Mom revises her listMom revises her list

Well, folks, it seems that being new to group blog experiences and all, I misinterpreted the directions for Five Things to Eat Before You Die and rambled on about five things I wanted to try before moving on to that beautifully equipped kitchen in the sweet hereafter, rather than five things I have personally already eaten and think everyone else should try before etc. And actually I’m a lot better at telling other people what to do than I am at “sharing”, so this way you have the benefit of reading about my hopes and dreams, as well as my previous experiences.

1. Fresh cherry pie, home-made with sour cherries – yes, I’m sticking with a choice from the previous list, and for the same reasons; the season is short and this is a pie that you simply don’t get in restaurants.

2. Ice cream made by ag students and sold at the University Creamery on the campus of Penn State University in State College, PA. It’s got to be the best ice cream in the world.

3. Real Philadelphia sticky buns, preferably with pecans – actually Whole Foods sells a pretty good pecan sticky bun, but it’s not as good as the ones you can get in Philadelphia. My mother, Philadelphia born and bred, used to make these at home, sometimes for Christmas gifts. The smells in the house when I would come home from school – yeast, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and the lovely glaze as they were turned out of the pan; I can still see them in my mind’s eye.

Hmm; do I have a sweet tooth? Yes, I do! Let’s see if I can come up with a few savory items.

4. Real Philadelphia cheese steaks, on good, crispy rolls, with the Cheez Whiz topping. You can get cheesesteaks almost anywhere nowadays, but authentic ones must come from Philadelphia, preferably from Geno’s or Pat’s in South Philly.

5. The Pennsylvania Dutch cheese fritters that my grandmother used to make. I was a little girl when I used to enjoy these so I’m not even sure what kind of cheese she used to use – I think a sharp cheddar, mixed with flour and egg and fried in butter until brown and crispy. My father loved these, too, and it was a bond between us.

As for the bloggers I am tagging, I will stick with my previous list:


I read once that Geno’s Steaks in South Philly, apparently one of the better places to get a cheesesteak in Philly, gives you three choices of cheese: American, Provolone, or Cheez Whiz. Now, that struck me as odd because Cheez Whiz, being some concoction of oils and chemicals with long names, doesn’t seem to me like it belongs on any food, much less something in a restaurant that’s famous.

So, would you mind indulging me for a moment and detailing the experience of eating a cheesesteak with Cheez Whiz? The contents of my stomach barely stay down when I think of that particular, um, culinary delight, and I’m somewhat interested in being convinced that Cheez Whiz on a sandwich is OK.

I’ll tell you the truth, Colin, I actually don’t really like the Cheez Whiz topping, and prefer the provolone if I get any cheese at all, but my husband swears that Cheez Whiz is the original topping and must be eaten to garner the authentic cheesesteak experience.

But you’re right in that Geno’s, along with Pat’s, with whom they have a bitter rivalry, is a great place to get a cheesesteak!

(a) The thought of someone trying to name 5 foods they had never eaten but wanted to sent me into a sort of culinary-philosophical tailspin. How could one know what one did not at all know? Or do I just have no imagination whatsoever? So I liked your first response, and this one too. Would one include things that one imagined might be awful or not to one’s taste just in case?

(b) I like my cheesesteaks with American cheese, which, for me, walks the line between food and not food. I think a good cheesesteak might be the very best meat pastry made in the US. And I’ll be posting on Brazil’s fabulous meat pastries soon, I hope. Rebecca, I didn’t know you grew up near Philadelphia! Interesting . . . I love Philadelphia.

© Enjoy the trip to Italy. I can’t wait to read all about it when you get back.

yes, it must be cheez whiz. and the ONLY other acceptable toppings are fried onions and peppers. NO lettuce, NO tomato, NO mayo. I prefer Pat’s. But I live three hndred miles away now, and would settle for a real Philly cheesesteak from anywhere in the city at this point. and while you’re at it, bring me a REAL soft pretzel, a Coca Cola Slurpee from 7-11, and a Goldenburg Peanut Chew.

You are so right about the lettuce, tomato, and especially the mayonnaise, babelbabe – none of those belong on a cheesesteak!

I was going to put a soft pretzel on my list but thought I was getting carried away with the Philadelphia foods; I’m also pretty fond of the Wege broken sourdough hard pretzels, they have just the right amount of salt and a good, malty flavor.

We actually had a connection with Mindy Goldenburg through my husband’s former band manager and she gave us a whole case of Goldenburg Peanut Chews to take to my mother (they’re her favorite candy, too.) I could go for one right now!

I am going to try and talk my husband into a trek to Philadelphia sometime soon so we can check out cheese steaks.

And I had no idea that Philadelphia was known for sticky buns but if I ever make it to Philadelphia for cheese steak I’ll have to check out the sticky buns as well.

Rebecca, I was amazed to read that 3 out of the five are very familiar foods. Growing up in Philly, I was amazed to come to Pittsburgh some 40 years ago, order a hoagie and get balogne on a hot dog roll!! I didn’t even bother with a cheese steak. We lived for 35 years in Harrisburg and went to State College for, among other things, the Arts Festival and basketball games. I went to the basketball games because you could get Creamery Ice Cream at the Jordan Center. And of course there are the sticky buns. Next time you go to State College, there is a restaurant/bakery on College Avenue, near Allen that makes Fried Stickies. Goodness but they’re good.

Have a ball in Italy!

Hi, Barbara – Bill often talks about the fried stickies at some diner in State College. I guess they were a big favorite after a night of singing with the band, or for breakfast the next morning. I must say that frying a sticky bun seems rather like gilding the lily, somehow!

Grilled stickies, not fried!

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