General Discussion

What does a grinder mean to you? (or hero, sub, etc)


General Discussion 15

What does a grinder mean to you? (or hero, sub, etc)

rworange | Aug 28, 2005 02:05 AM

Yeah there are the almost quarterly posts about names for these sandwiches. I was curious about why the names are used in different parts of the country.

Bomb (New England)
Bomber (New Jersey)
Grinder (Connecticut, Midwest)
Hero (New York, northern New Jersey, other Eastern states),
Hoagie (Philly, southern New Jersey, other Eastern states, Midwest)
Italian sandwich or Italian (New Jersey, Maine, Maryland)
Poor boy or Po’boy” (Louisiana)
Sub or Submarine (New England, Midwest, West)
Torpedo (New Jersey)
Wedge (New Jersey and Westchester and Rockland Counties in New York)
Zep or Zeppelin (New Jersey)

Also, I’m wondering what the contents of these sandwiches mean to different people.

Growing up in central Connecticut they were called grinders. They could be hot or cold.

For the cold version, they were usually made on a large loaf of Italian bread from a local Italian baker, filled with cold cuts, topped with some sort of condiment like roasted red peppers and drizzled with olive oil. Some grinders were as big as half a loaf of bread. More often the loaf was cut into quarters. Depending on the source, mayo might be included. For me, grinder means Nardelli’s.

The hot version was usually on an Italian roll that was toasted and crusty. If cold cuts were involved, for some reason there was always mayonnaise on the sandwich. No mayo for meatballs/sausage. The finest of these was on the Boston Post Road, but I forget the name of the place.

So the links below has some info about why these sandwiches were named as they were. Here’s a summary:

Bomb or Bomber – Don’t know for sure, but probably like many of the sandwiches below were sold to military or workers at factories producing bombs during one of the wars.

Grinder - WWII, - East Coast – Sold to men who worked in the shipyards grinding rivets (grinders).

Hero - 1930s – New York – Credited to NY Herald Tribune food writer Clementine Paddleford who wrote you needed to be a hero to eat one

Hoagie – Hog Island in the Delaware river between Camden, NJ and Philadelphia – sold to workers on the island and originally called 'hoggies', which later became 'hoagies'

Italian Sandwich – 1903 – Portland Maine – Credited to Giovanni Amato who sold them from a cart to Italian workers. People started calling the sandwiches Italians.

Poor boy or Po’boy” - 1920s – New Orleans, Louisiana – Credited to Benny and Clovis Martin, owners of Martin Brothers Grocery, who served the sandwich to striking streetcar workers (those poor boys) either free or at a minimal charge until the strike ended

Sub or Submarine - World War II, - Groton, Conn. - Credited to Benedetto Capaldo's Italian deli in New London, which sold them to the military at the Groton Submarine station.

Torpedo – Don’t know why New Jersey, but probably had something to do with one of the wars and either a factory or military base origin. Shape is similar to a torpedo.

Wedge – Don’t know where this originated or why it was named other than for the shape.

Zep or Zeppelin - Don’t know for sure but probably named after the airfield where Zeppelin’s landed in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Probably named prior to the unfortunate air crash. Sandwiches are Zeppelin shaped. .

The food timeline. The most reliable source with references

If you scroll down this site has some origins of sandwich names. The only source I found that mentioned the reason for naming the sandwich a grinder.

The link below had the most detail and alternate origins of some of these sandwiches with links to references. Some pretty amusing stories.


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