I hate american cheese.

The whole concept is, quite frankly, disturbing to me. That the most powerful nation on earth should represented by this poor excuse for a dairy product is scary. Where's our pride? Where's the American spirit? If you want to know why the rest of the world doesn't quake in their boots at the mere mention of the US of A, it's because they've tried our cheese.

Who decided which cheese gets to bear the name American Cheese, anyway? Was there a vote? If there was, I demand a recount. Was Colby even on the ballot? What about Monterey Jack. And what's the deal with Swiss Cheese? Why the hell do the Swiss have such a great cheese named after them? Did you know that the majority of Swiss cheese in the world is produced in the United States? Let them make their own damn cheese!

Other countries don't have cheeses named after them. There's no French cheese, or Italian cheese, or Canadian cheese, unless you count Jim Carrey. So who's the guy who woke up one morning and said, "Hey, America needs a cheese. I'm gonna make that cheese for my country, and I'm gonna do it using as few natural products as possible." I'm don't know for sure who this person was, but I'm betting his last name was Kraft. I'd also be willing to bet he worshipped Satan. Do we really want a Satan worshiper's cheese representing this great nation?

I suppose in a way it's fitting that the cheese most associated with the US is American Cheese. What better metaphor for the US than the most unnatural, preprocessed food product since the Twinkie. Well I for one am sick of it. I'm calling for a worldwide boycott of American Cheese. I won't rest until American Cheese has been wiped from the plates and bagged lunches of school children and unsuspecting office workers everywhere.

Viva la Colby!

(For the record, I've had the real stuff. No, it did not change my mind. Mark my words, American cheese is slowly but surely destroying this great nation.)

I suspect the above writeups are the opinion of people who have not had real american cheese, but only the Kraft Variety of Cheese Food and Imitation Cheeses which are labeled as American Cheese. While these plastic wrapped singles of cheese like stuff do actually contain cheese, they are not in fact american cheese. They are a blended mixture of cheeses and additives designed to give a taste similar to american cheese.

If you go to a real deli or cheese shop and ask for American Cheese, you will not get plastic wrapped molded squares of processed cheese. You will get real American Cheese, which bears a mildly similar flavor to Kraft Singles, only much much better and with actual flavor. So please, before you write off american cheese, at least try the real thing.

There are quite a few American cheeses, even if only one commonly gets called "American Cheese." For example...

If I ruled the universe, the cheese best known as "American" would be Jack Cheese. Sweet, creamy, and complex, it usually comes from California, USA.

The Tillamook County Creamery Association is best known for its Cheddar, but this Oregon, USA-based plant also produces Monterey Jack, Colby, and Smoked Cheddar.

Bel Gioioso Cheeses have been made in Wisconsin, USA since 1979, using Italian equipment and traditional Italian methods. However, differences in local demand as well as in climate and grazing have given these cheeses their own character.

Maytag Blue does indeed come from the same family as Maytag washing machines. A creamy blue cheese sold mainly via mail-order, Maytag has a dense, crumbly texture and spicy flavour.

Cheesemaking was introduced to Mexico during the Spanish conquest in the 1500s. Asadero is a fine melting cheese: white, supple, and gently sweet. Queso Anejo, on the other hand, is more crumbly and salty.

The Canadian cheese market is dominated by Cheddar. Canadian Cheddar is often more acidic than traditional British Cheddar.

This is all opinion. Be nice.

I'd like to offer a voice of dissent here: I like American Cheese, and not only the really good, freshly sliced deli variety. I like the stuff that comes individually wrapped in plastic, too. You know when Homer said "mmm. Sixty-four slices of American cheese" and proceeds to eat them all? Yeah. That was me and I wasn't laughing.

So what is it? Why is this stuff so good to me? Why do I have American cheese cravings? I'll admit that a big part of it is nostalgia - I grew up eating cheese and mayo on good deli rye as an afternoon snack. It's an independant cheese; I can't think of another cheese readily available in the United States that I'd eat all by itself between two pieces of bread (ok, except Brie, but that's not quite so standard). Other cheeses just feel like toppings.

Speaking of toppings: I like the way it melts and I like the way it tastes melted, particularly on six ounces of grilled beef. Swiss isn't bold enough. Cheddar is too sharp and oily. Mozzarella is too soft. Blue Cheese is too salty. Monterey Jack is too...south-western. I love all of these cheeses in different contexts but on a burger they pale in comparison. Maybe it's because its relatives live in a can, but no other cheese melts as well.

It sounds like I'm saying American's good because it's inoffensive, but that's not it at all. It's that even after all this time and all these cheeses, American cheese still confuses me at some fundamental level. I want it to taste like something else, I want to be able to associate it with cheddar but I can't, not really. It's like the black sheep of the dairy world, the cheese-fairy reject. But that's alright; I still like the look I get when I order american and mayo on a roll.

On the night of June 12th, 1949, Chemist GC Wharram of DuPont Corp. took a break from studying the sulfur chemistry of FOOF to eat a grilled cheese sandwich. Unfortunately, he had been rather in a hurry while preparing it, and having had only slices off a block of colby to work with, the cheese had not melted through entirely. While chewing a non-melted bit he decided to cancel his planned experiment, most likely saving his life, along with the mortal souls of Wilmington, Delaware.

At this precise moment, the night janitor, having completed his sweeping rounds of the DuPont factory floor, walked into the break room for a coffee. GC Wharram, exiting hurriedly to avoid speaking with a negro-man, by chance glanced down at the collected sweepings in the janitor's dustpan, sitting just outside the door. He stared, rapt, at the slate grey powder with bits of lime green and cobalt blue glowing from within. While Wharram's fertile mind explored the possibilities of the glowing, carcinogenic refuse, cycling like the CEO's rolodex through each commercial possibility, he absentmindedly picked a morsel of Colby from his teeth, deep in thought.

What can I do with this?

Then the bit of Wisconsinian goodness hit his tongue. Neurons fired like in a storm, connections made, conclusions arrived at, almost instantly. Eureka!

He spirited away the dustpan with its valuable contents to his laboratory, spending the night in a frenzied state of synthesis and product development. Finally, with dawn breaking over the Delaware River, Wharram plopped his head down next to a shiny, orange, 3 x 3 inch square of moulded chemical offal, the outcome of the evening's travails, and fell asleep. Willie the Janitor was fired later that day for theft of company property.

Thus, on that glorious day, was American Cheese (aka Kraft Singles) born.




Ok, that isn't actually true. In fact, I made the entire thing up while devouring a melty delicious grilled cheese sandwich last night. But given its amorphous, blob-like, natural as a gram of ununquadium qualities, American Cheese might as well be. In reality, American Cheese, like LSD, was first developed in Switzerland, and quickly patented by the "krafty" James L. Kraft in 1916; but it wasn't until 1950 that Kraft developed a mass-marketed, individually-wrapped product, no doubt assisted by the innovations of the Manhattan Project. Chemically-engineered for melty goodness, coloured yellow ochre for maximum believability (the actual product is grey before colouration), and marketed as an, ahem, calcium-rich alternative to *actual* cheese (later shown to be false by the FDA), Kraft Singles skyrocketed in sales and is today one of the most recognizable brands in the large Kraft family of processed carcinogenic shit.

Symmetry, in his above writeup, excoriates American Cheese for being, in his mind, falsely representative of the great American nation. Oh no, my friend. Not at all. American Cheese, cunningly, is in some ways the utter, perfect symbol of that other great Middle Kingdom, one that every proud, chest-thumping, tax-hating, cancer fighting Uh-may-rican should embrace wholeheartedly.

This goopy, plasticine "food-like" item is the end, logical result of a Horatio Alger-like capitalist national vision. A food that doesn't meet popular demand (there was plenty of cheese on the market before), but creates popular demand for it (this cheese* melts much more easily!). A food that is a godforsaken amalgam of chemicals, wrapped individually in a pure petroleum product, and marketed unironically as "cheese", which is a gross misrepresentation of that hallowed term. A food that likely causes cancer, and is not in the least nutritious, but is at least cheap, readily available, keeps almost forever and is made in China! (probably true). And last but not least, forms the integral part of a McDonald's Double cheeseburger.

In short: A product that was made for profit, unhealthy to the general public, processed beyond all recognizance, inexpensive, and wrapped in petroleum.

*snif* God Bless America.

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