Cheesesteak with provolone cheese
|Alternative name(s)||Philadelphia cheesesteak, Philly cheesesteak|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Region or state||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
|Creator(s)||Pat & Harry Olivieri|
|Main ingredient(s)||Sliced steak, cheese, bread|
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 cheesesteak was developed in the early 20th century "by combining frizzled beef, onions, and cheese in a small loaf of bread," according to a 1987 exhibition catalog published by the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphians Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited with inventing the sandwich by serving chopped steak on hoagie rolls in the early 1930s. They began selling this variation of steak sandwiches at their hot dog stand near south Philadelphia's Italian Market. They became so popular that Pat opened up his own restaurant which still operates today as Pat's King of Steaks. The sandwich was originally prepared without cheese; Olivieri claims provolone cheese was first added by Joe "Cocky Joe" Lorenza, a manager at the Ridge Avenue location."
Cheesesteaks have become popular in restaurants, cafeterias and food carts throughout the city with many locations being independently owned, family-run businesses. Variations of cheesesteaks are now common in several fast food chains. Versions of the sandwich can also be found in locations ranging from bars to high-end restaurants.
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. Slices of cheese are then placed over the meat, letting it melt, and then the roll is placed on top of the cheese. The mixture is then scooped up with a spatula, pressed into the roll, and cut in half.
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."
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 late owner, Joey Vento, said, "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." Cheez Whiz is "overwhelmingly the favorite" at Pat's, outselling runner-up American by a ratio of eight or ten to one, while Geno's claims to go through eight to ten cases of Cheez Whiz a day.
- A cheesesteak made with chicken instead of beef is called a chicken cheesesteak
- A cheesesteak topped with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese (often toasted in a broiler) is a pizza steak.
- Another variation is the cheesesteak hoagie, which contains lettuce and tomato.
See also 
- Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (21 November 2008). "Philadelphia – African American Visitor's Guide and its suburbs". Archived from the original on 2006-12-10.
- Hines, Mary Anne; Marshall, Gordon; Weaver, William Woys (1987). The Larder Invaded. The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. ISBN 0-914076-70-1.
- Stuhldreher, Katie (30 July 2007). "Rick's Steaks takes Reading Terminal Market dispute to court". philly.com. Archived from the original on 24 January 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2007.
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- McCauley, Mary Beth (5 June 2006). "Backstory: Philly's cheesesteak wars". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- Brookes, Karin; et al (2005). In Zoë Ross. Insight Guides: Philadelphia and Surroundings (Second (Updated) ed.). APA Publications. ISBN 1-58573-026-2.
- Price, Betsy (10 July 2009). "Tour de cheesesteak". The News Journal. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- Hein, Kenneth (22 January 2009). "Domino's, Subway Battle Heats Up". Brandweek. Retrieved 12 July 2009.
- Horowitz, Rachel (11 April 2004). "Cheesesteak raises eyebrows and drains wallets". The Daily Pennsylvanian. Retrieved 13 July 2009.
- Fischer, John. "How To Make a Philly Cheese Steak". About.com. Retrieved 17 December 2008.
- How to Make a Philly Cheesesteak. about.com. Event occurs at 2:10. http://video.about.com/americanfood/Make-a-Philly-Cheesesteak.htm. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Hodgman, John (May 2002). "Philly Mignon". Men's Journal. Amoroso Baking Company. Archived from the original on 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Fekete, Jeffery (2009). Making the Big Game. Mill City Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-935097-32-7.
- Powell, Warren (December, 2000). "Beef Eaters". Indianapolis Magazine. p. 17. ISSN 0899-0328.
- Kerr, Michelle (April 2005). "Hungry for a taste of Philly?". Risk and Insurance 16 (4). p. 20.
- Mucha, Peter. (23 May 2008). "Whiz on a cheesesteak: Hit or myth?". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
- Hevesi, Dennis (9 June 2007). "Edwin Traisman, 91, Dies; Helped Create Iconic Foods". New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- "Cheese Steak: An Original" (Subscription required). The New York Times. 21 May 1986. p. C6. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
- Stevens, William K. (16 November 1985). "About Philadelphia: Where Cheesesteaks are King, One Family Has Assumed the Crown" (Subscription required). The New York Times. p. 10. Retrieved 1 July 2009.
- "The Perfect Philly Cheesesteak".
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