First – for those who are using a hot dog …

Comment on Maine-Style “Italian” Sandwich by Mark B.

First – for those who are using a hot dog roll as a substitute – remember it is the New England version of a split top roll (crust on top but not sides) – not the bun that is used elsewhere. Even then, it’s not the same (the Italian rolls are more substantial – breadier). Second – if you want to use Genoa salami, capicola, provolone, etc. – go ahead. It may not be the classic – but even Amato’s has variations with these ingredients on their menu. Same goes for tuna, roast beef, turkey, etc. It’s all good and pretty much available at all the places in Maine where you can score an Italian. Many shops in my experience will skip the olives unless you ask. At Amato’s – go with the black olives unless you are a fan of greek ones which are overpowering IMO. What you should not substitute is the tomatoes, pickle, green pepper. Onions really make it great, but I will sometimes skip them if I don’t want onion breath, gas, etc. If you add lettuce or mayo – you have strayed too far. Amato’s is the original – an immigrant named Giovanni Amato invented the sandwich in 1902 as an inexpensive workingman’s lunch – selling them to dock worker’s on the Portland waterfront. As a poor college kid in the early 1980s – I lived on these – they used to be $2. There is a place in the blue collar town of Lewiston, ME that still sells them for that price every Wednesday.

Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road," as well as the junk food blog "Spork & Barrel," and "Brocavore," a blog about food trucks and street food culture. His contributions include Serious Eats, Down East, Eat Rockland, L.A. Weekly, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post and his food truck, "'Wich, Please," was named "Hottest Restaurant in Maine" for 2015 by Eater. Finally, he finds it very silly to be trying to write this in the third person.