Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Real Cheese

I spent much time growing up in the suburbs and eventually moved back to the city and until 2004 when out of touch reporters decided Kerry was out of touch I had never heard of cheese whiz being the standard cheese steak cheese. Provolone it was, though nobody actually gives a shit what you put on it.

But pundits, pleez note: Whiz wasn't first historically, and it's no runaway favorite regionwide.

At John's Roast Pork, which serves up taste-test winners on Snyder Avenue, the processed cheese sauce isn't even served.

"I'm a cheese eater, sweetheart, and I love cheese, but Whiz is not cheese," says owner Vonda Bucci, 75. "It's a lot of grease and coloring."

"We won't do it. We will not carry Cheez Whiz," said Jack Mullan, 50, co-owner of popular Leo's Steak Shop in Folcroft. And customers never complain.

A recent poll asked, "What cheese belongs on a cheesesteak?" and Whiz finished third. American edged out provolone after more than 5,700 votes were cast.

Even Geno's owner Joey Vento, 68, downplays Whiz. "To be honest with you, I've never eaten Cheez Whiz, and I'm the owner," he said. " . . . We always recommend the provolone. . . . That's the real cheese."