Saturday, July 22, 2006

Cheese, whiz, and other excretions

Please lower your napkins to half-mast...

the inventor of the Philly cheesesteak sandwich has died.

Loath as I am to speak ill of the newly deceased, and as great a devotee as I am of the cholesterol-ravaged, carbohydrate-overloaded concoction with which he is credited, I must nevertheless question the supposed genius of one Harry Olivieri, who with his brother Pat opened the first cheesesteak joint, Pat's King of Steaks, in the 1930s.

My quibble with Mr. Olivieri? Two words: Cheez Whiz.

I'm sorry, King of Steaks (or is it Brother of King of Steaks?), but you can't put Cheez Whiz on a sandwich and call it a cheesesteak.

Cheez Whiz is not cheese.

It may, on the other hand, be whiz.

Which leads us to the dubious wisdom (no pun intended) of the Kraft Foods people in giving a semi-liquid yellow comestible a name that includes a colloquialism meaning urine.

But I digress.

According to Kraft, Cheez Whiz is a "processed cheese food product." The concept of cheese food confounds me. As a proud dog owner, I understand dog food. It's what we feed our dog. I understand cat food and fish food as the pet store staples customarily fed to cats and fish, respectively. I therefore must proceed under the presumption that "cheese food" is not cheese, but rather a product to be fed to cheese.

Who wants to put that on a sandwich? Not I, said the pig.

Provolone, on the other hand, is entirely another story. Only a barbarian — or perhaps one of those darn Etruscans — would put anything other than authentic provolone cheese (notice: not provolone "cheese food") on a cheesesteak sandwich.

Even if the guy who made the first one used that funky, viscous, Day-Glo stuff from a jar.

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2 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Sam offered these pearls of wisdom...


You better be careful with this one. I have heard of wars over this one in Philly. Actually, two wars. The other is "cheeze wit" and "cheeze widdout".

Oh, and do you call it "a hogie", " grinder", "slider", or "sub"?

3:40 AM  
Blogger SwanShadow offered these pearls of wisdom...

Having spent the last 30 years in California, Sam, I now say sub.

When I was a kid, though, I would have called a long sandwich either a hoagie or a po' boy (though I'm not sure the latter term can accurately be applied to a cheesesteak), because those were the terms my parents used.

7:42 AM  

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