Spuckie, Grinder, Hero, Wedge, Hoagie, Torpedo, Sub.
We have been down this road before at the Lunch Encounter, with zest, while keeping our eyes to the skies for Zeppelins, as well.
My mom – a culinary historian who sticks to a lead like warm mozzarella to fat-flecked mortadella – put me on the spuckie trail. Not that I needed any pushing. Been sprinkling conversations with the word since I read it. You’d be surprised, or perhaps not, at how apropos a spuckie interjection is to daily interaction. Particularly on slow news days. And during blizzards. One can only discuss snow removal so much.
A letter to my mom from Kathleen Wall, the Colonial Foodways Culinarian for Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massuchesetts:
Soooo…. I was at a museum conference at Mystic Seaport Museum, eating Indian Pudding and someone asked if anything out of the ordinary came up this week, and I mentioned spuckies. A table full of blank (yet polite) stares EXCEPT from Paulette, who is from Rhode Island. I told her I hadn’t thought of spuckies as a little Rhody thing, and she said she learned about them from her husband who is from South Boston. This is what he has to share:
Hey, what a blast from the past! I’ve never heard anyone call them “spuckies” outside of Southie (South Boston)! I don’t really have any stories, they were just what you called those types of sandwiches. I never heard of grinders, subs or any other names for these until I went to junior high in the city. Of course most of the kids didn’t call them spuckies, but at least knew what they were. When I came to Rhode Island no one had a clue what I was talking about.
The place we got them was near the corner of L Street and Broadway. I have no idea what the name was as everyone just called it the spuckie shop. This was around the mid 60’s to early 70’s. Not sure when the place went out of business as it was a long time after I went to college before I revisited Southie. It was a big treat to go to the spuckie shop!
BTW – I’m loving that I can work the word ‘spuckie’ into my daily conversation. (See, I am not the only one.)
Got a teensy bit sidetracked by the Zeppelin.
Men Will Like This Sandwich
June 4, 1959, Idaho State Journal
A sandwich inspired by the Graf Zeppelin has won recognition for a Norristown, Pa., restaurant man, Joseph Barone.
His hearty concoction vied against over 800 entries in the National Sandwich Idea Contest to place among the 20 Best Sandwiches of 1959.
Three variations of the “Zep Sanndwich” are featured on the menu of Barone’s Gate Canteen in Norristown. The original large “Zep” with its filling of salami, cheese, onion and tomato is served on a 10-inch loaf of hearth-baked Italian bread.
In Barone’s words, “It’s large enough to satisfy the entire family, or party guests.”
He sells half-sizes of the large “Zeps” to hungry construction workers and employees of two textile plants near his restaurant. The small “Zep on a Bun” proves popular with feminine customers.