Chances are, your Fourth of July menu featured hot dogs, hamburgers, and maybe some potato salad that was left out in the sun a bit too long. It’s the all-American menu, right?
Except … it isn’t. If you truly want food that was invented in the United States, you need to look to the meeting place of our Founding Fathers: Philadelphia. Philly is home to the U.S. Marine Corps, the first library, the first medical school, and, of course, the Philly cheese steak.
According to lore, brothers Harry and Pat Olivieri sold hot dogs and sandwiches in Philly in the 1930s. Tired of eating hot dogs, they picked up some beef one day. They sliced it thin and grilled it up with onions. They piled the meat on rolls and were about to enjoy their meal when a cab driver came in and was impressed with the aroma. He requested the same sandwich, and the rest is history.
This Philly steak remained beloved and unchanged until the 1960s, when Cheez Whiz was added as an optional topping. Now, Philadelphians approve of provolone and American cheese as legitimate toppings as well.
It used to be that you had to travel to The City of Brotherly Love to taste this authentically American sandwich. But no more!
Whether you call it a Philly, a Philly steak, or a Philly cheese steak, recipes abound on the Internet. You can experiment with the sandwich yourself in the comfort of your own kitchen. And if you’re looking for a slightly healthier take on the same taste, you can try the same ingredients baked into a green pepper instead of served on a roll. Get local beef and organic onions at GreenAcres Market.
If you’re less of a whiz in the kitchen and more of a Cheez Whiz connoisseur, you have great options in Kansas City. We’re fortunate to have PhillyTime, which serves up authentic Philly steaks. This casual restaurant even imports Amoroso rolls from Philadelphia. These rolls have long been considered a must-have for any authentic Philly.
Enjoy your hot dogs and slightly scary potato salad. But remember the Philly steak and its proud, patriotic heritage!