Origin of muffulettafrom Italian dialect, dialectal muffoletta, the type of round Sicilian loaf used, uncertain or unknown; perhaps akin to Italian muffola, mitten ( from Medieval Latin muffla: see muff)
Origin of muffulettaSicilian large circular bread roll with a hollow center probably from diminutive of Italian Italian muffola mitten, muffle of a kiln probably from Old French moufle mitten probably of Germanic origin Word History: The muffuletta was invented in the early 1900s by Salvatore Lupo, the proprietor of Central Grocery, a small Italian market in the French Quarter of New Orleans that still sells muffulettas today. Mr. Lupo's daughter, Marie Lupo Tusa, explains the origin of the sandwich in her cookbook Marie's Melting Pot (1980). Local farmers of Sicilian origin who sold their produce at a nearby farmers' market would come to buy their lunch at her father's grocery, and their typical meal included a hunk of cheese, various cured meats, some olive salad, and large loaves of bread. “The farmers used to sit on crates or barrels and try to eat while precariously balancing their small trays covered with food on their knees. My father suggested that it would be easier for the farmers if he cut the bread and put everything on it like a sandwich.” Her father tried various types of bread and found that the loaf that worked the best was the traditional Sicilian muffuletta, a large, circular, relatively flat loaf that is baked so that the center is hollow and can be stuffed. Mr. Lupo's idea was a hit, and soon his customers had only to ask for a muffuletta in order to get their whole lunch in a sandwich.