Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fake Cheese

With all of the delectable cheeses out there, I don't know why I spent my childhood and adolescence in love with fake cheese.  And, by fake cheese, I mean anything made by Kraft.  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Velveeta, Kraft Singles, Cheez Whiz...I loved it all.  At the time, I found none of the following the least bit odd:

1.  Cheez Whiz and Velveeta, while purporting to be "cheese" do not require refrigeration.
2.  The unnatural shade of orange these products come in
3.  The strange "forms" of these cheeses...powder, thin sheets, slightly gelatinous spreads and rectangles.

Out of all these delicious cheese products, my all time favorite Kraft creation is Cheez Whiz. 

As a kid, I stumbled upon the perfect way to eat Cheez Whiz, which is spreading it on toast.  I cannot adequately describe just how delicious this combination is, and I have spent a good portion of my life trying to convince others to try this tantalizing duo.  Although judging from the weird looks people give me when I talk about eating this, I'm not sure that anyone has actually done so.  I actually went as far as writing a letter to Kraft extolling the wonders of Cheez Whiz on toast when I was in the seventh grade.  Even if I didn't get credit for this "recipe," I admit, I was at least hoping to see Kraft add some sort of tag line to the Cheez Whiz packaging, like "Try Me On Toast!"  or "I'm the New Peanut Butter!"  But, judging from the letter I got in response, I don't think my suggestion ever made it to anyone with any real decision making power.  If it had, perhaps I would not have had to bring my own Cheez Whiz into my college's cafeteria, since it was not provided on the breakfast condiment bar.

But, at least I can say I got a free Cheeze Whiz for my efforts.   

This was not to be my last communication with Kraft.  My sister and I once called the number on the side of the box of macaroni and cheese that is reserved for "questions and comments."  You see, this was one of the only foods we could "cook" for ourselves and we had the ingredients down pat--4 tablespoons butter, a quarter cup milk--no need to read the side of the box.  But on this occasion my mom had purchased one of the variations of the original, Dinosaurs and Cheese.  After preparing the Dinosaurs and Cheese, the consistency was all wrong.  Instead of being perfectly cheesy, it was soupy and milky.  Of course, our only course of action was to call Kraft directly to complain about the ruined mac and cheese.  I'm not sure what we were hoping the operator at the end of the line could do for us, but we learned a valuable lesson--for whatever reason, the macaroni with different shapes require less milk.   We never made that mistake again.

Even as an adult, I admit I will occasionally eat some Cheez Whiz or Macaroni and Cheese.  But the one Kraft product I can no longer eat is Velveeta.  Even the name just gags me.  The worst thing is the way that I ate Velveeta when I was a kid.  My mom had a special sandwich called a "Cheesy Bun" that her grandma used to make for her when she was a little kid.  This sandwich consisted of a sandwich bun with butter and Velveeta inside.  Whatever would possess someone to come up with this sandwich, I don't know.  But as a kid, I thought it was a great treat.

As an adult, I love all kinds of cheeses, but there is just something about fake cheese that I will always love, despite its strangeness.  

Fake cheese: competing with real cheese to capture children's palates everywhere.

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