Definitions

Submarine sandwich

Submarine sandwich

A submarine sandwich or sub is any of various North American sandwiches made on a long roll (usually up to 12" long by 3 " wide) or baguette (called "French bread" or a "submarine roll" in the U.S.), so called because of its shape. The contents typically include meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and various condiments, sauces or dressings.

The term is believed by some to have originated in a restaurant in Scollay Square in Boston, Massachusetts at the beginning of World War II . The sandwich was created to entice the large numbers of navy servicemen stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The bread was a smaller specially baked baguette intended to resemble the hull of the submarines it was named after.

Another legend suggests the submarine sandwich was brought to the US by Dominic Conti (1874-1954), an Italian immigrant who came to New York in the early 1900s. In 1910 Mr. Conti started Dominic Conti's Grocery Store in Paterson, NJ. His granddaughter has stated the following: "My grandfather came to this country circa 1895 from Montella, Italy. Around 1910, he started his grocery store, called Dominic Conti's Grocery Store, on Mill Street in Paterson, New Jersey where he was selling the traditional Italian sandwiches. His sandwiches were made from a recipe he brought with him from Italy which consisted of a long crust roll, filled with cold cuts, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, oil, vinegar, Italian herbs and spices, salt, and pepper. The sandwich started with a layer of cheese and ended with a layer of cheese (this was so the bread wouldn’t get soggy).

Regional names and variations

In Canada, the sandwich is almost universally referred to as "a sub", or "submarine sandwich" (sometimes "sous-marin" in Quebec and francophone regions of the country).

In the United States, the terms "submarine" and "sub" are widespread, but there are also many regional names for the sandwich, especially in the northeast part of the country:

  • Cosmo — North Central Pennsylvania in and around Williamsport — an oven-toasted sub.
  • Grinder — Midwest, New England, Fairfield County, Connecticut. Inland Empire of Southern California. Also, a hot hoagie may be referred to as a Grinder in Western Pennsylvania. In Massachusetts, a grinder is generally considered to be a sandwich which includes sliced vegetables and shredded lettuce (if desired) and is heated in the oven after preparation, while a true submarine or sub is never toasted and generally includes chopped vegetables.
  • HeroDownstate New York, North Jersey and the Eastern United States
  • HoagiePhiladelphia, South Jersey, Pittsburgh.
  • Sub - Delaware, New England (if served cold, otherwise known as a "grinder"), New Jersey, Detroit and Baltimore **The Sub Sandwich was introduced to the Detroit area by Raymond Nemeckay, who owned Ray's Deli on East Warren on Detroit's east side
  • Po' boy or poor boy — Gulf Coast, especially around New Orleans
  • Spuckie — Boston, Massachusetts (used particularly in Italian immigrant neighborhoods)
  • Wedge — Prevalent in Yonkers, parts of the Bronx, and other sections of Westchester County, Rockland County, Putnam County and Dutchess County in New York.
  • Zep (likely truncation of zeppelin) — New Jersey; Phoenixville, PA and Norristown, PA. It differs from a hoagie; the standard Zep contains only cooked salami and provolone as the meat and cheese filling, and has no lettuce.
  • Italian — Maine, where "Italian" is used regardless of the filling, which is specified separately, as a "ham Italian", "veggie Italian" or "roast beef Italian". A regular Italian is usually a ham Italian, made up of: ham, cheese, onions, olives, green peppers, pickles, and tomatoes. Italians are made to order at most convenience stores and gas stations. A Maine "Italian" is often served on a larger version of the top-loading "New England style" hot dog bun. Amato's, a chain of stores in northern New England, claims to be the originator of the Italian sub. The term is also found in New Jersey.

An Italian sub, Italian combo, or Italian hoagie consists of Italian luncheon meats, typically capicola, prosciutto, and Genoa salami, with provolone, lettuce, tomato, oil, and vinegar. Thinly sliced pepperoni and bologna are sometimes added, and less expensive ham is often substituted for capicola and prosciutto. In some parts of the country, an "Italian Sub" is referred to as an "Assorted Sub" such as in Western New York State.

Other popular sub sandwiches are the meatball sub with the Italian tomato gravy and provolone cheese, and the sausage and peppers sub with Italian sausage and sauteed onions and bell peppers.

A cheesesteak or steak and cheese is grilled sliced steak with melted cheese on a submarine roll. Common local variations include grilled onions, peppers, lettuce, tomato, ketchup or tomato sauce. The cheese is usually processed American cheese, cheddar, provolone, or Cheez Whiz. Cheesesteaks are strongly associated with the Philadelphia area, while "steak and cheese" is more often heard elsewhere.

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