This post originally showed up in an edition of What’s the Difference?, a weekly newsletter for the curious and confused by brand-new York City writer Brette Warshaw. will be publishing every editions the parse food-related differences, despite those hardly scratch the surface of the world’s (and the newsletter’s) curiosities: Sign up to obtain What’s the Difference? in her inbox or catch increase on the full archive.

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A Hero, Sub, Grinder, and Hoagie?

Some things in life are simple: we know that 2 pieces that bread through stuff between them, for example, is a sandwich. Swap in a long roll, however, and also things obtain a lot an ext complicated.

Let’s start with the submarine, or sub. A sub is at least six inch long and is created with a combination of meat, cheese, fixings (lettuce, tomato, etc.), and also dressing. It is usually served cold. Follow to Google Trends, the word “sub” is by far and away the most frequently used the today’s four large-sandwich terms. You deserve to see this in the graph below:

Looking at the regional breakdown, “sub” is also clearly the winner — except for one, lonesome state.

Pennsylvania — what is walk on??

Pennsylvanians — Philadelphians, in details — have actually their “hoagies.” A hoagie is just a sub — the Oxford English Dictionary literally defines it as a “submarine sandwich” — however the Pennsylvania people have insisted on make it your own. According to Bon Appétit, the term likely comes from Depression-era jazz musician and also sandwich-shop owner Al De Palma, who started calling his submarines “hoggies” because you “had to be a hog” come eat a sandwich that big. (So judgy!) “Hoggies” in which method morphed right into “hoagies,” and you acquired yourself a regional sandwich term.

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Head over to new York City, and you’ll see a similar sandwich referred to as a “hero.” The ax likely originates from New York Herald Tribune columnist Clementine Paddleworth (yes, that was she name), that in 1936 described a sandwich so huge “you had to be a hero come eat it.” an ext so than a sub, a hero have the right to refer to both hot and also cold sandwiches, which is why you’ll see things choose meatball heroes and also chicken-parm heroes on menus about the area.

Lastly, we have actually grinders, which is the new England–based term because that a hero. Follow to Bon Appétit, “some insurance claim that it was named for ‘grinders,’ Italian-American slang for dockworkers (who were frequently sanding and grinding rusty hulls come repaint them),” yet the term many likely originates from the fact that they to be harder to chew than regular sandwiches: “that toothsomeness got translated into ‘grinder,’ since that’s what your teeth had to perform to acquire through a bite.”