The buns can be white, whole-wheat or a mixture of grains. They are often bland and uninteresting, which though perhaps while of less importance in a hot Submarine Sandwich because heating brings a bun back to life, is a bit more crucial in a cold sandwich.
The usual fillings include slices of ham, salami, cheese, tomatoes, onions, and shredded iceberg lettuce, drizzled with a dressing of herbed oil and vinegar.
Aka Spukie, Spucky, Spooky.
This is the word used in parts of Boston such as Dorchester, South Boston and Roxbury. It is pretty much the same sandwich (or more accurately, “sangawhich” as it’s pronounced in parts of Boston) as a Submarine Sandwich. The roll used is a little different: it’s more pointy at the ends, and the top tends to split a bit during baking. The rolls, made at some bakeries in Boston, particularly in the north of Boston, are called a “spucadella” or “spuccadella” (despite its Italian-sounding name, there is no roll of that name in Italy.)
Hoagies are essentially the same as Submarine Sandwiches, though some Philadelphians insist that the bun should be a bun that is crusty outside, soft inside. In Philadelphia, the same sandwich heated up becomes a “grinder.”
There are competing claims and ideas about the invention and the naming of the sandwich. Most speculation centres on the sandwich having evolved from various types of Italian sandwiches (“panini”).
Some feel that the first person to use the Submarine Sandwich name might have been a Dominic Conti (1874 – 1954), owner of Dominic Conti’s Grocery Store on Mill Street in Paterson, New Jersey, after seeing the recovered 1878 submarine called “Holland 1” in the local Paterson museum in 1927.
Some sources support tales linking the name “Hoagie Sandwich” with Italian workers at a Philadelphia shipyard on Hog Island during World War I (1914 to 1918). The workers were reputedly called “hoggies”, and their Italian-style long sandwiches named likewise, with the sandwich name becoming “hoagies” over time. Sadly, there’s a missing link — there’s no print record of the sandwiches ever having been called “hoggies”, aside from misspellings that still occur to this day of the word “hoagie”.
Almost everyone agrees that the name Hoagie wasn’t derived from the name of American musician Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael (22 November 1899 to 27 December 1981.)
Some credit the name Hero Sandwich to The New York Herald Tribune food writer, Clementine Paddleford, when she wrote about the sandwich saying, “You’d have to be a hero to finish one.”
A Hero Boy sandwich cum family feud was carried on in New York by the Manganaro family for the last quarter of the 20th century, Their business started as Petrucci’s Wines and Brandies (though it sold groceries as well.) In the 1920s, it was bought by an immigrant from Naples named James Manganaro. In 1927, he was able to buy the building it was in, at 488 Ninth Avenue. In 1953 James died, leaving the business to his brother Louis and sister Nina (then married and named Nina Dell’Orto.) By 1956, the business, Manganaro Grosseria Italiana, had expanded by acquiring the building next door (there is no 490) at 492-494 Ninth Avenue, opening there the “Hero Boy” sandwich shop. The two businesses are separated by a single brick wall.
Nina Dell’Orto had 4 boys. In 1961, she gave one half of the business to the 2 oldest (Salvatore and Vincent), the other half to the 2 youngest James and Mario. Salvatore and Vincent got the grocery side of the business; James and Mario got the Hero Sandwich business on the other side of the wall.
The feud started in 1976 when the boys on one side of the wall accused the boys on the other half of cashing cheques not meant for it. The feud is now (2006) between Salvartore Dell’Orto who owns the grocery side and his brother James (aka Jimmy) Dell’Orto who owns the sandwich side. The legal battled started in earnest in 1987 over party-sized sandwiches that are 6 feet (2 metres) long. The grocery store side set up a telephone hotline called “Manganaro’s Hero Party Hotline,” advertising the sandwiches. James claimed that it was misleading, designed to steal business from him. In 2002, the grocery store side was ordered to pay the sandwich side $422,240.00 US in damages. Salvatore said he would have to go out of business. But the grocery store was still in business, unchanged, as of 2006.
Literature & Lore
1943: The earliest print mention of “Submarine Sandwich” that CooksInfo.com has been able to find dates from 1943:
“FIRST PRIZE and RECIPE
MRS. ADRIAN ECK
Box 385, Pandora, Ohio
Split a coney roll: hollow out: butter completely. Fill fore n ‘aft and in the middle with three different fillings. Baked beans with onions, chopped egg and mayonnaise, diced ham with relish.” — The Lima News. Lima, Ohio. 12 April 1943. Page 5.
1950: The earliest print mention of “Hoagie Sandwich” that CooksInfo.com has been able to find dates from a 1950 print advertisement placed by an unknown vendor:
The Biggest Take Out
In The Twin Cities
Buy One Try One
807 Main Street, St. Joe
Open Evenings and Sunday
Phone 6601” — Advertisement in The Herald Press. Saint Joseph, Michigan. 3 May 1950. Page 2.
1952: The earliest print mention of “Hero Sandwich” that CooksInfo.com has been able to find dates from 1952, from a caption accompanying an AP wirephoto:
“Eats Crow for Vote Forecast: Clyde M. Vandeberg, executive director of the American Heritage Foundation, gets set to nibble at a “hero sandwich” filled with cooked crow, at a New York restaurant Thursday. Vandeberg, doubting pollster predictions, had pledged to eat crow literally if the total national election vote last Nov 4 did not reach 63,000,000. The American Heritage Foundation sponsored the National Non-Partisan Register and Vote Campaign.” — Newport Daily News. Newport, Rhode Island. 14 November 1952. Page 3.
By 1955, there are many mentions of Hero Sandwiches in newspapers across America, including this one:
“‘Hero Sandwich’ NEW YORK (UP) — Two Columbia University scientists today recommended a “hero sandwich” to lessen tooth decay. They said the sandwich, composed of a whole loaf of Italian bread stuffed with meat, would give the teeth much-needed exercise even though it may not be very dainty to handle.” — The Holland Evening Sentinel. Holland, Michigan. 1 August 1955. Page 5.
“In Kilkenny Ireland, they don’t have anything American over there, it’s very cool. But they did have a Subway sandwich shop. That was the one thing they had American, and that became the American Embassy to me. I would go out to a bar and piss off an Irish dude and have him chase me to the Subway. I said, “Dude, I’m sorry, but you’re out of your jurisdiction. But you can have a cold cut combo, though.” — Mitch Hedberg (American comedian. 24 February 1968 to 29 March 2005)
Levine, Ed. Hey, Po’ Boy, Meet Some Real Heroes. New York: New York Times. 15 October 2003.