News You Can Use: Author pens a delicious read
The Elkton library is hosting a mouth-watering program this August all foodies will enjoy: the history of the submarine sandwich! Local author Vince Watchorn is writing a new book called “A Meal in One: The History of the Submarine Sandwich.” I got a chance to ask Watchorn a few questions about his book and research.
Allie Charles: Why are they called “submarine” sandwiches?
Vince Watchorn: Long story short, they are called “submarines” because the roll resembles a submersible naval vessel. The longer story appears to be that an Italian grocer in the 1920s saw a military submarine for the first time and thought it looked like the “Italian sandwich” he had been making in his shop, and named one after the other. What’s really interesting is that there are other areas of the country where a similarly-shaped sandwich took on a different name because of a different association. For example, Norristown, Pa., offers a “zeppelin” sandwich, and in Buffalo, N.Y., one can purchase a Torpedo!
A.C.: What inspired your research?
V.W.: It was a combination of a number of interests: I love subs and cheese steaks, have a life-long fascination with Italian-American culture and the focus of my historical writing is the history of Wilmington, Del.
The true impetus for this project is that I worked at Yatz’ Sub Shop, in Wilmington, during college (they offered me a job because I was in there all the time as a customer anyway). The owners were the grandsons of the man who had opened Wilmington’s first sub shop in 1935, and they had a classic photograph of him on the wall. The photo stood for so much to me and I wanted to see it entered into Wilmington’s formal historical record one way or another.
I was excited about it, though, and started pulling on the string, expecting to write a brief couple pages. Digging deeper, it turned out that Wilmington holds a really significant place in the development of the sub into a national item. I was hooked, and I have truly never had more fun writing anything in my entire life.
A.C.: When’s the publication date for your book?
V.W.: Cedar Tree Press expects publication by the end of 2017.
“A Meal in One: The History of the Submarine Sandwich” will take place Monday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Elkton Central Branch. Call 410-996-5600 extension 481 or go online to register today.
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