sometimes they're strange land forms, unique structures or historic sites, but more often then not it's an object or animal that seems to vastly different than most other object like it. you often hear "the world's largest...", "the worlds deepest..", "the worlds smallest..", etc etc ect. if i'm on the road and see a sign for one of these attractions, you can bet i'm going to stop and check it out. now imagine my delight when one of these events basically came to me.
last month the city of portland, maine decided to create the world's largest ham italian.
a little back story for those unfamiliar with this type of sandwich.
to make a long story short, back in the day, a baker named giovanni amato was selling bread to the dock workers of portland. by request, he started adding sliced meat and vegetables to the bread making a simple ham sandwich. since he was italian, they became known as ham italians. he sold so many he eventually opened a restaurant. over one hundred years later it's a staple in the state of maine, with his store still going strong as well as several other deli's selling their version of the sandwich.
i was introduced to these sandwiches last year by a friend of mine who is a true "mainer." being the type of guy who loves local culture and wanting to embrace my new home, as well as thinking it's a pretty damn tasty sandwich, i've become a true fan, belonging to several on-line social media groups filled with ham italian fan-dom.
imagine my excitement when it was announce that a group was organizing an effort to create the world's largest ham itailian. food! local culture! world record! there was no way i was going to miss this. i took an early lunch that day and met up with my wife to head down to the square where it was taking place. as i turned the corner of the street i saw 177 feet of italian bread. several deli's would make different sections of the sandwich until it was completed. as they piled on the sliced ham, veggies, oil and vinegar, i was scoping out which section i would like to try. as it's not really too complicated of a sandwich to make, the event didn't take long. i grabbed a couple of slices, sat back and enjoyed my ham itailian.
not only did i get to try a few varieties of the sandwich from different deli's but there were several other ham italian "fans", who oddly all looked exactly like me, doing the same thing. i chatted with many of them and now follow several of them on instagram.
in the end, it wasn't an "official" world record as the proper judges weren't there, but the sense of community felt that day was something special. although this event is pretty much incapable of become a road side attraction i do believe photos of the event will be placed in the local museum under the "ham italian" exhibit.
yes, it's a real thing. be sure to grab a ham italian and check it out.