Come with me… and you’ll be… in a world of pure imagination. Take a look… and you’ll see… Pepperoni Rolls for your mastication.
Recently I wrote about how a part of my life was fundamentally changed when I discovered that my family’s kolache recipe was ACTUALLY for Kolackes. My mistake on this basically boiled down to my family pronouncing it wrong and my grandmother’s confusing handwriting. But make no mistake… my world was SHOOK, damn it.
ANYWAY… in that piece I mentioned another food item that has significant sentimental value for my family, this time by way of Evil Fire Breathing Dragon Lady’s childhood. Of course I’m talking about Pepperoni Rolls. (And yes, capitalizing it is proper English.). But I don’t want to just talk about Pepperoni Rolls, because I believe I’ve discovered an evolution or range or gamut or, or… Oooo… a mystical spectrum of deliciousness—if you will—that spans from Kolackes all the way to the Mighty Pepperoni Roll.
But we’ll get to that. First, let me tell you how I was introduced to the Mighty Pepperoni Roll.
In the Beginning
You see, I was first introduced to the Mighty Pepperoni Roll when visiting Evil Fire Breathing Dragon Lady’s family for the first time in West—ByGOD—Virginia. Now, I’d met her mother and step father, as well as her dad. But I was going to her home town to meet the REST of the family.
Just a tiny sidebar here. This was also the trip when she and I were driving down the road and she LITERALLY screamed out, “Were those RAMPs?!?!” Then she proceeded to crank on the steering wheel of her mother’s minivan and pull us off the side of the road beside a pick up truck that, yes indeed, had a sign that said RAMPS. Ramps are another local delicacy to Apalachia. Think of it like a green onion kind of crossed with a bit of garlic that smells like someone farted. That’s pretty much it. Gross at first blush, yes, but OHMYFUCKINGGOD they’re delicious when cooked. Mmmm… Fry up some ramps and taters… You know Po-ta-toes! Boil them, mash them, stick them in a stew! (Sorry, my inner Tolkien was coming out.)
Back to the story…
First and foremost, I expect the primary question on your mind—and anyone who does not come from or hasn’t visited West—BYGOD—Virginia—is, “What the hell is a Pepperoni Roll?”
On the other hand, for people who are from or who have been to West Virginia but are not currently living there, their question is most indubitably, “How do I get a Mighty Pepperoni Roll into my facehole right now?” Because yes, they’re that awesome.
So, as for what they are. Imagine warm, delicious, slightly yeasty, fluffy roll lovingly wrapped around a stack of slices of spicy, red, slightly greasy and immensely crave-worthy pepperoni. There, got that image in your head? Now understand that however amazing that sounds, a real Mighty Pepperoni Roll is exactly seventeen point three times better.
There. NOW you can understand.
As for where to get them… well, unless you’re actually IN West—BYGOD—Virginia, you’re kind of shit out of luck. If you happen to be within that great mountainous state’s boundaries, you can easily pick one up at any grocery or convenience store. And I mean ANY of them. Because they all have them. Every. God. Damned. One.
Convenience store? Yep.
Fucking gas station? Hell yes.
Something to keep in mind. There are some slight variations on the Mighty Pepperoni Roll. Some people use a pepperoni stick in their roll, while others might put some cheese inside. And… And… Okay, that’s pretty much it for variations. But for the most part, if you go beyond that, it’s not a Mighty Pepperoni Roll anymore. I mean, you can call it that, but really Karen… we all know it’s not.
Because it’s NOT.
Oh, and a couple quick lines about the Mighty Pepperoni Roll. One of the things that makes them so damn amazing is that these little morsels are ridiculously simple, it’s kind of a miracle no one thought of them before. But, turns out back around 1927, an EYE-Talian (because that’s how it’s said in West—BYGOD—Virginia) immigrant named Giuseppe “Joseph” Argiro noticed that the local coal miners were eating stone soup for lunch while on the job. Okay, not really. But he realized he could make a buck by selling a stable and super-portable lunch to these hard-working men who are so badass that they make the Marlboro Man look like a little bitch. (You can read more about them here: https://ancestralfindings.com/historical-foods-pepperoni-roll-origins/)
Well, turns out his idea caught on and the Mighty Pepperoni Roll has become a cultural staple for pretty much everyone in the state. It’s literally the official state food. And when I say you can buy them at any grocery or convenience store, I think I’m actually selling the West—BYGOD—Virginians’ dedication to this delicacy short. I’m fairly certain you can buy them anywhere you can buy anything. Probably even their drug dealers sell Mighty Pepperoni Rolls.
I imagine this conversation happens a few times every day:
Skeevy Drug Dealer with Meth-Teeth: “Hey, bud… want some crank?”
Bobby-Joe Schmoe Walking Down the Street: “Naw, man. Ain’t inta dat shit.”
Drug Dealer: “Cool. Cool. Cool. Oh, hey. How about some pepperoni rolls?”
Bobby-Joe Schmoe: “Aw, fuck yeah!”
Okay, so I promised a spectrum of amazing taste bud incredibleness. Here’s how it works…
A kolacke is a cookie with a fruit filling ——-> A kolache is a danish-like pastry that’s similar to a kolacke, with fruit in the middle——->A klobasneki is a pastry that is often called a kolache that is like a roll wrapped around a piece of sausage——->a pepperoni roll is a pastry that is a roll wrapped around some pepperoni (which is actually a sausage).
MIND. FUCKING. BLOWN!
Amiright? Amiright? I’m right, aren’t I?
Yeah, you see.