What IS it about American Cheese? I just don't get it.

I know someone who balked at trying some pimento cheese (that someone else had purchased) because it had been made with “American Cheese.”

(While it’s not the kind of cheese I would have chosen for pimento cheese, it still wasn’t bad–but getting back. . . .)

The protest was that American Cheese was “processed.”

I vouchsafed with, “What do you mean by ‘processed?’ All cheese is ‘processed’ in one way or another.”

The response was that it was heavily laden with soybean oil, as opposed to milk products.

I could have sworn that after looking at several packages, I didn’t see “soybean oil” as the main ingredients, so. . . .

What is about American Cheese that makes it so mild that it’s practically tasteless, and why it it so often the cheese of choice for cheeboogies?

Was she possibly confusing American Cheese with Cheez Whiz?

Maybe she thinks all American Cheese tastes like those individually wrapped pieces of yellow gunk. Kraft Delux American cheese is pretty good for sandwiches, Kraft singles are barely fit for human consumption.

If you’re looking for REAL, honest to goodness American cheese, go to a deli or the deli counter of a supermarket and buy a pound of Land O’ Lakes American cheese freshly sliced.

You’ll see the difference between that and the plastic stuff. The deli cheese has a nice, creamy taste and a better texture. It’s very good.

Bear in mind, that Kraft makes two completely different products: one is American cheese, and the other is American “cheese food.”

If you’re using individually wrapped slices, you’re almost certainly using “cheese food,” which is made primarily from oils, and has only a little bit of genuine milk. Their actual American cheese is made completely from milk. The flavor and the texture of American cheese is quite different from that of “cheese food.”

Don’t take my word for it, look at the labels.

Oh, and as for why the individually wrapped “cheese food” is used so often for cheeseburgers… it’s probably because cheese food melts a lot faster. If Dad is in the back yard grilling burgers, he can slap a piece of “cheese food” on the burger, and it’s gooey almost immediately. Real cheese takes its time melting.

Aren’t all american cheese pasteurized by law? If I’m right on this one, it could explain this issue. Pasteurization significantly dumbs down cheese’s flavor (the differents flavors of cheeses comes in large part from the bacterians it contains (not all bacteria are harmful). Pasteurization kills all bacteria, hence destroy the flavor. IIRC, other bacterias are sometimes added to some cheese after the pasteurization to somewhat restore the taste, but it’s necessarily not the same thing.

(Canadian) cite: http://www.parl.gc.ca/english/senate/com-e/agri-e/03ev-e.htm

I think that importation of unpasteurized cheese into Canada has been banned.

I don’t think that’s right - I can buy parmigiano reggiano at any supermarket around here, and I’m pretty sure that’s not pasteurized.

Here’s a cite (of sorts): http://www.coldbacon.com/articles/sgparmigiano.html . About halfway down the page it says:

And also this www.gourmetinteractive.com/articles/131feat4.html+parmigiano+pasteurized&hl=en&ie=utf-8"]Google cached page that says:

Let’s try that link again: foo

I was able to find

I don’t know whether the ban has been lifted, but the cite from the Senate shows that some have been wanting to do this for some time.

Unfortunately, I am not a cheese connaisseur, so cannot refer to personal knowledge obtained down at the deli.

Let me try to clarify one point. Of course, all cheese is processed, but processed cheese is cheese that has been ground up and melted and reformed. Probably reprocessed would be more descriptive. But I think that processed cheese has to be labeled. I also believe that cheese food is yet something else which is made from something less than 100% cheese. (I don’t count things like pepper cheese that has a small amount of red pepper ground into it, although I think it is processed.) Real American cheese is just a very mild cheddar and can be absolutely delicious. I don’t know about the Land O’ Lakes brand, but what we bought at the local deli when I was a kid was real good. Finally raw mild cheese is just what it says, cheese made from unpasteurized milk. It is, or at least used to be, legal provided it had been aged a certain amount of time, maybe 6 months or more.

You may be familiar with processed Gruyere in little triangular wedges. I guess it is made from Gruyere if it says so, but any resemblance between it and real Gruyere is purely coincidental. The latter is, among the hard cheeses, one of the world’s great ones, while the former is dreadful. On the other hand, I like at least one processed cheese: smoky Gouda. So there.

I’d just like to know where that “every Kraft single is made from 10 ounces of milk”, or whatever it is, comes from.

Is it just a very small fraction of (10 ounces of milk)?

Butterfat content of cows milk varies due to any number of factors, but would normally range from 3-6%, say typically 4%.

I can’t tell you the conversion ratio from cream to cheese, but expect it’s less than 50%.

Well now I’m puzzled. I did some more googling, and I found several articles that referred to a proposed ban that was announced in March 1996, but not implemented. But your article is dated March 2001, so the articles I found aren’t relevant. I couldn’t find anything relating to the 2001 ban, but I do have a chunk of parmigiano in my fridge :slight_smile:

Ooh! Ooh! I found something!

Canada Eases Foot and Mouth Ban

Well, I’m impressed! I’m also surprised that, even when legal, you are able to find unpasteurized cheese in a supermarket - I was under the impression that it was more of a specialty/deli product (though to give them their due, the big supermarkets are getting less bland). Can you confirm that the labels on your cheese say “unpasteurized” or “raw milk” or whatever?

Regardless of whether unpasteurized cheese is legal or not, it is clear that it is a specialty product, given the proportion of production noted in the Senate report - even more so than “real beer”.

(Let’s really confuse the Americans, Manduck and get into a discussion of the merits of Upper Canada Dark Ale vs. Sleeman Rebellion Lager! :smiley: )

I believe that’s because that is a “hard” cheese. Rules aren’t as strict on hard cheeses as they are on soft cheeses.

I think those must be eastern beers. I’ll have a Hermann’s Dark Lager instead :smiley:

But getting back to the all-important topic of cheese - the supermarkets around here have deli counters, which is like a small delicatessen inside the store, where you can get specialty cheeses, sausages, etc. They don’t put the parmigiano in the dairy case with the Kraft singles and such.

The cheese is sold bulk-style, i.e. in wedges cut off of a big wheel of cheese, so there is no proper label on it. Parmigiano Reggiano is marked on the rind though.

Oh, the memories! Drink one for me, please. Ten years ago, my wife and I went to BC for vacation, and I remember Hermann’s Dark lager being wonderful.

Will do :wink: