Searching For America
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Tag Archives: New York
“We will eat enough hot dogs that our blood type will become ‘Nitrates’ and then we will eat some more.”
~AFFotD Official Credo
Recently, we at AFFotD painstakingly researched over 25 different long rolled sandwiches in America over the course of 11,000 words and four articles. We learned a lot during that delicious (though at times, excruciating) journey—mainly that it takes most wives and husbands about four hours of listening to a writer drunkenly talk about sub sandwiches before they take the kids and go spend a week at their parents’ place. While it’s all well and good to spend your time writing about submarine sandwiches and Italian beefs, when you try to list every type of sandwich in existence you end up scrapping the bottom of the internet to find anything at all that explains why “sarney” is in the dictionary as a type of sandwich, or why whiskey doesn’t always chase the demons away. After we ran ourselves ragged trying to write about every sandwich, we were pleased with our results, but swore an oath that we would never again take on such a daunting, impossible task. Unfortunately, we then celebrated the publication of the series by getting really drunk again and thinking of another article suggestion, and since we were hungry, we decided to talk about every kind of regional hot dog in America.
God…goddamn it. We just will never learn.
Anyway, it’s time to delve into the magical tube of nitrates that is the hot dog in all of its wondrous (and occasionally not-so-wondrous) incarnations. Hold onto your hats, America, here’s another multi-part, nation-sprawling series on unhealthy foods.
Regional Hot Dog Styles Of America: Part 1 of 4
“Subway—it’s..it’s fine. I mean, it’s Subway. It was open.”
~Rejected slogan for Subway
For nearly a century, the Americanized Italian sandwich has played a pivotal role in filling our bellies efficiently and deliciously. Cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, onion, and tomato, all shoved into a sliced loaf of Italian bread and drizzled with oil and seasoning, has long been the default, “I don’t know what I feel like for lunch, eh, I’ll just get a sandwich” lunch choice for generations of workers.
Widely known as the Submarine Sandwich, it goes by about 17 different names in different regions throughout America, with dozens of additional variants from people who want hot sandwiches or beef doused in it’s own juices in elongated sandwich form. While many long roll sandwiches end to differ in name only (subs, meet hoagies, you are the same), others are radically different and even manage the eschew cold cuts entirely, but all are delicious and American. So instead of awkwardly stumbling through the history of the “submarine, or, uh, grinder, or, uh…” sandwich, we’re going to look into each type of this classic meat delivery system in the hopes that, that by showing our differences, we can bring our nation together. By spending some 11,000 words talking about sandwiches that are shoved into Italian bread or rolls over the course of four articles. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, over 25 types of sandwiches total, but first, let’s start from the beginning.
The Regional Italian and Submarine Sandwiches of America: New England and New York
“Goddamn it AFFotD, now I REALLY want pizza for dinner.”
We here at AFFotD have a hard time shutting up about pizza, probably because it’s delicious and incredible and if you don’t like pizza you’re a bad person and you should feel bad. However, in our rush to point out things like “Pizza with toppings put in the crust” or “Goddamn it Japan you’re doing it wrong” we’ve overlooked one of the most important aspects of pizza’s culinary life—its European beginnings, and America’s impressive ability to adapt it for its own heart-clogging purposes. Pizza as a dish originated in Naples, Italy, much more recently than you would assume—while variations of bread baked with cheese have been around since the ancient Greeks, and Italians were eating some combination of baked bread, cheese, and tomato called “pizza” since the 17th century, the “modern” pizza likely wasn’t invented until 1889, using red tomato, green basil, and white mozzarella so as to cover the pie in the three colors of the Italian flag. It’s basically the same logic that America applied when inventing red, white, and blue jello shots.
Despite being such a famously “Italian” food staple, America wasn’t particularly far behind the curve in the pizza department. The first American pizza establishment opened up in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York by 1905. Once pizza reached our shores, we went to work on perfecting it, and we’ve since gone on to develop countless regional forms of the dish, some of them barely resembling the original Italian creation. Usually that’s for the best. Sometimes, not so much.
But we are a land of experimentation, and we’re here to embrace that quality, so join us for the first part of a two part pizza spectacular where we show you the best and worst of America’s regional pizzas, starting with the best because we know you’re hungry right now and we do so love to torture you.
The Five Best Regional Pizzas In America
“That’s not a pizza, it’s a damn casserole! I feel strangely threatened when I see different versions of a food my city’s supposed to be known for!”
At its heart, pizza is just cheese, dough, and tomato sauce, topped with whatever additional ingredient you want. Inherently, pizza exists to breed creativity and adaptivity. In the hands of madmen and foreigners, this culinary freedom can be disastrous, but in the hands of true Americans, this can create an unhealthy, delicious American meal glorious enough to single-handedly keep additional-belt-hole-punchers in business. One of the most glorious examples of this, of course, is the Chicago-style pizza. Less of a pizza pie, and more of a pizza cake, Chicago’s deep dish pizza gives you as much fat, grease, and cheese as you’d expect to find from a city that’s primary gift to the realm of fine cooking involves hot dogs and roast beef dipped in its own juices.
So with a casual, “Get over it, yes, we get it, you guys are proud of your pizza, and you have good pizza places, but stop acting like you’ve done anything original to the style just because you use special tap water to make the crust” to our now-livid readers in New York, AFFotD is proud to present you with…
The History of Chicago-Style Pizza
“Thank God they’re finally getting to New York on this list. New York doesn’t get enough written about it. New York is the most important city in the most important state in the most important country in the world, and they’d better give it it’s due. Honestly, just knowing that AFFotD is going to write about the most American aspect of New York gives me chills, because I can’t fathom how they could limit it to JUST one thing! New York is THE cultural hotbed of the nation. If it weren’t for New York, we WOULDN’T HAVE ANY CULTURE! I honestly don’t see why you’d live anywhere else. Sure, some people might rag on us, say we come off as entitled and just because we pay a thousand dollars to live in a closet space in Manhattan doesn’t make us better than anyone else, but to them I’d say that if you can make it here, you can make it ANYWHERE. And if you don’t like the New York attitude, you clearly just don’t like being a winner. New York has the best food in the nation, it has the best theater in the nation, all the best TV shows and movies are filmed here, our women are more attractive than your women, our men are more successful than your men, our babies’ shit has a less unpleasant consistency than your babies’ shit, if you’re in New York you know it’s for a reason, and it’s because you’re the cream of the crop, the best America has to offer. And I’m not talking about those mindless drones tittering around Central Park with their cameras and their Kansas City notions, I’m talking about REAL New Yorkers. The Lawyers in Manhattan, the Graphic Designers in Brooklyn, the…well I don’t know anyone who lives in Queens, but I do know that you, right now, wish you were us, and I don’t blame you. Oh man, I’m so excited to see what they pick out as the most American part of New York. You have no idea. It better not be the Statue of Liberty, because that’s just for fucking tourists. Maybe it’ll be that our parties NEVER stop, I mean, we ARE the city that never sleeps after all. Man. So excited. New York is the greatest. I’m the greatest. Yeah. I’m so great.”
~A randomly surveyed New Yorker
As you may have no doubt surmised, we’re diving head first into part three of our epic ten-part series, The American States of America, where we list the most American quality of each state, and you deflate a bit with disappointment when you read what we have to say about where you’re from. As we list each state in order of when they were admitted to the union, this will mark the first of our series where we start talking about states that weren’t among the original 13 colonies. We know, pretty wild stuff. Anyway, you’re clearly excited for the first state in this batch, so we’ll just get to it.
“With the power of…DAIRY!”
~Cheeseman, a short lived American superhero
Fair warning, this America Fun Fact of the Day will not be about Cheeseman. We know, you’re all a little saddened by that revelation, but we decided to rip the band-aid off cleanly, and right away. Shh, shh, it’s okay. It’s okay. Drink to forget. Drink to forget.
But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to talk about cheese. Not an American history of cheese, because holy shit that’s a good idea but we’re way too hungover for that, but we are going to talk about a little place we have mentioned before in passing, a venue that is all beer, cheese, and absurd Midwestern ideals of grandeur.
We’re talking about…the Mars Cheese Castle, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“…I actually like holidays a bit myself.”
Back in the 2004, as we were relishing in the early-mid-aughties, a song came out that had lyrics we found particularly inspiring. “It’s so much better on holiday/ that’s why we only work/ when we need the money.” These American words, written by Franz Ferdinand (oh shit wait they’re from Glasgow, uh, shit shit uh, how about…) AC/DC really sum up the mindset of a nation that founded by a holiday (the 4th of July) and uses holidays to celebrate everything from the brutal subjugation of asshole natives who were acting like they owned the land they had lived on for generations (Columbus Day) to the brutal subjugation of asshole natives who had the audacity to try to tell us how to grow corn (Thanksgiving). You stick the seed in the ground, we’re pretty sure we can take it from here, now give us New York please.
Yeah that’s about right
Of course, the origins of holidays have very little to do with their American purpose. Cinco De Mayo used to be a mild celebration over a battle that the Mexican army won in 1862, but now it’s a way for us to celebrate getting drunk on Tequila while letting American school children worry school officials by wearing in-your-face American flag paraphernalia. In the long run, if it gets us out of work, or school, we don’t really care too much about the origin of holidays. Non-Christians that complain about the fact that they “have” to take a day off of work on Christmas are the grown-up equivalent of the nerdy kid in school who demands that the teacher give the class a pop quiz. No one has ever liked them, because they’re annoying, now take your free day and like it.
So with that in mind, and in honor of today being the Fourth of July, this week AFFotD will present for you a a week devoted to the discussion of the American qualities of each Holiday. We’re here to start with every Federal (ie, public offices are closed by it) holiday, and rank them in terms of their Americanness, from worst to first.
“Yeah, the…uh, God, what’s the word…day in history thing?”
A band named after what we put in our coffee once stated, hot time, summer in the city. While you may not be living in a city right now, you are part of the grant giant city known as…America. That’s all we got, though. Sure it seems kind of tenuous, but still, here is…
Today’s American Day in History (America Edition)