, and loops. In the 20th century, street vendors in cities such as Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia popularized soft pretzels. The pretzel remains an iconic image of Philadelphia today, with residents consuming 12 times the national average each year.

I love pretzels, particularly freshly baked soft pretzels warm from the oven, sprinkled with salt and dipped in yellow mustard. I will rarely emerge from a shopping mall without eating a pretzel. Sometimes, I go to the mall just for a pretzel. Today was one of those days. Auntie Anne’s never disappoints.


Categories: Snacks | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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