Growing up in Coventry, RI, torpedos were a mainstay of my childhood. The church served them at every festival and bingo night, and my mom and grandmother both made them. When I grew up, I was surprised to find that people in other parts of the state had no idea what they were - maybe it was just a Pawtuxet Valley thing, which is putting a really fine pont on "local" food! Yet in Woonsocket, they have dynamites which I believe is the same thing, from how I've heard them described..
Anyway, a torpedo wasn't just anothe word for grinder or sub to us. It was a specific kind of sandwich, eaten in a torpedo roll, natch. My recipe calls for a couple of pounds of ground beef cooked with a few chopped bell peppers, a chopped onion, several minced cloves of garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and a small can of tomato paste, cooked for a couple of hours with a little bit of water. Best served with potato chips! That may sound like a sloppy joe to you, but it's really not close at all - it's spicy, not sweet.
Can anyone tell me whether a Woonsocket dynomite is the same thing, or is that different? I'm curious as to the geographic range of the torpedo vs the dynomite, versus those Southern New Englanders who've never had either, so please give your hometown a shout out and help me with this little research project, lol!