Poetry #8 Philly Cheesesteak


Foot-long cheesesteak Italiano: steak, provolone, broccoli raab, roasted peppers and onions. Take the canoli. Leave the sandwich!
Foot-long cheesesteak Italiano: steak, provolone, broccoli raab, roasted peppers and onions. Take the canoli. Leave the sandwich!

Philly Cheesesteak
By Paula Bender

Ever since I left South Jersey
In the late ’70s,
My craving for a decent Philly cheesesteak
Has gone unsated.

Toasty hoagie roll,
Transparently thinly sliced ribeye,
Piled high with fried onions and peppers.
Wit? Widout?
To which one would say Whiz or
(Of course) provolone.

Your mouth really can’t go home again.
The memories of my little 12-year-old hands
Holding a hoagie roll overflowing with
Philly cheesesteak has never been repeated
By the so many try hards and copy cats
And food trucks and popups that
I’ve deigned to try.

Sometimes, you just have to recreate that
Memory and
Share the love and
Create a longing within someone
Besides yourself.
#EatAtMoms

Poem #8 Flavor, Eulogy, Enumeration
#EatAtMoms

Author: lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer is my new opponent. Writer, super sub teacher, triathlete, awesome cook, ocean girl with head-to-toe sun protection.

5 thoughts on “Poetry #8 Philly Cheesesteak”

  1. That looks amazing, Paula! One of the difficulties for local places to replicate the real thing, as you know, is the inability to find the right bread. The late, lamented Pepper’s Place in Kailua got real-deal Amoroso-brand rolls, which were great, to me — just the right “bite.” While I loved Pepper’s cheesesteaks, nothing I’ve had — not even one of the tried and true Philly joints that do business right across the street from each other IN PHILLY — has brought back the joy of the Beck Middle School (Cherry Hill, NJ) school cafeteria’s cheesesteak hoagie. To me, the bread was perfect, the meat was perfectly-seasoned, (read: a little salty), and entire hoagie was OOZING with cheese. Provi, I think. They didn’t muck about with veggies, because, well, middle school. Nowadays I’d love to have one of those awesome cheesesteaks — only I’d add onions, peppers and (gasp) mushrooms.

  2. Erika, you are so right! At St. Pete’s in Riverside, my grammar school, they had the best TUNA hoagies ever. Nothing like South Jersey for amazing childhood food memories! Thank you for enjoying a bite of memory lane with me!

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