Strange Cheeses from America

Considering my blog’s name is about cheese, I thought I should do some casual research about this wondrous milk-based food product… Where to start? American cheeses, of course! But Wikipedia’s list of cheeses from my beloved country is slightly disconcerting. There are a few that I recognize, but for the most part, Americans have invented processed cheese products with highly descriptive names like “Pizza cheese,” “Government cheese,” and “Spray cheese.”

So, in honor of the nation’s enthusiasm surrounding the Olympics, I thought I would provide you with a brief overview of some of our most patriotic cheeses.

Illustration: Alex Eben Meyer

Pizza Cheese

A pasteurized processed cheese designed to melt and remain chewy on pizzas. Similar to mozzarella, but lower in quality and a lot easier to make… The reason why Domino’s and Pizza Hut ads can film the quintessential “cheese pull” that makes our stomachs growl.

Government Cheese

Processed cheese given to welfare and food stamp recipients from the 1960s – 1990s. It sounds like the pink slime of cheese… remnants of other surplus cheeses are combined into one mysterious potpourri cheese. Occasionally kosher!

Spray Cheese

Cheese… made Easy. I’m not surprised that Kraft was the one to invent the distinctly American “Easy Cheese” dispensed from a spray can. The container design, however, is Swiss (like the cheese), and ensures that the cheese “product” can be dispensed when the can is upright or inverted! How could it get any easier?

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