Happy National Submarine-Hoa…wait what?
If this is your first time hearing about this food holiday, fret not because this food holiday is somehow considered foreign to most of us Orientals. This fact might sound like a hoax, but every October 9 is dedicated to a type of sandwich called ‘submarine sandwich’. It is a sandwich that goes by many names!
A submarine sandwich, or known as a sub, hoagie, hero or grinder, is a type of sandwich that consists of a long bread, as long as its name, and filled with deli meats, cheese, vegetables and condiments. The deli meats can be chicken, lamb, beef and pork. Today you can find a sheer variety of sub-hoagie-hero-grinder sandwiches, with fast food joints and street vendors coming up with innovative filling combinations.
History of Submarine-Hoagy-Hero-Grinder
In conjunction with National Submarine-Hoagy-Hero-Grinder Day, it is only appropriate that we take a moment to learn the story behind this unique sandwich. The origin of Italian sandwiches can be traced back to the late 19th to mid-20th centuries in the United States, whereby they were first created by several different Italian American communities in the northeastern United States.
Portland, Maine is believed to be the birthplace of the Italian sandwich, and it is considered Maine’s signature sandwich. Today, the popularity of Italian sandwiches is prevalent in most parts of the United States, and with the coming of fast-food chains such as Subway, it is now available across the globe.
Submarine, Hoagie, Hero, Grinder, what are they anyway?
Despite the different names, they are all the same foot-long bread stuffed with Italian deli meat, cheese, vegetables and condiments, but why all the names, and where did they come from?
Submarine sandwiches, or commonly known as subs, are called subs as they resemble a submarine. The exact origin of subs is uncertain, but many believe that it originated from New London, Connecticut, around World War II. At that time, the city is home to the Navy’s primary naval base and a large shipbuilding yard. The sandwich itself was said to be created by an Italian shopkeeper named Benedetto Capaldo. Soon after, the sub yard started ordering sandwiches from him, and they eventually became associated with submarines.
Hoagie is a term synonymous to Philadelphia for the big Italian sandwich. There are many versions of the story about its origin, but the most famous story began at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, which was located on Hog Island. The yard workers were called “hoggies”, and they introduced the sandwich by stuffing various meats, cheeses and vegetables between two slices of bread. Eventually, the sandwich became closely associated with them and known as the “Hog Island” sandwich, “Hoggies” and then “hoagie”, as it is known today.
Hero sandwich is indigenous to New York. The name is often attributed to New York Herald Tribune food writer Clementine Paddleford in the 1930s. He described that the sandwich was so huge that you had to be a hero to eat it. Today, hero remains the most common New York term for most Italian sandwiches on an oblong roll.
A common term in New England, grinder shares an almost similar root with the submarine. The origin of the term is uncertain, but many claims that the term grinder comes from the Italian American slang for dockworkers. However, some suggest that the source of the term is associated with the sandwich itself. The Italian bread was harder to chew than other typical bread, and because of that, some grinding is required to get through a bite.
Now that you have known the provenance of each sandwich, it is time for you to celebrate this day in style. Eating a sandwich is healthy and making one is easy. If you have tried any of the sandwiches above, maybe you can try making one for yourself or your loved ones.
There are many variations of Italian sandwiches out there for you to try, including this Chicken Teriyaki subs. This recipe does not require many preparations, and the result is love at first bite.
Ingredients (2 servings):
- 2 submarine buns (French or Italian loaf bread, about 24” long)
- ¼ cup light soy sauce
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 tbsp. beef stock
- 1 tbsp. liquid honey
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 500-gram skinless chicken breast, chopped
- 2 tsp. corn oil
- 1 tsp. corn starch, mixed with water
- Lettuce, finely chopped
- Tomato slices
- Prepare the marinade by mixing soy sauce, white wine, beef stock, honey, ginger and garlic.
- Marinate the chicken breast for an hour and refrigerate. Once done, drain the marinade.
- Then, heat oil in a wok and cook the chicken breast until golden.
- Add the marinade and corn starch and let it simmer and thicken.
- Once cooked, stuff the buns with meat, lettuce and tomatoes. Enjoy.
If you don’t have the time to make your subs, you can always log on to foodpanda and browse through our selection of fast-food restaurants such as Subway and have your sandwiches delivered to your doorstep. National Submarine-Hoagy-Hero-Grinder Day!