The Italian sandwich, sometimes referred to as the Maine Italian sandwich, is an American submarine sandwich in Italian-American cuisine prepared on a long bread roll or bun with meats, cheese and various vegetables. The Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, in 1903 by Giovanni Amato, a baker. It is known as a grinder or a sub in Boston, Massachusetts, and as a spuckie in East Boston.
The traditional Maine Italian sandwich is prepared using a long bread roll or bun with meats such as salami, mortadella, capicolla and ham along with provolone, tomato, onion, sour pickle, green bell pepper, Greek olives, olive oil or salad oil, salt and cracked black pepper. Additional ingredients, such as pepperoni, banana pepper, lettuce and mustard, may be added to the Maine Italian sandwich. Outside of Maine, Italian sandwiches are typically prepared on a hard or soft Italian roll with the following ingredients: all thinly sliced to order meats including danish ham, genoa salami and capicolla along with provolone, shredded lettuce, onion, oil and vinegar, cracked black pepper and dried oregano. Additional ingredients, such as banana pepper and/or hot peppers may be added to the sandwich. The sandwich is often cut in half to make it easier to handle. The flavors and texture of the sandwich are unified by the ingredients used to create a gastronomic equilibrium, with the fats and acids in the ingredients serving to counterbalance one another.
The Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, by baker Giovanni Amato in 1903. While selling his bread on his street cart, Amato received requests from dockworkers to slice his long bread rolls and add sliced meat, cheese and vegetables to them. Amato later opened a sandwich shop named Amato's, and today the sandwich continues to be prepared by Amato's sandwich shops in Portland. The Amato's version is traditionally prepared using fresh-baked bread, ham, American cheese, slices of tomato, onions, green pepper and sour pickle, Kalamata olives and salad oil.
The Italian sandwich is known as a grinder or a sub in Boston, Massachusetts, and in East Boston it is referred to as a “spuckie”, derived from the Italian verb spaccare, “to split.”(See also spuccadella.) In Philadelphia and South Jersey it is known as a "hoagie" or a "grinder".
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- Smith, Bill (January 25, 2016). "Maine Voices: That was amore: When Portland was known for Italian sandwiches". The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram. Retrieved May 27, 2016.