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History of the Pepperoni Roll
Pepperoni rolls are one of the little known treasures of the Mountain State. An idea that developed deep in the Marion county coalmines, these tasty treats have been coming out of Fairmont, West Virginia for more than 80 years.
It all began when coal miners, on their way to work each day, would buy a stick of pepperoni and a loaf of bread to take into the mine. Then one day Frank Argiro, one of the Italian coal miners, struck upon an idea; he decided to start slicing the pepperoni into smaller sticks and cook them within the bread. He did that for many of the local miners to take for their lunches and it became so popular, he quit the mines and opened Country Club Bakery. For years, the folks of north central West Virginia knew what the bakery delivery truck meant - fresh out of the oven, melt in your mouth, light as air, pepperoni rolls.
Mr. Argiro's recipe from the early 1920's is the same one used today. The only machine used, mixes the dough and measures out each roll. The remaining preparations for baking continue to be done by hand. The original pepperoni roll was a 6 - 10" loaf of crusty Italian bread with sticks (not slices) of pepperoni peeking out the ends.
Through the years there have been many variations on the pepperoni roll theme; commercial bakeries and mothers in their kitchens all over the mountain state have changed the recipe to make it uniquely their own. Traditionally, pepperoni rolls are split and filled with stewed green peppers topped with mozzarella cheese and broiled until the cheese melts.
But don't feel limited by tradition. Pepperoni rolls can be eaten several different ways; some folks like them split and filled with chili topped with cheddar cheese, others eat them for breakfast with eggs, and some prefer them straight out of the oven, plain, but hot and tasty. It only takes one pepperoni roll to hook you and keep you coming back for more.