Rob Kaufelt on American Cheese

I was reminiscing on my changing relationship to American cheese, specifically yellow slices wrapped in plastic. Once, as an American kid, I ate my share of grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers. Later, as a supermarket dairy supervisor, I reset all the dairy cases in our company to give this product its maximum shelf space for sales and profit. Still later, as Murray's proprietor, I scorned it, dismissing it for all the usual reasons a cheesemonger might. Still later, and still a cheesemonger, I thought I'd been too snobby, too elitist, and that James Kraft's invention back in 1906 had been a good thing for new urban workers needing a safe and cheap source of unrefrigerated food. Now I think it may just be killing anyone who eats it, based solely on its ingredients: water (cheap); hydrogenated soybean oil (a killer, but gotta help those soy farmers!); potato starch (holds ten times its weight in water!); casein (from china, and laced with who knows what?); phosphates (calcium and sodium); gums (xanthan and locust bean); and artificial color. In short, complete crap, and that's what the label should say: "warning, the plastic on the outside is safer than the plastic inside."

Rob Kaufelt is the proprietor of Murray’s Cheese, and author of the recently-published Murray’s Cheese Handbook.