Cheesesteak

A cheesesteak, also known as a Philadelphia cheesesteak, Philly cheesesteak, cheese steak, or steak and cheese, is a sandwich made from thinly sliced pieces of steak and melted cheese in a long roll. A popular regional fast food, it has its roots in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The meat traditionally used is thinly sliced rib-eye or top round although other cuts of beef are also used. On a lightly oiled griddle at medium temperature, the steak slices are quickly browned and then scrambled into smaller pieces with a flat spatula.

Common additions include sautéed onions, bell peppers,mushrooms, mayonnaise, hot sauce, and ketchup.

In Philadelphia, most cheesesteak places use Amoroso or Vilotti-Pisanelli rolls. One source writes that "a proper cheesesteak consists of provolone or Cheez Whiz slathered on an Amoroso roll and stuffed with thinly shaved grilled meat," while a reader's letter to an Indianapolis magazine, lamenting the unavailability of good cheesesteaks, wrote that "the mention of the Amoroso roll brought tears to my eyes." After commenting on the debates over types of cheese and "chopped steak or sliced," Risk and Insurance magazine declared "The only thing nearly everybody can agree on is that it all has to be piled onto a fresh, locally baked Amoroso roll."

Provolone, American cheese, and Cheez Whiz are the most commonly used cheeses.

White American cheese along with Provolone cheese are the favorites due to the mild flavor and medium consistency of American cheese. Some places pre-melt the American cheese to achieve the creamy consistency, while others just put freshly cut slices over the meat, letting it melt slightly under the heat. Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan says "Provolone is for aficionados, extra-sharp for the most discriminating among them." Geno's owner Joey Vento, says "We always recommend the provolone. That's the real cheese."

Cheez Whiz, first marketed in 1952, was not yet available for the original 1930 version, but has spread in popularity. A 1986 New York Times article called Cheez Whiz "the sine qua non of cheesesteak connoisseurs." In a 1985 interview, Pat Olivieri's nephew Frank Olivieri said that he uses "the processed cheese spread familiar to millions of parents who prize speed and ease in fixing the children's lunch for the same reason, because it is fast."  Whiz is "overwhelmingly the favorite" at Pat's, outselling runnerup American by a ratio of eight or ten to one, while Geno's claims to go through eight to ten cases of Whiz a day.