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Love a good hoagie? Then the Hamilton Sub Register is for you

The Hamilton Sub Register

Zine, Ben Needham and Tara Bursey, 16 pgs, ben.t.needham@gmail.com

Have you ever read a zine and just a few pages in had the feeling that the creator really, truly, deeply understood something about you? That you unexpectedly shared some crucial experience, opinion, or passion with a stranger? It’s happened to me a few times, normally with people writing about the stuff that has been so key to my life, such as queerness, anarchism, survivor justice, etc. But this time it happened with something so near and dear to my heart that it might actually be what my heart is made of: sandwiches.

Author (critic?) Ben Needham’s zine begins with an anecdote decrying the sad lack of tolerable hoagies (subs, grinders, whatever) in his hometown of Toronto. Hamilton, it would seem, has sandwich options that can actually rival their American counterparts, and the rest of the zine is dedicated to breaking down the smattering of options in the city. Classic heavy hitter Bonanza sets it off, though Andy’s and Duarte hold their own. Some reviews don’t actually say much about the food, rather about the experience: “I’ve eaten at Buddy’s, but have no memory of the quality of subs, probably due to the frantic state of mind I was in trying to navigate this hell-hole pocket of the city by bicycle.”

This is all very my style. As a loyal diasporic Philadelphian, I am a champion of the hoagie and cheesesteak, but also endlessly curious to try new sandwiches in new places. I also am the kind of guy who writes sub reviews about a place even if I can’t really remember what the sub was like. The writing is funny, the whole thing is tongue in cheek, and Tara Bursey’s drawings just sweeten the deal.

If you enjoyed the 1996 PBS special Sandwiches You Will Like, think reviews are good for a goof, or have a heart made of ham and cappicola, this zine is for you.

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