Pepperoni Rolls become West Virginia’s ‘‘unofficial’’ state food


Wikimedia Commons

Rogers and Mazza pepperoni roll

A bill was introduced into W.Va. State Senate to declare the pepperoni roll as the official state food of West Virginia; “Often referred to as the ‘unofficial state food of West Virginia,’ the resolution recognizes the significance of the pepperoni roll in the state,” as stated in an article on the subject published by wtap. Naturally, then, the next best step would be to make the food the official culinary mascot of the Mountain State.

First created in Fairmont, W.Va., in roughly 1927, by Italian immigrant baker, Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro, the Country Club Bakery, located in Fairmont, claims itself to be the very cradle in which the delicacy was first conceived. In fact, in the odd summer of 2020, a historical marker was placed outside the confectionary declaring the fact for all to see; stating that Argiro “saw that coal miners were eating ‘a slab of bread, a chunk of pepperoni and a bucket of water’ for lunch and got the idea to bake the pepperoni into the bread,” as reported within an article on the subject by today.

The resolution was first introduced in the House on March 9 and successfully passed; it is now within the senate rules committee for further discussion.

Personally, I think this will be great for the state; for one, any kind of positive, and good-natured attention W.Va. can get should be seized and capitalized on at first sight, especially when it’s getting national attention. I have to admit, it’s rather strange that something as small as our state declaring the pepperoni roll as our official state food has garnered so much widespread attention, but then again – who doesn’t love a good, fluffy, cheese and pepperoni filled roll straight from almost heaven?
Another reason I believe this will be great for our state is the attention it brings to W.Va.’s frequently overlooked immigrant culture, the contribution these people have made, and the sheer impact their influence has had on our overall society, statewide identity, history and, obviously, our palette. Especially in a time when our nation and world are rife with racism and bigotry, and narrow-mindedness has blinded so many of us to the beauty of immigrant culture and contribution, perhaps W.Va. can remind us that we’re really all in this together.

As stated by today, “Whereas Philadelphia may have [the cheese steak] and New York its bagels,” W.Va. will always have the pepperoni roll, and soon, it’ll be official.