' A Taste of Monterey - American Cheese


American Cheese


"Foul! American cheese is not cheese!", the cheese police cry out. And they have a point. American cheese—even the "fancy" stuff you can get sliced at the deli counter—is not exactly cheese. But here's the thing. Saying "American cheese is not cheese" is like saying "meatloaf is not meat." Just as meatloaf is a product that is made by blending real meat with texture- and flavor-altering ingredients, so American cheese is a product made by blending real cheese with texture- and flavor-altering ingredients. In fact, percentage-wise, there's a good chance that there's more milk and cheese in your American cheese slices than there is meat in your meatloaf!

We're not going to try to convince you that American cheese is the greatest culinary gift this country has bestowed upon the world (it's not). We're not going to try to convince you that American cheese is just as complex in flavor as a great cheddar or Tomme (it isn't). We're not even going to try to convince you that if you don't like American cheese, you probably just haven't had a great cheeseburger or grilled cheese (though you probably haven't). But we are going to try to clear up some misconceptions about what American cheese really is.

The process itself was invented in Switzerland, in an effort to reduce cheese waste; scraps from various batches of cheese could be melted together and formed into a new, delicious product. In 1916, Canadian-American entrepreneur and cheese salesman James Kraft perfected the technique in the US, patented it, and started selling the very first process American cheese. It soon became immensely popular due to its long shelf life and easy shipping.

And to all you cheese snobs out there, let's cut a deal, okay? You stop telling me what fancy-pants cheese to put on top of my cheeseburger, and we won't ask you to put American Singles on your cheese plate.

Post By:   Steve Gunnerson