Hoagies, a.k.a. Grinders

These phone conversations I have with my mom, as I’m trying to get her recipes down on paper, are sometimes kinda funny.

Me: “Momma, what did you put on hoagies*?”


Mom: “Oh, gosh, Italian dry salami, some ham.”

Me: “Provolone, right?”

Mom: “Oh, yeah, gotta be provolone! Reallllllly thinly sliced onion — it should be paper-thin. Thin-sliced tomatoes, too, and shredded lettuce. And of course olive oil. And a little basil.”

Me: “Don’t you mean oregano?”

Mom: “Oh, yes, oregano. Right.”

Me: “And mayo?”

Mom: “NO! You don’t put mayo on a hoagie! Mayo goes on sub sandwiches, but no self-respecting hoagie has mayo.”

Me: *silently rolls eyes*

Mom, laughing: “And don’t think I don’t know you just rolled your eyes at me.”


So there you have it. Soft Italian bread is best. I put mayo, but then it’s Clearly Wrong. Usually, we go with one long sandwich for everyone, but I had shopping fail, so this time, they were individual sandwich rolls. The slight dusting of dried oregano is what puts it firmly into Mom Food territory for me, because I’ve not had that since we left Philly when I was 7, unless my mom made it for me, and the oregano is a totally unique taste on a sandwich.

Try it. And use good olive oil, please, or my mom will know you didn’t.

* I was born in Connecticut, where these sandwiches were called “grinders”, but we lived for a while in Philadelphia, where much of my family still lives, and where they call them “hoagies”. Here in California, I mostly hear “subs” or “sub sandwiches”.

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  1. shaz wrote on October 6th, 2010 at 4:57 am Uhr1

    Hi, my first time here (thanks for visiting my little blog, glad I found yours)! Love the Mom Food project and I love that your mom knew when you rolled your eyes, even over the phone! Never had a hoagie before but definitely want one now :)
    shaz recently posted..Foodbuzz 24×24- The Mini-critics cook the alphabet

  2. Christine wrote on October 6th, 2010 at 5:16 am Uhr2

    I fell in love with hoagies when I went away to nursing school in Philadelphia. Yes, your mom is right: they “shouldn’t” have any mayo on them. But, I admit I got a fine one sometimes from the hospital cafe, and it had mayo on it. Mighty good, but it might have been the oregano.
    Now you have me craving hoagies. There used to be a place that would pack them for traveling, with the insides (meats, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and whatever) packed separately from the roll, but sitting in the roll. All one had to do was unwrap the insides and put them on the roll..
    I have tried to entice Philadelphia area folks to send me one, but they don’t listen to me. ;)
    Christine recently posted..Traveling- packing up

  3. Scraps wrote on October 6th, 2010 at 5:54 am Uhr3

    I’m with you, Selene, gotta have Mayo–no dry bread! Olive oil alone just doesn’t cut it, though I have been known to make an exception for a muffaletta with it’s olive salad doing a fairly good stand-in.

  4. Martin wrote on October 6th, 2010 at 10:00 pm Uhr4

    Woah. This post just made me very hungry. They say you shouldn’t run out to the 24-hour grocer, buy ingredients for a hoagie, and eat it 2 hours before bed. Looks like I’ll be up for 2 more hours! ;-)

  5. Serene wrote on October 7th, 2010 at 2:07 pm Uhr5

    :-) Thank you! And your “little blog” is one of my faves to win PFB; good luck with that!

  6. Serene wrote on October 7th, 2010 at 2:08 pm Uhr6

    Oh, the travel thing sounds brilliant. Some weirdos in my family don’t like soggy sandwiches. :-)

  7. Serene wrote on October 7th, 2010 at 2:13 pm Uhr7

    I swear, some things I eat just as mayo delivery systems. I’m a total mayo freak. :-)

    I’ve never had muffaletta; that sounds like my kind of thing!

  8. Serene wrote on October 7th, 2010 at 2:15 pm Uhr8

    Hee! My kinda guy.

  9. Scraps wrote on October 7th, 2010 at 3:27 pm Uhr9

    Muffaletta is a strange bird–it’s an Italian sandwich but synonymous with New Orleans cuisine–not LA in general, just NOLA–and the olive salad is just out of this world.
    Scraps recently posted..In Search of Comfort &amp Good Grilled Cheese No Comments

  10. shaz wrote on October 8th, 2010 at 5:51 am Uhr10

    Thank you, that’s really sweet. Fingers crossed :)
    shaz recently posted..A sucker for ambience

  11. Margaret Almon wrote on October 11th, 2010 at 7:05 am Uhr11

    One of my favorite discoveries after moving from Canada to the Philadelphia area was hoagies! Olive oil, oregano, and Amoroso’s rolls–heavenly!
    Margaret Almon recently posted..Come See Film Noir Mosaics- Watch Sunset Boulevard on the Big Screen and Hear Poetry at Ambler Theater- October 12th- 2010- 7-00

  12. Serene wrote on October 17th, 2010 at 9:44 am Uhr12

    It’s one of the things (crawfish etouffee is another) on my “Must eat in New Orleans or it doesn’t count” list. Of course, I’ve never BEEN to New Orleans, so we’ll see.

  13. Serene wrote on October 17th, 2010 at 9:45 am Uhr13

    Mmmm, now I want one. :-)

  14. Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness wrote on September 23rd, 2011 at 4:05 am Uhr14

    Oh, the oregano! I’ve recently discovered that a shake of an herb can completely alter a dish…even a nasty frozen pizza is bettered by the addition of that kind of flavor. And now I want to try it on my sandwich.
    Kimberly at Rubber Chicken Madness recently posted..Slappy in the Face: Cleaning Up My Life

  15. April Vernon wrote on September 23rd, 2011 at 4:33 am Uhr15

    The conversation made me laugh- especially you being busted on your eye roll. I have special memories of my grandpa making hoagies. I have to find out where he bought bread as long as the kitchen table. He was so proud of his special creations, and thankfully passed his art down to an uncle, that continues to have the whole family over for this special tradition.
    April Vernon recently posted..Jam-Packed, Fun-Filled Family Roadtrip! Part 2

  16. Marie Cole wrote on September 23rd, 2011 at 7:55 am Uhr16

    My Mom used to make the best pastrami subs, with shredded lettuce and some kind of oil and vinegar concoction, haven’t had them since but still remember the taste…Special treat!
    Marie Cole recently posted..Creative Bath Storage Ideas

  17. Jennifer wrote on September 23rd, 2011 at 7:45 pm Uhr17

    My husband will love this! Happy SITS day by the way!

  18. Serene wrote on September 23rd, 2011 at 8:47 pm Uhr18

    Thanks! It’s one of the many foods I often wonder why we don’t have more often. It’s so easy and stuff. But then I remember how expensive lunchmeat is. ;-)

  19. Jennifer wrote on September 23rd, 2011 at 11:02 pm Uhr19

    Oh my gosh I know! My husband and I have to eat what we have when we are running low on cash.