Country Club Bakery
Giuseppe "Joseph" Argiro, is the originator of the Pepperoni Roll that is considered a popular snack in West Virginia today. It first started at the Country Club bakery in Fairmont, West Virginia. It was a practical lunch for Fairmont's miners, who needed food that was portable, sturdy and long-lasting. Argiro, a former miner, noticed many of his co-workers munching on a piece of pepperoni with a piece of bread. He began to bake rolls with pepperoni slices inside.
Backstory and Context
The classic pepperoni roll consists of a fairly soft white yeast bread roll with pepperoni baked in the middle. During baking, the fats in the pepperoni (which are hard at room temperature) melt, resulting in a spicy oil suffusing into the bread. Pepperoni rolls are typically eaten as a snack or as the main dish of a lunch either unheated or slightly warmed.
He passed the recipe on to his son, Frank "Cheech" Argiro who owned the Country Club Bakery until 1997. Today the bakery is owned by Chris Pallotta. Pepperoni rolls faced a legal challenge in 1987 when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposed reclassifying bakeries that manufactured the rolls as meat processing plants, thus subjecting them to stricter regulations. The bakery owners claimed, however, that the costs of meeting the new regulations would put them out of business. The USDA's proposal was squashed after Jay Rockefeller, U.S. Senator for West Virginia, intervened.
Since the early 2000s, the U.S. military began including a version of the pepperoni roll in one of the MREs (Meals, Ready-to-Eat) provided to troops. In the late 2000s, the U.S. Army changed the pepperoni roll to its First Strike Ration. These rations are designed for light infantry, airborne, and special forces during a typical 72-hour patrol. The pepperoni roll's compact size and comparatively high nutritional return make it an ideal ration for these patrols. These rations were extensively employed during operation enduring freedom. The military's rolls are made by a North Carolina company.
"The History of the Pepperoni Roll." BobHeffner.com. Accessed February 14, 2018. http://www.bobheffner.com/pepperoniroll/history.htm.