Hoagies, Heroes, Subs and Grinders

A ham and Swiss cheer hoagie. (Photo by jeffreyw via Wikimedia Commons)
A ham and Swiss cheer hoagie. (Photo by jeffreyw via Wikimedia Commons)

Today is National Eat a Hoagie Day.

Here are some things you may not have known about the sandwiches.

“Hoagie” is a term used mainly in the Philadelphia region for a submarine sandwich.

Regionally in the U.S., they’re also known as heroes, grinders, torpedoes, wedges, zeppelins, spuckies, blimpies, bombers, Italians, and spiedies.

The origin of the term Hoagie is, as always, unclear. One story is that Italian shipyard workers introduced the sandwich. The shipyard was known as Hog Island, and the sandwiches became known as Hoggies and then Hoagies. Another story is that street vendors called hokey-pokey men, began selling the sandwiches.

Regardless, the hoagie was declared the official sandwich of Philadelphia in 1992, depriving the cheesesteak of that honor, which seems sacrilegious.

The term is so ingrained in the City of Brotherly Love, that Banh Mi sandwiches are sometimes referred to as “Vietnamese Hoagies.”

The term “submarine” is the most widespread for the sandwich made from a long roll split lengthwise and stuffed with meats, cheeses, vegetables and condiments. The first printed record of the term “submarine sandwich” appeared in a and advertisement in  a Wilmington, Delaware telephone book in 1940. The name comes from the sandwich’s resemblance to the underwater vessel.

“Hero” is used primarily in New York City, and likely is derived from the heroism it would take to eat such a large sandwich.

“Grinder” is the most common term in New England, while “spuckie” used to be common in Boston, and “Italian” was used in Maine.

“Blimpie” and “Torpedo” have been used in the Tri-State area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. “Wedge” is used in the northern suburbs of New York City. “Zeppelin” is used in the Norristown, Pennsylvania, area.

Spiedie is an example of a very specific type of submarine sandwich in a very specific place. A spiedie is a Binghamton, New York, term for a sub roll filled with cubes of marinated meat.

I’m sure we’ve missed some, so let us know on Twitter if we forgot your favorite. Find us @triviapodcast.

Our question: We couldn’t find any reputable sub sandwich eating records, so, we’ll go with a different type of sandwich … What is the record for largest number of grilled cheese sandwiches consumed in 10 minutes?


Today is Children’s Day in Nepal, Engineer’s Day in Romania and San Jacinto Day in Nicaragua.

It’s unofficially National Coloring Day and National Cream-Filled Donut Day.

It’s the birthday of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who was born in 1849; women’s rights and birth control activist Margaret Sanger, who was born in 1879; and singer Amy Winehouse, who was born in 1983.

Because our topic doesn’t have a year associated with it, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1985, the top song in the U.S. was “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion)” by John Parr.

The No. 1 movie was “Back to the Future,” while the novel “Lucky” by Jackie Collins topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Weekly question

What two shows that are currently on the air are among the Top 10 longest running American scripted primetime series?



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