Hoagies, a.k.a. Grinders

Mom knows when you are putting the wrong things on sandwiches. Don’t ask me how she knows, but she does.

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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*?”

hoagie

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.”

Busted.

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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Author: Serene

I run The Mom Food Project, which was born out of love for my mom and a desire to preserve the recipes of my childhood, which didn't actually exist in written form until I quizzed my mom and wrote the recipes down.

19 thoughts on “Hoagies, a.k.a. Grinders”

  1. 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 :)

  2. 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. ;)

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  4. 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. 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.

  6. 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!

    1. 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. ;-)

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