Skip to main content

Editorial: Let's call a sub a sub and move on

Being that the mainstream sandwich press refuses to air my opinions, I have decided to take my fight here, to the Internet. My rejection letters all tell the same story. Sandwich Monthly claims my writing is too “disjointed and unfocused” for their stodgy rag while Bread ’n’ Meat magazine tosses around big words like “nonsensical.” But let’s read between the lines: I’m just too real for them. I’m speaking the truth about sandwiches and these suits in their Wonder Bread towers are feeling the heat. Too toasty for you boys? Well tough, because I’m here to tell the world what the people in the streets are saying about sandwiches and I’m not going away.

So what are these street-folk saying? For one thing, they tell me sandwich naming conventions should be standardized, and I tend to agree. Most people agree that a long, skinny sandwich — that is a sandwich that’s oblong rather than square or round — is called a sub. But somewhere along the way, some troublemakers decided to start calling these submarine-like sandies something else in their hometowns. This has become a big problem in the northeast United States.

According to the font of pure truth called Wikipedia, Philadelphians call subs hoagies and DMX calls them wedges. Where did we go wrong, so that DMX is dictating what Yonkers people call subs? DMX doesn’t even know who Barrack Obama is; why is anyone listening to his crazed opinions on what to call long sandwiches? As I’ve observed, subs are called grinders in central Connecticut, and Brooklynites call them heros. This causes unneeded hassle at best, if not heartache.

As a result of New York City calling subs heros, one can’t order a gyro from a bodega without confusion. As I understand, “gyro” is pronounced something like “yee-row.” But if you order a yee-row at a New York deli, there’s a good chance the guy will ask you “yes, hero, what kind?” and you’ll try to explain the kind with lamb and tzatziki sauce, but he won’t understand. Dammit, why can’t we just call a sub a sub?

Look, Boston — stop calling subs spukies (when I lived there, I never heard anyone say “spukie,” but wikipedia says so, so it’s true). Jersey: although it makes sense, stop calling subs “zeps.” Let me explain:

Right: Zep’s best album is Houses of the Holy.
Wrong: Zeps are best enjoyed with salami and provolone.

I will abide New Orleans calling subs po’ boys because they’ve been through a lot and it’s admittedly a catchy name. But everyone else: a long sandwich is called a sub. Not a cosmo, not an Italian. Those are, respectively, a gay beverage and an ethnicity.

Have I made myself clear?

Comments

Michael said…
Here in Denver, I've started seeing a chain popping up called Jersey Mike's Subs. I thought you said Jerseyites called them "zeps." What gives?
Alex said…
Yes, I saw one of those at Speer and Broadway. Clearly Mike is from Littleton, not Jersey.

[Edit] According to the official Web site, JMS originated on the Jersey Shore, and is therefore authentic. That means either Wikipedia is inaccurate (impossible) or Jersey Mike had the sense to buck Jersey's wrong-headed sandwich-naming scheme and call a sub a sub. Kudos, Jersey Mike!
Lauren said…
I'm clicking on random tags whilst bored at work, and "hoagies" caught my eye. Yes, Philadelphians call them hoagies, wiki is right. We also have grinders, but grinders are simply hot hoagies. Are grinders served hot in CT?

About Jersey Mike's - thats an interesting one! If it originated in the Jersey Shore, that's more like Philadelphia than it is like New Jersey...but yet he's not calling it a hoagie either! I think you're right and Jersey Mike just had some common sense!

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Pepperhouse Gourmaise

Being that Big Condiment still seems to think Mustardayonnaise is a joke, I've been forced to seek out a suitable alternative. This search led me to Boar's Head's "Pepperhouse Gourmaise" spread.

According to Boar's Head, Pepperhouse Gourmaise is "real mayonnaise with a touch of Boar's Head Deli Mustard and a house blend of black, white, pink and green peppercorns." They also claim that it goes well with poultry, beef and pork.

I can confirm that it goes well with poultry and pork (or at least ham — I haven't tried it with any other pig-meats). And the quality of the ingredients seems to live up to Boars Head's high standards. As a black pepper kind of guy, I'm impressed by their fancy pink peppercorns.

Still, I can't say I'm satisfied with B.H.P.G. Its color is off-putting and the peppercorns hurt my teeth. And while it's decidedly OK, like so many jacks of all trades, this spread amounts to less than the sum of its parts…

Kewpie Mayonnaise: Disturbing but delicious

After years of waffling, I finally took the dive and purchased a bottle of Kewpie mayo.

Kewpie mayo's premium price and disturbing packaging had previously prevented me from buying it, but Grub Street blogger Ian Knauer's Flavor Ammo post about it convinced me to give the baby-themed mayo a chance.

For the unfamiliar, Kewpie is a popular Japanese brand of mayonnaise that's often found in gourmet specialty stores, such as Eastern District in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. It's also currently available for 10 bucks on Amazon. The package features a standing baby that could easily serve as a homicidal doll in a horror story. Adding to the unease brought about by the package, the mayonnaise comes in a bag. I can't be alone in my belief that a bag is a completely inappropriate container for mayonnaise.

Because of these setbacks, Kewpie mayo takes some getting used to. Now that I've come to terms with the unsettling packaging, I've probably topped about a…

Boar's Head Jerk Turkey is spicy

At my local C Town deli counter, I was pondering what to get for my weekly cold cuts. I was the only person around, so the deli guy immediately asked what I wanted. In a panic, I blurted out, "Buffalo Chicken! No! Ummmmm ... [frantically panning the meat case] uh, Jerk Turkey!" He sliced it up and I was on my way.

Now, I know next to nothing about what's in Jerk seasoning. I think it's Jamaican, and my understanding was that it had something like a mild curry flavor. In the case of Boar's Head's Jerk Turkey, it's apparently a chile-heavy dry rub.

The heat blast was a shock when I bit into my lunchtime turkey sandwich. Boar's Head makes some tasty spiced meats. Their Salsalito Turkey and Blazin' Buffalo Chicken come to mind. Neither of those are as hot as the Jerk Turkey. So it made my brown bag lunch a lot more intense than I was expecting. I usually have a high spice tolerance, so make sure you know what you're getting into if you're thi…