We may earn a commission on purchases, as described in our affiliate policy. One of the dangers of assuming "natural" is good and "chemical" is bad. ", and pat themselves on the back for being clever. Everything you need to know about eating and cooking with curds. A chicken sandwich is not made from chemicals, at least, not in any sense of the word that would allow us to have a meaningful discussion about chickens, sandwiches, and ingredients lists. American cheese is not cheese! 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. By the strict, chemists' definition of the word "chemical," yes, everything is made of chemicals. It took home the American Cheese Society’s Best of Show in 2001, 2005, and 2010, and it won the U.S. There's nothing scary here. Find out the story behind an American classic—and whether or not it's actually good for you! American cheese was first made by the British colonists in America, and was then exported back to England by 1970s. A process cheese, with a minimum of 51% cheese, a moisture content between 44 and 60%, and a milk fat content of at least 20%, that remains spreadable at 70°F (21°C). Gooey stovetop macaroni and cheese, made with American and cheddar cheeses. The government is quite specific about what must go into a food in order for it to get certain labels, and the United States Government Publishing Office provides a wonderfully transparent database of all of the Food and Drug Administration's labeling laws. The kind that comes either in individual slices from the refrigerated dairy case or sliced off of a rectangular block at the deli counter. Some HTML is OK: link, strong, em. I enjoy American cheese on an occasional basis—about as often as I eat a hamburger. In Ethiopia, feeding each other with your hands is a gesture of hospitality. Pasteurization is the process of heat-treating milk in order to destroy any harmful organisms. Let's first agree upon what we mean by the word "chemical." Here's what you might see. The protein-rich, watery portion of milk. Calcium phosphate is the main form of calcium found in bovine milk. Share! It's widely used in food preparation and found naturally in various fruits and plants. People from other countries, who have never even had a chance to discover true American cheese, see these other products in their countries with those confusing labels and assume that that is American cheese, and it is gross Most cheeses are inoculated with bacteria and allowed to ferment and age, during which time they develop flavor and rinds and lose moisture. Saying "American cheese is not cheese" is like saying "meatloaf is not meat." While some go gourmet, the classic recipe is still sliced American cheese, slapped between white bread, and fried in a pan full of butter. One interesting thing to note is that all of the FDA's definitions for these various process cheese products stipulate that the cheeses and optional ingredients be mixed into a "homogeneous plastic mass." Heating, curdling, pressing, inoculating, aging...those are all processes. American cheese has a mild flavor, and melts to a nice texture. But here's the thing. At first, it was made from a mixture of cheeses, more often than not Colby and Cheddar. Incidentally, if you're buying your milk at a supermarket, it has been processed through either pasteurization, homogenization, or, more likely, both of those. istock/SolStock ", Though I personally would move the quotes, and call it processed "cheese" :), Is known as formaggio cheddar in Italy http://i.imgur.com/DwtYoFR.jpg. For me, it's all about context. In Germany, for instance, the cleaning product is called Meister Proper. A food prepared by melting one or more cheeses (most commonly cheddar and/or Colby) together along with optional additional ingredients, such as cream, water, salt, approved coloring, or spices, as well as an emulsifying agent (commonly sodium or potassium citrate or monosodium phosphate, though a number of other salts can be used). Even the simplest cheese, like halloumi, is made by treating milk (whether from a cow, a sheep, a goat, or even a human) with rennet (an enzyme typically taken from the stomach lining of an unweaned calf, or, increasingly, vegetable-based enzymes with similar properties), draining the resulting curds, and pressing them together. In the US, raw-milk cheeses must be aged a minimum of 60 days to be sold. Without it, we'd die. American cheese is processed cheese made from a blend of milk, milk fats and solids, with other fats and whey protein concentrate. These are the enzymes, like rennet, that are added to cause milk to coagulate and form curds. It's taking one thing and tinkering with it so that it comes out the other end altered in some way. And to all you cheese snobs out there, let's cut a deal, okay? Learn more on our Terms of Use page. The greatest burgers I've ever eaten are well-seared patties of loose ground beef, bound together with nothing but a lot of hope and a little American cheese. Got it? History British colonists made cheddar cheese soon after their arrival in North America. As a result, many flavors, colors, and … Despite what some folks may claim, it has been demonstrated that pasteurized milk is just as nutritious as raw milk. Some folks also like to avoid modern process cheeses made with MPC, since it's often imported from countries with less rigid safety standards or oversight. "purified cane juice," "sugar," and "sucrose" are all the same chemical, yet some appear more "natural" than others. So what's the difference between a "cheese food" and a "cheese spread," and where does pasteurization or processing come into play? [Photograph: J. Kenji López-Alt], If you actually took this list of labels into a modern supermarket, you'd be surprised to see that many products don't fall into any of those categories. And in Albania, Italy, and Malta, you'll find it under the name Mastro Lindo. You already know what's coming. This is what gives American cheese a nice stable shelf life, and it's only allowed in "consumer-sized" packages of cheese. The creamy portion of the milk. American cheese in its most common form is a blend of milk, milk fats and solids, with other fats and whey protein concentrates. Where American cheese (or "Pasteurized Process American Cheese," as the FDA likes to call it*) differs is that once the cheese is made (and yes, American cheese starts with real, honest-to-goodness cheese), it is blended with a few other ingredients to alter its texture and flavor. 1833 cheese From popular Cheddar to exotic Shanklish and from soft to firm cheeses, you can find information such as Flavour, Rind, Producers, Fat Content, Type and Country of Origin. Eating foods with chemicals, like anything in life, is a matter of balancing the potential downsides with the benefits. In Canada we refer to that as "processed cheese. A proper cheeseburger. Outside of cheese, you've enjoyed its emulsifying power in bratwurst or Italian sausages. *** With this common vernacular usage of the term "chemical," not everything is made up of chemicals. Please enlighten us as to why plastic cheese is not a sin on a burger, it's the plastic joke turd of food world #notcheese. The bacterial culture added to curdled milk to help it turn into cheese. I'm guaranteed to be met with What is that plastic on top of your burger?!? It sorta depends on what you need the cheese to do. Cheese is made for sharing. They are far more rigorous! I'm 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). 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. Mozzarella and queso Oaxaca are kneaded and stretched, for instance. (You can read more about the science of melting cheese in this excerpt from my book.). 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! The There are times when I crave a fancy, true cheese, and there are times when only an oozing slice of American will do. Comments can take a minute to appear—please be patient! He wrote a book called The Purpose of American Politics. "Champions" is a movie about a hotshot lawyer required to coach an underdog peewee hockey team as community service after getting arrested for drunk driving. British Quora users shared which American food items they just don't understand , and processed cheese topped their list more than once . At first, it was made from a mixture of cheeses, more often than not Colby and Cheddar. The precise definition runs over 2,000 words and includes stipulations for moisture (no more than 43%) and fat content (no less than 47%) of various process cheeses. According to Robert Carlton Brown, author of The Complete Book of Cheese, "The English called our imitation Yankee, or American, Cheddar, while here at home it was popularly known as yellow or store cheese". However, this is just a case of unfortunate word choice. The exact details of these subsequent processes are what determines the labeling on the package, and those can be as simple as blending it with another cheese or as complex as melting it with additional whey, milk proteins, and emulsifying salts. Let's get another thing straight. Now we're into true unfamiliar territory here, but only if you've never looked at a package. Joe teaches us, knowing is half the battle, but the question still remains as to whether these additives are truly safe. All true cheeses are made with cheese cultures, and remember, American cheese starts as real, honest-to-goodness cheese. This is a list of cheeses by place of origin.Cheese is a milk-based food that is produced in wide-ranging flavors, textures, and forms.Hundreds of types of cheese from various countries are produced. The ingredients are listed in order of largest constituency by mass to smallest. by Mike Spohr BuzzFeed Staff 1. Just kidding. Denmark has the highest level of per capita cheese consumption. Texas-style queso dip, made with process cheese. Deli-sliced American cheeses, such as Boar's Head or Land O'Lakes, as well as some packaged cheese slices, such as Kraft Deli Deluxe. Speaking of sodium citrate, buy yourself a little pouch of the stuff and you, too, can make perfectly creamy, gooey, melty cheese slices and macaroni and cheese at home, using whatever cheese you'd like! British Quora. We reserve the right to delete off-topic or inflammatory comments. It soon became immensely popular due to its long shelf life and easy shipping. J. Kenji López-Alt is a stay-at-home dad who moonlights as the Chief Culinary Consultant of Serious Eats and the Chef/Partner of Wursthall, a German-inspired California beer hall near his home in San Mateo. Cheez Whiz being slathered onto a Philly cheesesteak. Gruyère and Comté are washed with a bacteria-infested brine called morge. His first book, At first glance, the list of ingredients on a package of American cheese may seem long and frightening, but banishing that fear is just a matter of understanding the terms and realizing that just because something sounds like a chemical doesn't mean it's necessarily bad. This is milk. Stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp, pork, and vegetables. They're usually called something like toast-toppings since they cannot legally be called cheese. By 1790, American-made cheddars were being exported back to England. Sodium citrate is an extremely common emulsifying salt that is used to keep the cheese creamy as it melts. Other Top Cheese Consuming Countries Cheese is also a major product in Germany , Switzerland , and the Netherlands . Mexican queso blanco comes pretty close. "My arteries, taste buds and stomach all rebelled at once and violently. That said, I'm still a skeptic, and that extends to the things I put in my body. Kraft singles aren't really cheese. Another ingredient used in all cheese-making. Another emulsifying salt that is also widely used as a leavening agent in baked goods (think: baking powder). Flavor, however, can vary, though it's difficult to judge exactly how much flavor difference you'll notice in a heavily processed food like cheese (and I'm talking all cheeses now, not just those labeled "process"). But when we're talking about the ingredients in food, there is a clear distinction between complex ingredients found in nature like milk and chicken and wheat, and chemical ingredients that have either been synthesized or extracted and purified from a natural source. 21 American Food Products That Look Totally Different In Other Countries Wait, Cool Ranch Doritos are called what?! Some are, some are not. Kraft Mac & Cheese Kraft Mac & Cheese used to be called “Kraft Dinner” in many countries, but “Kraft Mac & Cheese” eventually became the moniker in most of them. This is an organic acid used as a preservative. One does not replace the other, and they need not be compared with each other for us to enjoy them both. Other cheese made in America just goes by the name of the type of cheese it is, New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the NoStupidQuestions community, Looks like you're using new Reddit on an old browser. Bring your flashlights and security blankets, because things are about to get scary! Here's where we get into true #notcheese territory. All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. Here's a list of all the ingredients—both chemical and nonchemical—you'll find in a standard package of American cheese and what they're there for. As the saying goes, there’s nothing more American than a slice of apple pie—or a piece of shiny orange cheese.—or a piece of shiny orange cheese. You've liked its mildly acidic and saline flavor in club soda. Cheddar cheese originated in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, England. US manufacturers like to play games with labeling laws. Well, the government says so, and American cheese has been around an awfully long time. A chemist may say that when you dig deep enough, a chicken sandwich is made from chemicals, but to say that is to render the word "chemical" meaningless in this context. Some are bad in small quantities. You've probably tasted it in ice cream, jams, jellies, powdered drinks, and even wine! More complex cheeses go through further steps of processing. American cheese is processed cheese made from a blend of milk, milk fats and solids, with other fats and whey protein concentrate. Kraft is not the only company to get around labeling laws in this manner, which means that if you really want to get a handle on what's in a cheese, you're going to have to look at more than just the name of the product, and dive into the ingredients list itself. 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