Mar 27, 2012

Sub / Hoagie / Grinder / Po' Boy Sandwiches

Shrimp po-boy sandwich, from Parkway Bakery, N...
Po'-boy, from Parkway Bakery, New Orleans.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The other day I pulled into a TA truck stop to get gas. It was lunch time and I had some time to kill, so I decided to go in to browse and have lunch at Popeye's (since I hadn't eaten there yet). I stared at the menu and immediately decided that it was time to have my first po' boy. I ordered a spicy dressed fried chicken po' boy, Cajun fries and biscuit.

I had heard about them before, but I grew up in the Northeastern U.S., so I was brought up on "subs," " grinders," "hoagies," "Philly cheese steaks," "heroes," "zeps," "blimpies." Reading the history of a "po' boy" on the back of the wrapper is what led me to do a little surfing to find out what the "differences" were since they seemed the same to me. I will say, that having been to a Popeye's for a po' boy, I WILL be going there as often as possible.

The best explanations I am sharing come from Wikipedia for a Po' Boy and Submarine. I'm not going to bore you with all of the details. For more information, click on the links for each.

They all began appearing on menus in the late 1800s and early 1900s across the U.S. The Italian culture brought them to the Northeastern U.S., and Louisiana brought the po' boy around 1920 (due to a street car strike). Regardless of the "reasons" they are so yummy, I'm just glad that they exist. I have a pizzeria and a Subway less than a mile away. The only real difference is what is put on or in them and the spices used...

It also brings to mind a sandwich that I ate a lot of in Pittsburgh, PA from Primanti Bros.  The original location was in the Strip District, which is where a lot of things happened. The Primanti Bothers started in the 1930s to provide a meal for the produce truck drivers that needed a complete meal, all in one. They make their sandwiches with the main entree (steak, eggs), french fries, cole slaw, and tomatoes all between 2 slices of Italian bread. A trucker could make his delivery to the Strip, grab a meal, and be back on the road in no time. All for a decent price. Sigh...the memories of finding a place to eat after a long evening of being out... but I digress...

A key point that I learned from doing this surfing, is that if you are going to make your own sub / hoagie / po' boy, putting a layer of cheese on the bottom, then the meat, and then another layer of cheese helps prevent the bread from getting soggy...good to know. Maybe that is why a true Philly Cheese steak has so much cheese folded into it. Happy eating...
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