I had no idea why a sandwich was called a Hoagie when I had it at Whole Foods a couple of months ago (see this post).
Yesterday, while on a flight back to NYC from San Juan, Puerto Rico, I found time to catch-up on some much-needed food related reading. “Far Flung and Well Fed” The Food Writing of R.W. Apple Jr. is the book that gave me an insight into why the sandwich is called a Hoagie. The author R. W. Apple Jr. was a food writer for the New York Times, and he reported on politics and war as well. I am enjoying reading this book and will share more of what I learn.
In his book, Apple writes about the origin of the name. “Hoagies owe their name to the Hog Island shipyard on the Delaware River. During the Depression, or so the story goes, construction workers there used to buy Italian sandwiches from a luncheonette operated by one Al DePalma, who called them ‘hoggies’. Time changed the name to hoagies.”
Where can you get the best Hoagie?
In Hoagieland of course! Apple writes that the best place to get a hoagie is Sarcone’s on Ninth Street in Philadelphia which apparently owned a tiny deli a few doors away. “Its Old Fashioned Italian (Gourmet) hoagie is considered a minor masterpiece. A roll with a crunchy seeded crust and a soft, yet densely chewy, interior provides a solid base with plenty of absorptive power. Both are sorely needed after they pile on the prosciutto, coppa, spicy soppressata, provolone, oregano, onions, peppers, oil, and vinegar.”
Here are some more explanations for the origin of the name “Hoagie”.
Meanwhile, watch out for some posts on some fantastic and not-so-great eating experiences in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and enjoy a hoagie or two if you can!!