National Hoagie Day in May
It All Began in Philadelphia
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and I can vouch for the popularity of the hoagie. It is second only to the Philadelphia cheese steak. Finding that National Hoagie Day, is named in honor of a sandwich that was developed and perfected in my hometown is an exciting discovery.
The hoagie is not a sandwich with specifically defined ingredients, but a variety of sandwiches that have several ingredients in common. It is a daunting task to discuss a food with so many possibilities. I could use the cliche that the hoagie contains everything except the kitchen sink and not be far off. What bread is used? What condiments? What vegetables and most important of all what meats?
If you have ever stood in a hoagie line, you will know exactly what I am talking about. The list of hoagies offered is long, varied and full of options. But don't despair, nobody makes a hoagie faster and more organized than a Philadelphia hoagie shop.
Offical Sandwich of Philadelphia
There are numerous opinions on the exact origins of National Hoagie Day, but all agree on May 5 as the day it is celebrated. Most holiday historians also agree that the hoagie was created by Italians living in Philadelphia.
One college professor, Domenic Vitello, thinks the hoagie made its debut during World War I at Philadelphia's Hog Island shipyard. Hence, its original name Hog Island sandwich, from which the term hoagie developed. Perhaps, perhaps not.
There is a different take by the well-known Philadelphia Almanac, a publication that knows all and sees all. The Almanac indicates the development of the hoagie began in the early twentieth century with street vendors known as hokey-pokey men. These hokey vendors appear to have gotten the idea from late nineteenth century bakeries who created a sandwich known as the pinafore based on the operetta H.M.S. Pinafore.
The hokey-pokey vendors, budding entepreneurs that they were, cut the original long loaf in half, filled it with the antipasto salad that they had been selling and the first hoagie was born.
Although several other speculations on the origins of the hoagie are floating around they are much less plausible.
What is in a Hoagie
Hard to Say Exactly
Hoagies can have a variety of ingredients, but most people think of a hoagie as having lunchmeat and cheese on half of a long baguette-style bread. There are different versions depending on whether you want an American or an Italian style hoagie.
The American-style hoagie usually contains bologna, ham, salami and, of course, American Cheese, while the Italian-style does not use bologna, but instead a spicy Capicola ham, salami and a mild white cheese. None of these ingredients are absolute. Hoagies, Italian, American or otherwise often vary their meats and cheese.
Sometimes the hoagie roll is scooped out inside to make more room for the meats, cheese and condiments.
The Hoagie Maker
The condiments are really what makes a lunchmeat sandwich a hoagie. These are the condiments in a hoagie:
Oodles of shredded lettuce, none of it wilted.
Thinly sliced onlons, the kind you can see through.
Bell peppers, red and/or green.
Greek banana peppers, a must have.
Tomatoes, fresh and firm never soggy.
A hoagie is not complete unless it is dressed with oil and vinegar or an oil-based Italian dressing.
Hoagies never leave a traditional hoagie shop without being tenderly wrapped in butcher paper, so they can be carried without losing any of their ingredients.
Hoagie by Any Other Name is Still a Hoagie
Zepellin or Zep
Poll For Hoagie Lovers - Choose One
What Type of Hoagie Have You Eaten Most Recently
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Do You Eat Hoagies by an Name