So, is Cheez Whiz truly the food of the devil, or what?
Kraft, which produces Cheez Whiz, calls it a process cheese sauce. Yes, process cheese, not processed cheese. It's some legal definition, apparently.
According to Street Cents, (www.halifax.cbc.ca/streetcents/show/more/show_04_00/cheez_whiz.html) Cheez Whiz is 65% cheese and 35% whiz. It contains:
I've read too that Cheez Whiz contains anchovies, so vegetarians be warned.
If Cheez Whiz contains actual cheese, inquiring minds want to know, why doesn't it look like cheese? Because it's processed and still contains all its moisture, while hard cheese is aged, not processed, and has the moisture pressed out. Again according to Street Cents (a remarkably informative show if you can get past the gee whiz factor), 53 gr of Cheese Whiz has almost 900 mg of sodium (salt), three times as much as hard cheese (325 mg per 52 gr of cheese), which is high, but not as high as a dill pickle, one of which contains a whopping 1700 mg, or a bag of chips, 1000 mg.
As a child Cheez Whiz was the only thing that could make me eat celery, and it was commonly melted and poured on broccoli and cauliflower. It was an essential ingredient in my mother's macaroni and cheese. I hadn't had it for ages, until I went to Florida a few years ago; it seemed that Cheez Whiz was everywhere, to be poured with abandon on everything in sight, which explained the unsightly rear ends in track pants I was surrounded by. It's long been an ingredient in Philadelphia cheese steak, and is commonly served with cheap nachos. And it's being marketed as an all-purpose dip these days.
It's more than just faux food: when researching Clean Your Clothes with Cheez Whiz, author Joey Green discovered, through a process I can't bear to think of, that the natural enzymes in Cheez Whiz cut through grease on clothes. Just put a glob on the grease stain, let stand for 10 minutes, and wash as usual.
I know there are different types of Cheez Whiz available, because in northern Ontario I've had Cheez Whiz Picante (it wasn't really very spicy). But all that's listed on the Cheez Whiz home page (http://www.kraft.com/brands/namerica/us.html) these days is regular, "light", and Salsa con Queso Cheez Whiz. That may be because they're in the process of relaunching Cheez Whiz in new wide-mouth jars, perfect for dipping. The slogan is "That's cheezy!", and the mascot is the sleazy Cheezy Guy, a kind of Leningrad Cowboys meets Las Vegas cartoon character with a leopard skin lounge chair and a shit-eating grin. Lord help us all. If you visit his swinging internet pad you can see his tacky apartment, dress him up (this, I admit, was fun), and see various little animations about him and his life: www.kraftfoods.com/cheezyguy/cheezy_guy.html