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Maine Italian sandwich facts for kids

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Italian sandwich
An Italian sandwich

Maine's Italian sandwich, sometimes referred to as the Maine Italian sandwich, is an American submarine sandwich in Italian-American cuisine prepared on a long bread roll or bun with meats, cheese and various vegetables. The Maine Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, in 1903 by Giovanni Amato, a baker.


Italian Salumi (coppa and mortadella)
A cross-section of an Italian sandwich

The traditional Maine Italian sandwich is prepared using a long bread roll or bun with meats such as salami, mortadella, capicolla and ham along with provolone, tomato, onion, green bell pepper, Greek olives, olive oil or salad oil, salt and cracked black pepper. Additional ingredients, such as pepperoni, banana pepper, lettuce may be added to the Maine Italian sandwich. The sandwich is often cut in half to make it easier to handle. The flavors and texture of the sandwich are unified by the ingredients used to create a gastronomic equilibrium, with the fats and acids in the ingredients serving to counterbalance one another.


The Maine Italian sandwich was invented in Portland, Maine, by baker Giovanni Amato in 1903. While selling his bread on his street cart, Amato received requests from dockworkers to slice his long bread rolls and add sliced meat, cheese and vegetables to them. Amato later opened a sandwich shop named Amato's, and today the sandwich continues to be prepared by Amato's sandwich shops. The Amato's version is traditionally prepared using fresh-baked bread, ham, American cheese, slices of tomato, onions, green pepper and sour pickle, Kalamata olives and salad oil.

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