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!