Strangely, one of the most memorable aspects of my high school (EHS) was the cafeteria food. Everyone had their favorites but I don’t recollect there being a salad. Maybe there was one, but I was always on the “line” so I would have never seen it. I wore “fry-goggles” back in the day. “Fry- goggles” means I couldn’t see past anything that wasn’t fried. I am sure there were other tasty things, but why try them when you have fried goods? Rosa manned the fry-top and she would fry up everything from an egg on a roll to an unbelievably delicious cheese-steak.
This was not thinly sliced, medium rare, wood-grilled, Angus beef kids, this was 100% pure “steak-umm like” slices, with onion gravy & melted mozzarella cheese. The amount of melt was a personal preference that Rosa indulged. Some liked it crisp on the edges, others, warm & gooey . I fondly remember her asking “Is the cheese melted enough?” while rolling her eyes at us for being so demanding. We loved her.
I have tried to match Rosa’s cheese-steak perfection but I think the combination of ingredients, non-Steak-umm brand steaks, and canned gravy makes it near impossible to exactly replicate without knowing what brand they used.
The other factor that can’t be replicated is the grill top. A grill top is cleaned every night, but the collection of flavors and oils from the prior foods cooked that day, made for extra special seasoning. If you had an early enough lunch period, you would get that extra special bonus: bacon grease flavor!
This is the closest sandwich I have come up with to date and I reserve the right to continue to improve it by trying cheaper ingredients!
4 sections of frozen, Steak-umm brand, sliced steaks
1 Medium Kaiser roll
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons Heinz Onion gravy
Slice roll & put aside.
Heat gravy in the microwave and place half on the bottom of the roll.
Cook Steak-umms, one section at at time in a skillet, flipping once when the middle is no longer frozen.
Fold each section onto the roll.
When all four sections are done, add mozzarella cheese to the pile and microwave for 20 seconds, or just until cheese is melted.
Top with remaining gravy and the other half of the bun. Serve with a whole bunch of napkins: you’re going to need them!