If spring is almost here – then summer can’t be too far behind! And summer means cooking out. One of our favorite summer-time treats are spieides (spiedie sandwiches). Oh – did I mention I grew up in Endicott New York and my uncle Rob Salamida is the Spiedie King?
Infographic – How to Prepare a Spiedie Sandwich!
Below is a info graphic on how to prepare a spiedie sandwich – for those of you to which this is yet unfamiliar.
Growing Up Working for “The Spiedie King”
I literally grew up working for my uncle. His company is the rob salamida company – which manufactures and distributes Salamida’s State Fair Spiedie Sauce. All-the-way from junior high, through college I, (and most of my siblings) made everything from the spieidie skewers (when we used to make them by hand) to the spiedie sauce working for my uncle . I used to deliver to the Giant Food Markets in our area, cut the spiedie meat, cater private parties, work all the concessions, sell spiedies out in front of Sugarmans, clean out the apartments he rented to students and just about every other job there was to be done at the company.
In the early years I was compensated with Zagnut candy bars. But I got a little smarter as I got older – and was eventually paid in genuine US currency.
The “Prodigal” Nephew’s Return
Years later I became involved in the Kiwanis Club & Lions Club. Both groups (at different times) had a shared booth at the J. C. Field Days with my uncle’s company selling spiedies and a portion of the proceeds going to the respective charities. As we worked the concession together I used to joke with the other members of the clubs that I used to work in the very same booth years ago cooking and prepping when I was in high school and college. But back then I used to get paid! Now I was a volunteer – getting no compensation. See how smart 10 full years of college made me! (See more about me here: About Me).
I remember using coffee urns on the pool table in my grandmother’s basement making the sauce at the very beginning of Rob’s adventure. One urn had the water & vinegar mixture – the other the oil. The spices were put in the bottles with a scoop and a funnel and the caps and labels were all put on by hand. Ah… those were the days.
Early on, Rob had these t-shirts made with a big company logo on the back and a clever little rhyme that explained what a spiedie was. I am almost embarrassed to say that I probably have (OK -I definitely do) some old “What’s a Spiedie?” t-shirts still in my dresser drawer. I believe the rhyme on the t-shirts answered the question like this – “It’s a tasty treat of marinated meat , char-broiled & fed on Italian bread”. As a private joke (of which Rob was not too fond) we had a different version of the rhyme that went like this “It’s a tasty treat of dead-cat meat, served & fed on moldy bread”. Yeah – he really didn’t like that one so much…
A Spiedie Poll
A Family & Friends Affair
We saw every step of the growth of the company – including the automation of the production line. Every summer we recruited our best friends to work for my uncle. Yes – at times it was hot, greasy, and even backbreaking work for sure. But we always managed to have a lot of fun – especially since we were working with our best friends.
Spiedie Fest / Balloon Rally
I remember the early years of the Spiedie Fest / Balloon Rally. It became an extraordinarily popular event very quickly. There were times when the lines to the concession tents stretched as far as the eye could see and the grills were almost completely clogged with small pieces of meat that had fallen through the grill grates and spices & residue from the marinade. The grills were in desperate need of a burn-off to make sure the burners would continue to function. But we couldn’t expect the people to wait forever for their food – so we had no choice other than to immediately load the grills up again with mounds of spiedies.
The sun was hot those August days – but the grills were even hotter. In fact – I never realized that my knuckles actually had hair on them until after the conclusion of my career with my uncle. Being one of the cooks – the hair was continually being singed off – probably all the way up to my elbows!
So every time we have spiedies – it brings back a flood of fond memories. . . And then I look down at my knuckles and think how nice it is to see the hair on them now!
PS: Rob’s sauces can be purchased on his website here: www.spiedie.com
Here is a little bonus!. This is my 3 year old Sophie imitating me saying “Spiedie, spiedies, spiedie sandwich”.
All Things Spiedies!
Other articles and information on spiedies and how they continue to spread around the country and world!
- Wikipedia: Spiedie
- Spiedie Fest / Balloon Rally
- What’s Cooking America.net
- A “Tasty Morsel”
- Interview with Rob Salamida
- Spiediefest.com (History)
- Kitchen Encounters – The Classic Italian Endicott-Style Spiedie Sandwich
- NYUpstate com
Image Attribution – Various images on this page were provided by the rob salamida company @ www.spiedie.com.