Thursday, February 2, 2012

Super Sandwiches for Superbowl Sunday

DiNic's in Reading Terminal Market, the undisputed King of the Pork Sandwich

Super Bowl Sunday is nearly upon us, and the perfect food for game viewing is a hearty handy sandwich.  This eliminates the need for utensils, and keeps a hand free for gleeful high fives or obscene gestures.  In considering sandwiches, we started to think about their history, and their many monikers.   Don't worry, we'll get to menu suggestions shortly.
Beck's Cajun Cafe Shrimp Po'boy--New Orleans without the airfare

It is said that the sandwich is named for John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718-1792), who was an avid gambler and reluctant to leave the gaming table to dine.  By tucking a slab of meat between slices of bread he was able to continue his play uninterrupted through the night, and still have a hand to hold the cards.

Down Home Diner's Cheesesteak

Some years later, across the ocean, the Hoagie was Christened. The Hoagie, that uber-Philadelphian sandwich, traces its name back to the Italian immigrants working in the shipyards on Hog Island in the early 1900s.   Hog Island was located in Philadelphia where the Schuylkill met the Delaware, in the area that now houses Philadelphia International Airport.   The shipbuilders would carry sandwiches to work consisting of meats, cheeses, and lettuce on a long Italian roll.  This came to be known as a "Hog Island Sandwich" and was eventually shortened to hoagie.

By George in Reading Terminal Market has an incredible sandwich selection!

About a thousand miles south, New Orleans found itself home to a similar lunch item:  the po'boy.

Po'boys are the quintessential New Orleans lunch food.  Served on an oblong roll, filled with meat or fried seafood, they are everywhere in the Crescent City.  The term po'boy has disputed origins.  Some trace it to the New Orleans restaurant owned by Benny and Clovis Martin.   The Martin brothers had been streetcar conductors prior to their culinary career, so when the transit workers went on strike in 1910, the Martins sympathized--and fed them.  The hungry strikers would enter the restaurant, invariably someone would utter, "Here comes another poor boy," and a sandwich would appear.  Hence the association.    The other claim credits  Trapani's, also in New Orleans.  This bar would offer 5 cent beers at noon and throw in a sandwich for free.  This simple repast came to be known as the poor boy's lunch, and eventually the term came to refer only to the sandwich. 

Turkey on Rye with Beck's Creole Mayo--great condiments make all the difference!

Which brings us to suggestions for this weekend's big game.  If the pictures above didn't tempt you to head to our favorite foodie haven, Reading Terminal Market, and order a tray of something wonderful, consider any of these simple crowd-pleasers from your own kitchen:

  • Italian sausages braised with onions and beef broth, simmered til tender, served on rolls
  • Meatballs with marinara sauce on long rolls
  • A selection of cold meats, assorted breads and condiments in a 'make your own' buffet
  • Chicken Cutlets, Broccoli Rabe, and Provolone Cheese on a round roll
  • Pulled Pork
Our own bbq pulled pork
Did we forget anything?  What is your favorite sandwich?

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