Thursday, May 26, 2011

A shameful claim to fame

I don't know many people who actually believe that American cheese is actually good cheese. For the most part, it does qualify as cheese.  ...mostly.  ...barely.

The worst part is that it's not a high quality cheese. It's hardly pure, and it's claim to fame is being bland and pleasantly melty. Kids love it and most of us welcome it on our cheeseburgers, by default.

Hence the next problem...  The cheeseburger.

My wife (fresh of the boat from Bulgaria) pointed out that you can get a cheeseburger virtually everywhere; it's not only the default food for when the rest of a menu sucks, it's also there for a picky eater at your favorite fish restaurant, and even standing by at the Chinese place for the xeno-food-o-phobe that you convinced to come with you while you ate General Tso's. ...and each and every burger, fancy burger joint aside, is covered with a melted slice of American cheese, in all it's shame splendor.

As an ingredient, rather than a food in and of itself, American cheese is even more ubiquitous than the all-American cheeseburger on which it rests, melting, on the lunch table burger of so many Americans, each and every day.

America is a proud country, but we really need to rethink the things that we allow carry our proud name. German chocolate cake is delicious. Greek salad is good stuff. But American cheese... is it even cheese? Not always, but often.

What if people drop the American "cheese" from their burgers? Does that make the burger less American?

If so what do we have left? Without cheese, what is a cheeseburger? A hamburger. Where's Hamburg? Germany. The Germans already have that cake, so screw them!

Here's McDonald's American Cheese

Pasteurized Process American Cheese:
Milk, water, milkfat, cheese culture, sodium citrate, salt, citric acid, sorbic acid (preservative), sodium phosphate, artificial color, lactic acid, acetic acid, enzymes, soy lecithin (added for slice separation).

At least it's not McDonald's "Natural" Swiss Cheese (yes, "natural" is their choice of words, not mine).

Natural Swiss Cheese:
Swiss cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, enzymes), powdered cellulose and potato starch (prevent caking), natamycin (natural mold inhibitor).
Natural? Powdered cellulose? Do you know what that is?

In the olden days, American cheese was cheese, and was a blend of colby, jack, and or cheddar, but no more. Now, American cheese is produced as American cheese OR worse, manufactured as a processed cheese food, which is primarily yellow vegetable oil instead of a dairy product. If it has to be labeled "food," shouldn't that give you pause?

I hesitate to tell you to opt for another cheese, because American cheese should live on, to return in strength and stand proud again amongst the cheese blends!

It needs a relaunch.

How can we get our cheese to be cheese, once again?

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