This weekend I tried to prove them wrong. It's been way too long since my sorority sisters and I have seen each other. And we decided to rectify that.
On Saturday, we swarmed - with husbands and kids in tow back to our old stomping grounds.
Well, they had husbands and kids in tow. I left mine at home, due to Thatbaby being sick. And they spent the whole weekend together, whereas I went home after tea and conversation, but it was really good to see everyone again.
As I walked through the house with RunAudRun, she kept pointing out all the amenities they had that we didn't have.
"But you wouldn't want to do it again, right?" I asked her. "The homework, the stress?" She agreed she didn't. It's easy to get caught up in the nostalgia again.
When I was growing up in Southwestern PA I bemoaned the area like everyone else. But of course I didn't want to leave. And now it's painted with a rosy glow of childhood and youth. Like 9th Street Deli with its phenomenal hoagies. We don't really have hoagies here in California. Sure there are sandwich shops, but not hoagies. Hoagies are a decidedly Pennsylvanian thing.
I think this is a fairly recognized fact, after all, does any other city have a sandwich associated by name? The Philly cheesesteak is from the other side of the state from where I grew up, but the concept remains. It's not just cold meat slapped on limp bread. It's meat, cooked with sauces and spice, a melty cheese sauce, mushrooms, and onions, on a toasty hoagie roll. Accept no substitutes.
They say you can't go home again, but sometimes you can.
Philly Cheesesteaks (From Cooking Light)
1 flank steak, trimmed
2 portobello mushroom caps
2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green bell pepper
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp lower-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp flour
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 oz provolone cheese, torn into small pieces
1/4 tsp dry mustard
4 hoagie rolls, toasted
- Place beef in freezer 15 minutes. Cut beef across grain into thin slices. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.
- Remove brown gills from undersides of mushroom caps using a spoon. Discard gills and remove stems. Thinly slice mushroom caps; cut slices in half crosswise.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tsp oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add beef to pan; saute 2 minutes or until beef loses its pink color, stirring constantly. Remove beef from pan.
- Add 1 tsp oil to pan. Add onion; saute 3 minutes.
- Add mushrooms, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute 6 minutes.
- Return beef to pan, saute 1 minute or until thoroughly heated and vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.
- Stir in Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce. Keep warm.
- Place flour in a small saucepan.
- Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick. Remove from heat.
- Add cheeses and mustard, stirring until smooth. Keep warm.
- Hollow out top and bottom halves of bread, leaving a 1/2 inch thick shell; reserve torn bread for another use.
- Divide beef evenly among bottom halves of hoagies.
- Drizzle sauce evenly over beef mixture. Replace top halves.