Growing up in East Boston I remember everyone calling sandwiches “sangwiches”. Of course I never paid much attention to it. It was just the way we spoke.
Recently I thought of the origins of the word “sangwich”. It happened when my Uncle Domenic asked me if I would be coming over for “i sangwiche” phonetically pronounced “saaaahhhngwiche” An Italo-American word made up by Italians who combined Italian and English to make up such words as:
“Carro” – Car
“Begga” – Bag
“Sangwich” – Sandwich
Our generation had taken the word and pronounced “saaangwich” instead of sandwich. We took the made up term and made it even more english. You would hear it in all heavily Italian neighborhoods.
So, “sangwich Saturday” is becoming a new tradition in my family. Something I look forward to when all the cousins are together eating Italian subs made by Uncle Domenic.
I haven’t mentioned yet that my father and Uncle Domenic owned an Italian market in East Boston for over 30 years. They truly made the best Italian subs in all of Boston; using only imported cold cuts – mortadella, hot capicolla, sopresetta, provolone and prosciutto. The bread is also important if not the most important element of a really good “sangwich”.
Back in the day my father and uncle got their bread from DeStefano’s bakery on Bennington Street, East Boston. DeStefano’s is no longer there but Bart the baker is around and still baking some of the best bread in Boston at Boschetto’s in the North End.
Tomorrow is “Sangwich” Saturday. There’s nothing better than a good “sangwich” on a lazy Saturday with the cousins. We get older and time moves quicker, so we think. The excuses of not getting together is just that; excuses. All it takes is some good coldcuts, great bread, some tomatoes and you’ve got yourself a feast surrounded by great company.
What are your traditions?