When I first came to UMD, I was excited to try the wide variety of food that the DMV area could offer me. I am from a smaller town in West Virginia -- yes, it is a separate state than Virginia and has been so since 1863. I'm not triggered or anything. While we do have a variety of chain restaurants and several local establishments, there is still much to be done in my beloved hometown of Parkersburg, WV. In a casual conversation with my roommate, who is a Philadelphia native, I came to a horrifying realization: she was unfamiliar with the masterpiece that is the Pepperoni Roll. Stunned and confused, I proceeded to ask my other friends from various locations in the U.S.  to only be continually disappointed. What is wrong with you people?! It's time to be enlightened. 

Let's begin with what they are. Pepperoni Rolls are essentially what they sound like: pepperoni and cheese that is wrapped in  decadent bread and occasionally warmed to the point where the cheese is gooey and the bread is soft and chewy. Mmmm, imagine that. Here's a photo to give you Foodie 'FOMO':

The types of cheese can vary and the size of the roll can as well, but they are the ideal portion for lunch or a quick snack. Pepperoni Rolls were created by a wonderful man named Giuseppe "Joseph" Arigo in 1927. Arigo was the owner of the Country Club Bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia, which is still open today. The Pepperoni Roll was originally designed as a convenient and portable lunch option for coal miners in the 1900s, who worked in cramped spaces and had no means of preservation for foods that spoiled easily. Coal was once West Virginia's largest economic industry, and pride in the natural resource is still alive in its people today. 

Many Italian immigrants came to northern West Virginia due to the railroad and mining industries in the 20th century; cities such as Fairmont still have their cultural influence today. The pepperoni roll is somewhat similar to the mouth-watering calzone that most people know and love. In the early 2000s, the pepperoni roll was even offered as a meal in the U.S. military. It was later categorized as a 'ration' for patrol missions and traveling duties. 

So now you know about the food that many in my home state, including myself, are proud to claim as our own. While there are some individuals in surrounding states who are familiar with the savory creation, the vast majority of the U.S. is unaware of the life-changing food that is easily assembled, carried and consumed. I *really* hope you get a chance to try one at some point, or even make your own! I'll even include a trust-worthy recipe in the links below for you, since you need to have your life and tastebuds changed forever. You're welcome. 

Want more? Sure you do: