Scott Walker has lost any shot at the presidency

He was campaigning in Philadelphia, and made a dreadful gaffe.

Scott Walker cut in line at Geno’s to order a cheesesteak with American cheese and no onions. He’s not getting out of Philly alive.

Unforgivable. Cheez Whiz and fried onions, always.


I also liked mine wit’ peppers…ack, no, don’t kill me!


  1. anteprepro says

    I can only hope that the title of the post is true, because he does seem like a plausible winner, come to think of it.

    Also, now I want cheese steak.

  2. Larry says

    I don’t see the attraction of the cheese steak. You take 3 good things, steak, onion, and bread, and then combine them with a chemical-enhanced, neon-colored, cheeze-like goo from a spray can. It just doesn’t compute.

  3. BeyondUnderstanding says

    As a former suburbanite of Philly, I can attest to going with a random food truck instead. Also, as far as I know, peppers are an accepted add-on. But you gotta have the cheese whiz if you’re going for authenticity.

    Oh and come on! You have to post that photo an hour before lunch? You’re killing me Myers!

  4. John Horstman says

    No onions? I am apparently in agreement with Scott Walker on an issue, and now I feel ill.

  5. microraptor says

    My grandmother lived in a little place outside Philadelphia and the shop there used IIRC cream cheese and provolone on their cheese steaks.

    Of course, the last time I was there was in the early 90s.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    I’ve never been to Pennsylvania, so probably I haven’t had an authentic cheesesteak, but I have never had one that impressed me, even at places that specialize in cheesesteaks. And all this talk of Cheez Whiz is not making me want to keep trying.

  7. Mark The Snark says

    A miracle has occurred. There is something upon which I agree with Scott Walker!

    No scientist should be demanding that any living organism consume Cheez Whiz. It say “processed cheese food” on the label. Pro tip: if they have to assert that it is food on the label when it is obviously supposed to be food, it probably isn’t actually food. :-)

  8. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    Is that an actual steak? It’s hard to tell with the melted cheese on it, but it looks more like grilled meat bits.

  9. LicoriceAllsort says

    You want to get your cheese steak from a food truck.

    Or a strip mall. I’m a provolone, onions, and sweet peppers girl, myself.

  10. says

    Few things in this universe are more annoying than people telling you the proper way to eat low-brow food.

    One of them is cutting in line.

  11. sugarfrosted says

    Cheez wiz is not spray cheese, it’s basically non spicy cheese (queso) dip. This is a common misconception.

  12. jerthebarbarian says

    Cheesesteaks are one of those few culinary inventions that are better away from their point of origin than they are at their point of origin. While the cheesesteaks on a Philly food truck might be better than the ones at Geno’s or Pat’s, they still insist on smothering their sandwiches in midwestern processed nacho cheese food sauce. I don’t like dipping tortilla chips in that stuff – I can’t stand it on sandwiches.

  13. congenital cynic says

    Cheez Whiz is a gross, disgusting product. You couldn’t pay me to eat it. Even if it tasted like cheese, it’s so salty it almost makes me gag. We don’t even eat the prepackaged slices on burgers. They are just a thickened version of the same thing. But then a lot of processed food is gross.

  14. Parse says

    The One True Pennsylvania Steak Sandwich is from Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh.
    Thick white Italian bread, coleslaw, and french fries.
    If you’ve ever been there, your mouth is probably watering as much as mine is now.

    (Fun fact! My brother once tried ordering one without the slaw. The server just about threw him out – and I would have backed her up on that.)

  15. llamaherder says

    The closer I get to an “authentic” Philly, the less I enjoy it.

    I guarantee there are real Philadelphians getting these things without onions or cheese whiz every day. The whole thing strikes me as half in-group chest-beating and half touristy bullshit.

  16. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    PZ (and I guess the original tweeter) is of course alluding to John Kerry’s famous gaffe of ordering provolone on his cheesesteak. Pretty much ruined his presidential run, as it fed into the perception of him as an out-of-touch elitist. He speaks French! He likes windsurfing! He ordered provolone!*

    Which is fine–he is an elitist. But the guy he was running against was a Bush–why anyone thought of him as anything but elitist still escapes me.

    *Also, he’s married to a billionaire who, ironically enough, made her fortune as the heir to a ketchup empire.

  17. karpad says

    I seem to recall the right wing hate machine actually making hay of this on John Kerry, for the sin of getting swiss cheese instead.

    I honestly wouldn’t care otherwise, but geese and ganders.

  18. ryancunningham says

    Food trucks? Never trust food sold by someone with a built in escape plan.

  19. BeyondUnderstanding says

    I guarantee there are real Philadelphians getting these things without onions or cheese whiz every day.

    Well, of course. But if you’re a Presidential candidate on the campaign trail, sampling the local cuisine, shouldn’t you adhere to the most classic, traditional versions, even if you don’t personally care for it? I mean, isn’t that the whole point?

    As a side note, could this thread be more pretentious? Haha, good grief. It’s gross pig-out food. Don’t you ever get a craving for a McDonald’s hamburgers or a Twinkie once in a while?

  20. Rick Pikul says

    @sugarfrosted #13:

    Yep, it’s mild cheddar, mustard and some emulsifiers, (plus peppers in the Jalapeño Tex Mex version). Heck, I just checked a jar I happen to have[1] and they even make it clear that it really is made with real cheese[2]. Note that the labeling rules where I live are such that a claim like that has to be backed up, (so called “American Cheese” is sold in packages that are very careful to avoid using the word cheese).

    For some reason, confusing Cheese Whiz for various kinds of “spray cheese” seems to be a common thing with some Americans. I suspect it is likely from some product that intentionally uses a similar name.

    [1] While not the best kind of cheese by any stretch, it does have it’s uses.

    [2] Apparently the US labels don’t list cheese as an ingredient because they are listing the ingredients the cheese is made from.

  21. says

    Don’t you ever get a craving for a McDonald’s hamburgers or a Twinkie once in a while?

    Actually, no. But that’s just me.

    The real pretentiousness isn’t that such food is bad, it’s that there is Only One True Way to eat such food, and if you deviate from the Authentic Cuisine in the slightest, you aren’t a Real American. The fact that the food in question isn’t exactly gourmet just adds a layer of irony with a side of douche.

  22. anteprepro says

    Area Man: Honestly, I always take the Only One True Way bits as jokes (in other words, the irony is intentional). But it varies: some people will seriously lecture people for having the wrong toppings, eating the wrong style of pizza, getting a sandwich from the wrong location, etc. Perhaps I am being overly generous in assuming most such declarations as jokes, because taste in food is one of the most subjective and opinion heavy things you could possibly talk about.

    (Contrast with lectures about eating healthy or higher quality food, which is almost never joking, never intentionally ironic, and almost always serious and often very judgmental).

  23. congenital cynic says

    I’m with you on that. Never have a craving for either of those. I crave butterfat in a lot of different forms in a lot of different foods, and I sometimes crave some meat, but since I eat those things regularly it rarely gets to the craving stage.

  24. Ysidro says

    Dammit Parse, now I want a kielbasa and cheese with egg. And it’s got to be one of the three city Primanti’s. The suburban places are no good.

  25. LicoriceAllsort says

    What a Maroon, oblivious @ 18:

    “John Kerry’s famous gaffe of ordering provolone”

    He made the mistake of ordering it with swiss, actually. Provolone is among the cheeses that are considered to be acceptable for cheesesteaks.

  26. What a Maroon, oblivious says

    I agree with Area Man up to a point.

    Just don’t put tomatoes in my chowder.

  27. BeyondUnderstanding says

    The real pretentiousness isn’t that such food is bad, it’s that there is Only One True Way to eat such food, and if you deviate from the Authentic Cuisine in the slightest, you aren’t a Real American.

    Eh. Again, as I stated above, most Philadelphians do not give a shit how you eat your cheesesteak. But if you’re going to pose for the camera and say “Look at me, I’m just like one of yous guys, eating a classic Philly cheesesteak!”, as Scott Walker did, then you should expect some sort of backlash for deviating. Because then what’s the point? It would be like ordering a Chicago-style hot dog sans pickle.

  28. What a Maroon, oblivious says


    Thanks for the correction. This is what I get for trusting my memory.

  29. says

    @24: I’m pretty sure PZ and most people on this thread intend it as a joke, but sadly far too many do not. That would include the political press, who seem to believe it worthy of national news if a presidential candidate doesn’t order his cheese steak just right or puts the wrong condiment on a hotdog. We’ve gotten to the point where each candidate needs his or her own Authentic Junk Food adviser, lest they be accused of being “out of touch” for daring to eat food the way they like it.

    Aside from the snobbishness and irony, it’s also a way to induce people to vote based on faux cultural biases rather than their economic interests. Who says the press doesn’t do their job? (As an aside, remember the “Who would you rather have a beer with?” test during the ’04 election? The correct answer was of course Bush, whom they failed to mention was an alcoholic).

  30. anteprepro says

    Area Man: Good points all. Even the jokes might not really be jokes (“just joking” as an excuse for saying something you really mean). I don’t know, people baffle me too much to say with much certainty how many people exactly buy into tribal “eat it MY way” bullshit. (I imagine it might be similar in psychology to over-the-top support for local sports teams).

  31. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    the philladelphia cheesesteak was created before cheez whiz was invented.

    Was it, perhaps, first consumed about half a day before cheez whic was “invented?”

  32. says

    The question is why candidates feel compelled to do this crap in the first place. It’s because the press, and whoever else considers themselves the guardians of Real Americanism, would be all over their ass if they didn’t. We’ve been doing the Authentic Philly Cheesesteak thing for at least 4 presidential cycles now, and it’s getting a wee bit old. Of course it’s not just Philly, but that’s the worst example. Everywhere you go, you must go to this restaurant and order this food in exactly this way, or you’re an elitist snob. Irony abounds.

    I don’t care at all for Walker, but his only crime was not knowing the silly rules. It would all be for eye-rolling if not for the fact that, you know, this is treated as a serious part of the leader of the country contest.

  33. BeyondUnderstanding says

    But let’s be honest. If Walker just wanted lunch, he would’ve sent out an intern. If a candidate is campaigning in Philly and goes themselves to Gino’s, it’s for the purpose of grandstanding. Yeah it’s sad we put so much emphasis on shit like this… but people like their traditions (no matter how trivial). It’s not about “Real Americanism”, it’s about respecting local customs.

    He was visiting Philadelphia and wanted the approval of the people, so he purposefully went to a famous local place to eat a famous local food. In my opinion, he did in fact goof (just as Kerry did). Should it be a deciding factor in the election? No. But he still goofed. How hard is it to just ask the chef for “a classic [insert local food here]”? By deviating, you’re saying that you don’t like the classic local version. So then, why bother going there to grandstand in the first place?

  34. Parse says

    Anteprepro @ 24 (and Area Man @ 23)
    I should’ve been clearer; I meant One True Way as an ironic way of saying “my preferred option.”
    Ordering a Primanti Bro. sandwich without the slaw is like ordering a reuben without sauerkraut – it’s still delicious, but should it still be considered a reuben? (Considering that my brother and I went there when he visited because I told him about the fries and slaw, hopefully you can understand my reaction a bit better.)

    I agree, it shouldn’t be news. There’s a lot of reasons to be opposed to Walker; his local-cuisine faux pas shouldn’t be one of them.

  35. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    his food order may have been a gaffe, but “cutting in line” is obnoxious. Such usually gets responded to with cusswords (eg “asshat”). Even without the insults getting thrown at him, it is still a sign of [redacted] arrogance, that he thinks he is too important to stand in line and must be served immediately, and then order a standard but customize it unreasonably.
    Not criminal behavior, but totally undesirable to represent the entire population of this country.
    I know of a site that discusses “The Worst Restaurant Customers Ever”, to which I would nominate this incident be included.

  36. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    it’s that there is Only One True Way to eat such food, and if you deviate from the Authentic Cuisine in the slightest, you aren’t a Real American.

    to reword for DeBlasio (mayor NYC):
    there is Only One True Way to eat such food (pizza), and if you use a fork instead of your fingers, you aren’t a Real American New Yokker.

    In other words, what goes around, comes around (repeatedly)

  37. says

    it’s that there is Only One True Way to eat such food, and if you deviate from the Authentic Cuisine in the slightest, you aren’t a Real American.

    My brother pulls that crap with me about beer (I’m a craft-brew guy and he’s a Miller Lite guy). It’s all just a form of tribalism. Ppppptttttthhhhhhhh :p

    Also, MY cheesesteak better have Swiss, onions, peppers, and mushrooms or I ain’t eating it.

  38. carovee says

    First, like others here, I hate these dumb stunts and I hate even more that its reported as “news”. That said, how stupid is Walker’s campaign team? Who scheduled him to eat two huge sandwhices in a row? And how freakin’ hard is it to say to some person in line “What’s the best way to order a philly cheesesteak at Pat’s?” Not only would he have gotten the order “right” but he would have scored points for actually talking to people. Walker is great at fundraising and pretty good with a stump speech but allow him a moment of spontaneity and he comes across like an alien robot trying desperately to pass has hu-man.

  39. frog says

    I can’t believe he didn’t get a beatdown for cutting the line. Must have been a lot of security with him.

    And obviously he was doing the “man of the people” politician schtick, since he made a point of going to both Gino’s and Pat’s. You don’t go to both unless you’re trying to placate everyone in sight.

    On the subject of Cheese Whiz: let people like what they like. I regularly spend beaucoup $ on fancy cheese at that other Philly bastion, DiBruno Bros. But I don’t turn up my nose at Whiz in the right contexts.

    Cheese Whiz vs spray “cheeze” from a can: I think Americans get them confused because the spray cheese feels as if it should be called “cheese whiz”–it whizzes onto your cracker. A great example of how memory works by associations and assumptions, not necessarily by hard facts.

  40. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is disgusting. You should be ashamed.

    Why should we be ashamed, and shouldn’t you be for your non-sequitur?

  41. Georgia Sam says

    As much as I hate to be on the same side of any issue as Scott Walker, I am also an onion hater, & I have been served way too many dishes loaded with onions even though the description on the menu did not mention them. I’ve also been in restaurants where every damn thing on the menu, with the possible exception of desserts & beverages, contained onions. I, too, would order a cheese steak without onions if I ever ordered one, which I don’t think I’ve ever done.

  42. leftwingfox says

    If provolone, sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms and mustard are the wrong way to enjoy a cheese-steak, I don’t want it right.

  43. Mark The Snark says

    The real political fail in this is going for a classic Lookit how in touch with the regular people I am photo op and:
    1. Cutting in line. Why use wave your privilege around and undo the political good when you could be seen waiting your damned turn like regular people do. Use that time to chat with people in line. Assuming you actually want to know anything about your putative voters, that is.
    2. Leaving your garbage for somebody else to clean up. Nothing says elitist twit like not knowing you are supposed to do it yourself. If you need handlers to brief you on things like that, get them. Duh.

  44. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Cheese Whizz? Isn’t that the horrible cheese-in-a-can stuff? The one you spray on like whipped cream? That horrible, culinary abomination, the mere existence of which is enough to make me hope there is a hell for the inventor to go to? You actually want that on your food?

  45. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    Aaaaand, I should read the thread first. Clearly, Cheese Whizz is not cheese-in-a-can. I must admit that it still doesn’t sound particularly appaetising.

    Regarding food snobbery, I’m with anteprepro at #24. I am a food snob, I’ll admit it, and I will happily enter into a tongue-in-cheek argument about the proper way to eat a steak (rare, if you’re wondering; blue if it’s a really good fillet), but I don’t really give a fuck if you like it a different way. I assume most other people are the same way. Genuinely thinking less of someone because they don’t like to eat the things you do is just stupid.

  46. ledasmom says

    Busteggi: Unfortunately I cannot claim the same level of discernment for my cats, or at least the older one. He would eat soy sausage if I let him. Me, I have always loathed processed cheese – never understood the point of American cheese, which has no cheese tang that I can taste. A little of it does make a cheese sauce smooth, though, and with enough cheddar/Swiss/blue cheese the flavor disappears.

  47. says

    I grew up about an hour outside Philly, which maybe Philly residents consider the sticks, but I figure it’s close enough for the cheese steaks I ate growing up to be considered Real™ cheese steaks. I almost always got them with onions, peppers, mushrooms, & provolone. I can finally find frozen cheese steak steaks in the grocery stores down here in Texas now, but they’re just not the same as those thing rectangular sheets from Quaker Maid.

  48. says

    Parse @ 16 – Now that you’ve brought up Pittsburgh food you made me think of the O, and now I could really go for some hot dogs.

  49. jnorris says

    Jumped the line and missed a great opportunity to talk with voters. Smart move.

  50. CobaltSky says

    When I first came across the cheesesteak debate I thought it was an actual joke because it came up on a comedy podcast. Turns out not to be a joke to some people and now I think of it as one of those nationalistic things like the way other Americans clutch at their guns. Or New Yorkers have a massively inflated opinion of their pizza. Or how proud LA people are of pointing out how little they care about the opinions of New Yorkers. Or how my fellow brits continue to pretend that “traditional” fish and chips are actually good food.

    They are all jokes, but they also have a large contingent of people who seem to have actually attached their identities to these symbols.

  51. freemage says

    I think Chicago may have the rest of the country beat on this. We have several foods that have this sort of traditionalism built around them:

    Hot Dogs (Chicago dog rules: Poppy seed bun, Vienna beef dog, dill pickle wedge, tomato wedges, neon green relish, yellow mustard, celery salt; no ketchup unless you’re twelve)
    Pizza (while the NY style is more typically bought for delivery, Chicago-style deep-dish is “one slice is a meal for most folks”)
    Italian beef (do NOT make comparisons to either the Philly cheesesteak or the French dip sandwich. The Italian Beef has more flavor and better texture than either, even if you’re a wimp who doesn’t go for giardiniera. But get it dipped, in any case.)
    Pizza Puffs (I can’t speak for the east coast, but I know these are almost impossible to find out West. Again, the biggest mistake is thinking it’s something vile like a Pizza Pocket. The crust is more like a flaky pastry, with a filling of pizza sausage and sauce, and the whole thing is deep fried.)

  52. says

    The cheesesteak imbroglio is not fatal but Walker will be finished after Trump gives him a wedgie at the Fox debate. Also, P.Z. Cheeze Whiz is a non-dairy instrument of Satan .

  53. rogerfirth says

    the philladelphia cheesesteak was created before cheez whiz was invented.
    Read more:

    Cheese Whiz was never “invented”. It was discovered as a byproduct of oil production in the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta in the early 1900s. Now most of it is intentionally produced via fracking in the Bakken formation in NW N. Dakota. Although I understand the Saudis export some, virtually all Cheese Whiz consumed in N. America is produced domestically.

  54. says


    NY pizza really is that good. Sorry. Spent the first 27 years of my life there and ate it once a week at least. This is not to say Chicago pizza is bad though, nor the thin-crust square-cut stuff here in Madison. I’ve never met pizza I didn’t like. But it really is that good :v

    …on a more serious note, Walker’s utter lack of common touch is both cringe-inducing and completely predictable. What an asshole. What a self-centered, sociopathic asshole. The capital building is right across the street from a church and good-ol’-Christian-boy Walker shits all over the homeless who are within sight of it. I know, as I know several of them personally.

  55. Al Dente says

    I want to lay one urban legend to rest. It is not true that cheese whiz is strip mined in West Virginia. It’s pumped from cheese whiz wells in Manitoba and is then processed in the Dark Satanic Cheese Whiz Mills™ in Hoboken, New Jersey.