In the Eighties, I had a serious Steak-Umm Addiction
Like many people, when I find a food I enjoy, I want to eat it all the time. Nowadays, I realize that what I am going to get in the “home” version, will never be as good as what I get out. So, I usually just stick to basics and make those foods a real treat when I go out. When I was a kid, I wanted it all. If pizza was good out, why couldn’t I find a decent pizza to make at home? Or why couldn’t I make a homemade cheese steak whenever I wanted one? Because of this, I spend a surprising amount of my childhood savings on food. Occupying a surprisingly large percentage of my discretionary spending (alongside video games, comics books and toys).
Steak-Umms were a favorite of mine. While they had been around since the late sixties in some form or another, the modern Steak-Umm really took off when it was bought by H.J. Heinz in 1980. Now I could get the best part of Philadelphia without actually going there and that made me happy as all get out. Naturally, my cheese steaks were nothing like what you could get at a restaurant. I usually cooked up a Steak-Umm or two, popped some American cheese on it and served it on white bread sandwich style. Because it felt like something I shouldn’t be able to eat at home, it tasted extra special.
While I don’t buy Steak-Umms all the time, I still feel the need every once in a while and will pick up a box. These days I will pick up a proper piece of bread to serve it on, but I still prefer American cheese when I steak a Steak-Umm in my mouth.
So what got me all fired up for Steak-Umms today? It was this commercial that I found online. It was not the famous jingle version that I can still sing-a-long with, but instead, it has Peter Billingsley from A Christmas Story.
Here is another early commercial for Steak-umms from 1982.
And here is a very passionate Jack Klugman talking about his favorite sandwich meat.