National Eat a Hoagie Day on September 14th promotes a sandwich which is also known as a grinder, sub or hero. You can also order a po’boy, torpedo or an Italian sandwich to celebrate!
The hoagie consists of meats, cheeses, vegetables, sauces and seasonings on a long roll of Italian or French bread.
However, the origin of this giant sandwich is a bit of mystery. The epicenter of the controversy seems to be eastern Pennsylvania between the DiCostanzas and DePalmas. Both lay claim to being the first to make the hoagie. One family claims to have been making the sandwich since 1923 and the other since 1925. But who has the proof?
Another story from the Philadelphia area takes place during World War I. It describes shipyard workers bringing large Italian sandwiches to work wrapped in newspaper. The large sandwiches helped the workers through their long, grueling workdays. In fact, the workers nicknamed the massive sandwiches “hoggies” because anyone eating them at one sitting would have to be a hog. The Philadelphia accent explains the transformation of the word. The dialect often exaggerates the vowel sounds changing “hoggies” to “hoagies” quite easily.
One story talks out of school – almost literally. At one time, if a kid skipped school it was called being “on the hook” or “playing hokey.” A “hokey” sandwich could be bought for a price a kid on the lam could afford. Eventually “hokey” became “hoagie” especially if the kids were skipping school.
GET INVOLVED: Make your favorite hoagie combination. It’s also ok to take a picture of your masterpiece and share it with all the world. Hoagies are colorful, beautiful meals and should be documented for posterity. Hoagie lovers, live on the wild side. Add a jalapeno to your sandwich and post your “HOT” new trend. Call it “Hoagies Gone Wild!” or “Hottie Hoagies!” And, if you didn’t make it but your favorite sandwich shop did, be sure to give them a shout out.