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Help a Canadian out..what on Earth is "American cheese"?

I see this all the time and have no idea what it is. Should I sub cheddar?

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  1. Flat very mild processed cheese. It might be known as Kraft Singles or something simimlar.
    Cheddar will have more flavor. Subs will depend on the recipe.

    1. Just be grateful you've never had a close enough encounter to find out!

      31 Replies
      1. re: mcf

        dianne0712 - In describing American Cheese, the key word is "processed". That means it's milk that's been manipulated to produce a kind of soft rather unpleasant (IMO) cheese that Canadians apparently haven't been tortured with. Oh how lucky you are.

        1. re: mcf

          Oh! Processed cheese! We have Kraft singles, etc. Here, we just don't call it American cheese. Thank you. Now I know to avoid those recipes, LOL!

          1. re: dianne0712

            Oh, for heaven's sake, don't throw out the baby with the bath water. If you find a recipe that specifies American Cheese just substitute using a jack, cheddar or colby

            1. re: todao

              Not necessarily - American cheese excels on burgers and other cases where even meltability is key

              1. re: jgg13

                That's strictly a subjective matter of taste. For me, it ruins a burger compared to real cheddar or swiss, for examples.

                1. re: mcf

                  That may (or may not) be true in a strictly epicurean sense but a Big Mac isn't a Big Mac without those Kraft singles. :-) It becomes a mutated frou-frou burger with chi-chi cheese. :-D :-P A Filet-O-Fish isnt't one without that pad of melted/resolidified American cheese to hold it together with this innocuous tasting yellow stuff. :-D

                  There is a place and time for American Cheese aka Kraft singles and equivalent products. Try them sometime.

                  1. re: huiray

                    Been there, done that, not going to do it again. :-) I worked in a McD during college... never ate a single one of their burgers, not in my 57 years on earth so far. I only ate Filet o Fish if I made it myself. We also made steamed grilled cheese from those slices in the F o F bun steamer. With pickles.

                    1. re: huiray

                      Yeah, and whatever happened to Velveeta? Used to love it as a kid. I suspect it's probably still around. Same thing as "American" cheese. Only more so. '-)

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        You "suspect"? Gee, I guess you don't get into grocery stores much. :-)
                        I use Velveeta to this day, for certain recipes. I always have some in my fridge.

                        1. re: FitMom4Life

                          +1 on the velveeta. I have the new queso blanco in my fridge to try this week. Yum.

                      2. re: huiray

                        Thanks for bringing back the memory :o. As MacDonald's crept into France one TV news show decided to do a tasting analysis and brought in a professional (Cordon Blue I think) chef to taste test the Big Mac. He took his first bite out of it, started chewing.... turned GREEN.... and spit it out. After trying to wash out the taste with water.... he then gave a technical analysis of why it did not work :o I am not a big fan of the Big Mac myself, but have stopped to get a Sausage McMuffin.... which I find to be a guilty pleasure of mine. If I am going to eat a hamburger, I prefer my own..... which are made with mortared thai chilies (around 3 per patty) mixed into the meat.

                      3. re: mcf

                        Depends on the burger, IMO. For flat patty style burgers I think you really need the processed cheese. Its' the only thing that will nicely melt into all of those nooks and crannies. On a larger, pub style burger I'm right there with you.

                        And as huiray mentions, other items kind of require the textural nature of the processed cheese. Granted none of them tend to be haute cuisine. I'm thinking of the fried pork belly sub I had yesterday - the mayo and melted american cheese were key for my enjoyment :)

                        1. re: jgg13

                          I've found that cheddar and swiss, especially the latter, melt nicely and stay in place no prob. I use them at home, on home ground and formed patties, and with store bought.

                          We'll just have to disagree about any meal "requiring" that particular product and its texture, that's strictly a subjective taste matter, tweechisown. :-)

                          1. re: mcf

                            Me too on the cheddar and Swiss and I'll add Monterey Jack to the equation. All very melty and better-tasting than American

                            1. re: sandylc

                              And colby, too! Also like the Finlandia colby/monterey jack blended slices.

                            2. re: mcf

                              You may want to consider carefully if you wish to patronize any of these chefs who contributed to this article in the NYT today. DITTO all the folks here and elsewhere who say American cheese will never cross their lips etc etc. Or Hellman's mayo. Or commercial ketchup. :-)


                              1. re: huiray

                                It's a good article, and illustrates that the food pretensions seen so widely these days need to be popped occasionally.

                                A few years ago, in an episode of "Best Thing I Ever Ate," John Besh nominated the crabmeat au gratin at the Bon Ton in New Orleans. He sat there eating some and raving about it, and speculated what combination of cheeses they were using (several, he thought). They gave him the recipe, and it turned out to his "shock" that there is only one cheese used, and that is American.

                                Of course, I'm sure the cheese they are using is the good quality stuff that comes off a block, like that pictured in WD's walk-in box in the NYT article, not the cheap wrapped in cellophane version in the store, which many of the posters here apparently confuse with the better stuff.

                                1. re: huiray

                                  Why would I avoid those chefs? I'd just avoid any dishes with ingredients I dislike same as anywhere. I've never seen anyone say they'd never use commercial mayo or ketchup here, have you?

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Yes. Not specifically on this thread, but all over CH.

                                    1. re: mcf

                                      And how would you go about "avoiding" dishes with "ingredients you dislike?" If John Besh can't do it (see my post just above), how can you do it?

                                      1. re: johnb

                                        It's actually pretty easy. Menu says things like mashed potatoes, beets, or beef liver - I don't order that dish (the big things). The other ingredients (commercial mayo vs non-commercial) you can only judge as an the end result... and you may or may never know the difference. Personally, I am not a big mayo fan (with the exception of tuna/salmon salad sandwich) - but generally only use butter for the "spread". Ketchup - also not a big fan (not sure if non-commercial would grab my fancy), but American Mustard.... love the stuff :p

                                        1. re: cacruden

                                          It may be "easy" if it's stated on the menu, or the ingredient is not fully integrated into the preparation and can, for example, be seen. Otherwise, not so easy my friend. And those who say they can, I'll just say I've got my doubts. Too many blind tastings have shown that folks think they can distinguish much much more than they actually can.

                                          1. re: johnb

                                            Sometimes you have to ask questions of the server and sometimes you get burned and have to peel something off your food. Sometimes you end up not liking it and sometimes you just deal. There's nothing pretentious about the preferences for high quality ingredients, it's a matter of priorities when it comes to origins and how they're produced or plain old personal taste. I love Hellmans, won't go near Miracle Whip. They sit next to one another on the same supermarket shelf. I like fine mustards, whole grain mustards and French's yellow. But cheeses are a whole 'nuther thang... no fakers.

                                      2. re: mcf

                                        I don't use ketchup, commercial or not.

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          My FIL thought it was an abomination... and he ate EVERYTHING.

                                      3. re: huiray

                                        Awesome article! Thanks for posting it! I have no reason to avoid the chefs mentioned, in fact I am happy to know that they are honest about the foods they eat and use in their recipes. I have many such favorites, and I'm a pretty healthy gal. No pretentious nonsense for me. I eat healthy, but that does not mean I cannot include things like cheese and peanut butter - love the article!

                                        1. re: FitMom4Life

                                          ??But cheese and peanut butter are not unhealthy????

                                          1. re: FitMom4Life

                                            This topic has nothing at all to do with avoiding cheese and peanut butter, which are health foods, AFAIC.

                              2. re: dianne0712

                                Um, Kraft singles/equivalent stuff is necessary for various kinds of burgers to "taste and eat right". Ditto MacDonald's Filet-O-Fish. :-)

                                1. re: mcf

                                  Oh good grief. I probably eat one slice of American cheese every day of my life. It's good stuff, and is perfect for many dishes.

                                  1. re: wyogal

                                    No, we have it here in abundance (my husband insists on having it for grilled cheese), it's just that we call it processed cheese or cheese slices, not American cheese. Different name, same product. It's often that way, for instance I have yet to see a grocery store offer flank steak or skirt steak here.

                                    1. re: dianne0712

                                      I was merely pointing out that one could make it, not saying YOU should make it. I thought it was interesting, and it shows just exactly what it is, even interesting for those that already know what it is.

                                      1. re: dianne0712

                                        If it has the required amount of dairy, they're allowed to call it American cheese, and I know you can get this sliced at a deli counter. It's drier and more cheese like than the shiny, icky sticky stuff in the single's wrapper.

                                      2. re: wyogal

                                        It's cheese (any - though Cheddar is common) melted with milk or whey and some emulsifier (from your Molecular Gastronomy kit). Done right it can still be tasty, but softer and have better melting qualities. Many cheeses, when melted, separate. Processed cheese does not.

                                        Note that many chefs still prefer processed cheese (e.g. Kraft singles) for cheese burgers and grilled cheese - because of these melting qualities.

                                        1. re: paulj

                                          Yes, I know. We will be using a white American cheese sliced at the deli (thick) for our grilled burgers tonight.

                                        2. re: wyogal

                                          is a chow video making a processed cheese. He uses a custom mix of cheese, wine, sodium citrate (an emulsifying salt), carrageenan, salt.


                                          I've not been a fan of 'processed cheese', but recipes like this move the concept out of the industrial non-food category into the world of home cooking.

                                        3. The best one is "Land O' Lakes" American cheese, far superior to Kraft

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: redfish62

                                            No Land'o'lakes here, but thanks for the tip. I live near the border but I don't buy milk products in the States because of the hormones you use which are not in Canadian milk.

                                            1. re: dianne0712

                                              Horizon organic makes cheese slices, they are pretty decent and don't have rGBH.

                                              1. re: redfish62

                                                I just found Bordens sharp single slices. Pretty darn good. Give it a try and i will try land o lakes.

                                              2. Uh, guys. Only food SNOBS would say that "American Cheese" has no redeeming features. Shame on you.

                                                Nothing spells comfort food for me than a grilled cheese sandwich, particularly when made with good old Land O Lakes yellow American. It's also a major ingredient from my old Girl Scout camping days in a one-pot dish called "Glop". Awful name, but delicious & comforting in its own right.

                                                American Cheese is not disgusting or sub-human - it's simply a processed food product; like Velveeta (which also has a LOT of great recipe uses to commend it).

                                                No one says you need to consume or even enjoy "American Cheese" if you don't want to. But don't diss it because you personally don't like it.

                                                27 Replies
                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                  Absolutely right. Nothing else will do in Grilled Cheese, and nothing but Velveeta will do for Mac & Cheese.

                                                  I use really expensive snobby foodie designer cheeses all the time for eating straight up, but as an ingredient, these are unparalleled.

                                                  1. re: acgold7

                                                    I can't stand Velveeta in mac and cheese or in a sandwich. I love grilled cheese with havarti, muenster, or Swiss and sliced tomato, though. On low carb bread, of course. :-) I know they call them "processed cheese foods" but they're neither cheese nor food, IMO. There's just no accounting for tastes, I guess.

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      Same. I cannot tolerate Velveeta in anything and I have tried. It is one of those few things that I can honestly say I loathe. But, it is a good thing we all do not like the same things!

                                                      1. re: chefathome

                                                        I think folks who grew up with those products as their comfort foods might be more likely to enjoy them now, too. To me, they just taste like salty, slimy greasy stuff... though I think I loved American cheese in grits when I was very young and visited my older sister and she introduced me to cheesy grits with American cheese... I'd never had either, til then.

                                                        I didn't intend to insult folks who like them, just offered my unvarnished reaction.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          Oh, for sure. I did not grow up with Velveeta nor have I had American cheese.

                                                          My reaction is the same and I do not intend to insult, either. Just my opinion, of course. There is no way I would begrudge others for their tastes. :-)

                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          It's more a feat of engineering than culinary or nutritious product. IMO.

                                                        2. re: mcf

                                                          Can't stand Velveeta. As a kid, the rest of the family loved it, but I wouldn't touch it.

                                                        3. re: acgold7

                                                          My Philadelphia friends insist that American Cheese---and I don;t mean Velveeta---is essential to a cheesesteak. Just offering a view...They'd die before putting brie or boursin on one.

                                                          1. re: hazelhurst

                                                            American is great, but what really makes them authentic is Cheez Whiz.

                                                            "Whiz Wit" is the definitive order.

                                                            1. re: acgold7

                                                              Provolone usually wins opinion polls and I've usually had it since I was a kid (#2 is American). Wiz is acceptable, but calling it the definitive order is something Philadelphians sell to tourists.

                                                              1. re: pgm123

                                                                Sorry, definitive was the wrong word, and so was "authentic." I should have said most popular. According to this article:


                                                                Whiz (which didn't even exist at the time the original sandwich -- which contained no cheese at all, according to the article -- was invented) outsells the #2 cheese, American, by up to ten to one at Pat's, and probably is similar at Geno's, but I know local aficionados sneer at both places. But Tony Luke says it's his favorite too. Provolone comes in third if I'm reading the article correctly. Each has its fans. The only places Whiz isn't at least tied for #1 is where it isn't offered. Geno's notes this is true of both locals and tourists. The poll conducted with the article does not reflect these findings because polls of this type are not scientific and are not accurate.

                                                                But I know this is one of those things, like BBQ, that brings people to blows over their personal preferences, so I'll stay out of it. Being a mere tourist, I get Whiz when I'm in town or order the closest facsimiles I can get here at home, but use American when I make them myself.

                                                                1. re: acgold7

                                                                  The reason Whiz became the standard, so I'm told, is that during the 50s a significant portion of the customers were eating kosher, which forbids meat and dairy sharing the same grill. When the option of cheese was added, processed cheese could be kept warm on the side and ladled on afterward for those who wanted it without touching the flat top. I think this was before the name Cheese Whiz was coined, and certainly before anyone ever put it in an aerosol, but canned processed cheese was available- and at the time it probably tasted just like the more solid processed cheese. I think folks who remember getting American cheese in the early days likely were getting the liquid rather than the slices and simply didn't draw any distinction between the two.

                                                                  Myself, I like mozzarella for its mildness and stringy melt; for me it lets the steak flavor shine through. Provolone has more flavor though, there's no doubt, and sometimes I want that on a cheesesteak. Or even a toasted provolone hero. Mmmm. Yet when I'm really craving the comforting flavors from my youth I want my cheesesteak with American or the Wiz. With grilled onion and mayo please. That's just my own taste speaking.

                                                                  As for what's definitive, well, I'm staying out of it too. I've heard people argue that it isn't "authentic" unless it has a little tomato sauce on it, something I personally can't abide on a cheesesteak. But to each their own.

                                                                2. re: pgm123

                                                                  Back in the 1960's, Old Guard Philadelphians..and their colleagues in Delaware who might have been even MORE Philly than the Main Line...were horrified by Whiz. Provelone is good but it is not what those 100% Americans in Drexel Hill (who are Greek) put on their superlative cheeseteaks. Pat's and Geno's leave me cold. Gimme something from Ardmore or, even, out in Della-wure.

                                                              2. re: hazelhurst

                                                                I thought Cheez Wiz was popular on those? (Just writing that makes me throw up a little into my mouth)

                                                            2. re: Bacardi1

                                                              Oh, I'm not above it is certain situations! Trust me. The aforementioned cheeseburgers is one. When I was in public school we used to make this thing called poppy seed buns which were hamburger buns spread with a mixture of Velveeta, butter, poppyseeds and something else I can't remember. I still crave those sometimes. What I was referring to was recipes that seem otherwise quite upscale, with expensive ingredients, and then suddenly American cheese.

                                                              1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                I am going to research glop recipes, but if i cannot find will you tell me what it is an how it is made. If it is kid palate friendly it is right up my alley. Thanks

                                                                1. re: suzigirl

                                                                  Definitely kid-friendly, but I honestly can't give you a specific recipe. That was over 40 years ago over a Girl Scout campfire - lol!!

                                                                  I can tell you that it involved ground beef, canned tomatoes, rice, & American Cheese. And it was delicious - especially after a hard Girl-Scout camp day & made by ourselves over a campfire!

                                                                  Many years later when I was first starting out on my own, I used to make a "Tuna Glop" version of this sometimes during "leaner" times. I'd cook up some rice (regular or instant), & gently fold in a can of drained tuna & a can of undrained stewed tomatoes. Put all in a baking dish & topped it completely with slices of American Cheese. Stuck in the oven until the cheese melted & everything was heated through, & then gently stirred the cheese in. With a little salad on the side, definitely comfort food back in those days.

                                                                  1. re: suzigirl

                                                                    There was another version of glop, this one from the 60s, that as I remember involved rice, peas and Spam. Pretty darn good after a long day in the woods or on the lakes. Followed by smores, of course. Then a few years later there was the advent of gorp, for energy on the trail. (And eventually after a few more years, we became privy to the more adult wintertime pleasures of glug.)

                                                                    1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                      No Spam in ours - definitely ground beef. But I'm sure the Spam version was equally delicious for hungry Scouts. : )

                                                                      (Oh - & I remember "glug" as well. My uncle used to make it, using the traditional recipe using 100% grain alcohol that he had to go out of state to buy. Talk about potent!!!! You could fall asleep just breathing in the fumes.)

                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                        Oh man, I had a very tragic experience with gorp a couple of years ago. We took a huge bag of custom/homemade gorp on a kayak trip, but the water-tight bag wasn't closed properly, and the gorp got wet :( After several hours of paddling, it was quite the let down to find soggy gorp.

                                                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                          Could your "glug" be related to "glogg"?

                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                            Yah, same stuff. What the Germans call Gl├╝hwein, "glow wine." Like mulled cider but made from red wine; sometimes it had liquor added for extra kick.

                                                                      2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                        If you want to call me a snob, go right ahead. But I can't stand processed cheese grilled cheese sandwiches. Processed cheese makes my mouth feel slimy. I do not like the flavor. When I was a kid and in situations where it was all I could get, I would load it up with mustard. But that was a poor substitute for a grilled cheese made with cheddar, which is how mom made it for me.

                                                                        When I became a teen, I found that a mix of sharp cheddar and motz was perfect and FUN because the sharp cheddar was aged and so creamy, but the motz was young and stretchy. I still liked mustard on it, but just a bit. And what made it total heaven was to use seeded rye bread.

                                                                        At diners where they didn't have REAL cheese, and legally that stuff cannot be called cheese, I liked mustard and slices of tomato to help it along.

                                                                        1. re: Pipenta

                                                                          Why does it matter whether something can be called cheese or not? Is there something sacred about being cheese? :)

                                                                          Melting a slice of cheese between two pieces of bread turns it into something that is no longer cheese. Melting cheese in a cream sauce also dilutes that cheese, turning it into something can no longer be called cheese. Cooks can transform cheese, why can't Kraft?

                                                                        2. re: Bacardi1

                                                                          I love a grilled cheese sandwich, but have never made it with sliced cheese. I have always used cheddar (sharp or mild - it all becomes mild when melted). Mmmmm grilled cheese sandwich with a dill pickle on the side.

                                                                          1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                            I think it tastes like orange school paste, and i was a girl scout ( "blushing bunny" with cheddar, please) who occasionally had " gov'ment" cheese in the fridge growing up.

                                                                          2. In this 1928 Calgary Herald newspaper ad, Kraft advertises Canadian Cheese. Could this be one and the same as American Cheese?


                                                                            And here in the 1957 Vancouver Sun newspaper


                                                                            and here in this 1973 Quebec newspaper:


                                                                            1. "Help a Canadian out..what on Earth is "American cheese"?"
                                                                              well it's certainly not what it used to be.
                                                                              now it's slippery slimy orange colored flavorless highly sweetened garbage.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                I'm Canadian, and while in university years ago, my friends and I dubbed it "orange plastic".

                                                                                Still eat it, though, 40 years later. Great on burgers and grilled cheese, and if super pressed for time in the morning, will throw that and some bologna and mustard on bread and refer to it as a 'sandwich'.

                                                                                I will be up early all next week.

                                                                                1. re: FrankD

                                                                                  At least fry the bologna, then you can call it a fancy sandwich :p

                                                                                  1. re: FrankD

                                                                                    "my friends and I dubbed it "orange plastic".
                                                                                    oh I do agree Frank, it is great on burgers but used to be so much better.
                                                                                    yes to the yellow plastic too but it used to be [in appearance anyway] like the now popular sliced cheddar. and yes it's very meltable/melty/meltworthy on grilled cheese but our little tiny ones want the Tillamook sliced cheddar on their grilled cheese. funny how their little appetites are already dictating their culinary preferences.

                                                                                2. Excellent question and tough to answer. I always thought American Cheese aka Kraft Singles were cheese food, not real cheese, i.e. bits of real cheese mixed with other non cheese ingredients.

                                                                                  1. There is no one answer to your question -- there are various types and grades of American cheese. It is, however, always a process cheese. Process cheese is a blend of cheese and dairy and non-dairy additives, particularly emulsifiers, the most important function of which is to render it meltable without separating. The primary use for it is in melted cheese applications, such as grilled cheese sandwiches, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, etc., where a separated cheese that has fallen apart would be problematic. It is of course true that any of these can be made with normal cheese, but process cheese makes the job easier and more reliable.

                                                                                    The US is not alone in producing process cheese. The stuff was invented by a Swiss guy (but popularized by Kraft). The French "Laughing Cow" brand is a process cheese.

                                                                                    There are various grades of process cheese, and the objections of those who complain about process cheese may be based on encounters with some of the lower quality versions. The best American cheeses use cheddar and/or colby as a base, and minimize the add ons. Such cheese can be labeled "process cheese." Lesser grades cannot be called just "cheese," but must be labeled with a modifier such as "cheese food" or "cheese product." It is important to understand what the terms mean, and examine labels to get the better grades. The best versions usually can be found in the deli case, in unsliced blocks -- just have your deli man or woman slice some off for you.

                                                                                    The same basic product is sold in Canada, by Kraft and others, but is normally labeled "cheese slices" or "cheese singles."

                                                                                    Personally I think process cheese has a role to play. IMO it is clearly superior for cheeseburgers. I generally use it for things like mac n cheese, cheese grits, and so on, often in combination with cheddar and other cheeses. Its melting qualities can't be beat, and it seems to help other cheeses you may be using to melt better and incorporate themselves into your dish better as well.

                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                                                        yes, it was just the name that confused me because I've never seen it called that here, so I just wondered what it was since I see it written all the time or referred to on shows. It's just like what you call Canadian bacon, but we call peameal. Same product different name. Although I must say I was surprised when one answer mentioned being able to get it at the deli counter. That I've definitely never seen, just the Kraft singles wrapped type.

                                                                                        1. re: dianne0712

                                                                                          The singles type is NOT what you want. There is another packaged type that is not individually wrapped that is closer to real cheese, but still has the melting qualities.

                                                                                            1. re: dianne0712

                                                                                              Yeah, I just looked it up on the Kraft Canada website. You only get the crappy stuff.
                                                                                              Here's what it looks like:


                                                                                              That said, we really don't eat American cheese much around our house - but if we do decide we need it sometime, I'll try the Land O'Lakes brand that's been recommended here!

                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                Yes, Land O' Lakes has been our favorite "go to" brand when we want American Cheese for something. While they may also sell pre-wrapped singles, I've only bought it sliced-to-order at the deli department. Comes in both yellow & white - both are good, but for some reason I prefer the yellow. Comfort, I guess - lol!

                                                                                                Another surprising newcomer to the American Cheese scene is put out by Alpine Lace - the folks who make the low-fat Swiss-type cheese? Their new American product has 25% less fat than regular American, & I was truly amazed at how flavorful it was (for American Cheese). I never would have guessed it was a low-fat cheese product.

                                                                                                1. re: Bacardi1

                                                                                                  I really love the Alpine Lace reduced fat Swiss. Will try the new product at next chance.

                                                                                              2. re: dianne0712

                                                                                                We don't have just wrapped. Kraft Extra Cheddar, which used to go by the name Deluxe, are the ribbon cut kind. They're way better than the Singles.

                                                                                                1. re: SnackHappy

                                                                                                  huh, wonder where I find that.
                                                                                                  I'll look for it.

                                                                                            2. re: dianne0712

                                                                                              Oh yeah, they have big blocks of it here at the deli counter and you can get it fresh sliced.

                                                                                              American cheese is one of my few remaining processed loves. I only buy it a couple of times a year, but I do like it on a burger or in a grilled cheese.

                                                                                              1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                Even better than LoL is Boar's Head American - we get white. It's almost like real cheese

                                                                                                1. re: JenJeninCT

                                                                                                  If you read the packages closely, you'll see that what Kraft calls American Cheese is actually "pasteurized processed cheese food". To me, anything labeled "cheese food" is neither of those things. Yes, I ate plenty of it as a kid. No, I don't buy it now.

                                                                                                  And while we are discussing semantics -- a few years ago I was giving a tour of the city to some minor russian dignitaries for work, and they were especially interested in American food and specifically wanted to see a supermarket. We took them to Randalls (a chain since bought up by Safeway) and they were in awe of many things, including an entire aisle of just pet food. We visited the deli, and one gentleman surveyed it with great curiosity. We pointed out the turkey, the ham, roast beef, etc. so they would understand what we were eating, as the manager was generous with samples, and my new friend tugged at my sleeve while munching on his slice of bologna. He asked, in halting English "what is .... lunch meat?" I guess he was wondering wat type of animal it came from.

                                                                                              2. re: dianne0712

                                                                                                I thought that what we in the US call Canadian bacon you Canadians call "back bacon" (since it comes from the loin). IIRC, when I saw it in Canada the edge was covered with a fine yellow meal -- was that the peameal?

                                                                                                1. re: johnb

                                                                                                  In Canada we use both terms, back bacon or peameal bacon. Originally, it was coated with meal from yellow peas, hence the name. Now cornmeal is used, but the old name has stuck. Among young people, probably most say "back bacon", where older ones say "peameal bacon".

                                                                                            3. Kraft Deli Deluxe is an American cheese that isn't a "processed cheese food". It's quite good, actually. Not waxy like most American cheese is. The slices aren't individually wrapped in plastic either, plastic wrap being another sign of bad cheese..

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                Ingredients of Deli Deluxe
                                                                                                American Cheese (Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Water, Milkfat, Sodium Citrate, Calcium Phosphate, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Sorbic Acid As A Preservative, Oleoresin Paprika (Color), Annatto (Color), With Starch Added For Slice Separation.


                                                                                                Notice the 'starch added for slice separation'. Why is that superior to plastic?
                                                                                                Notice the first ingredient: American Cheese; second ingredient: water

                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                  I've just noticed that every plastic-wrapped "American" cheese I've eaten has a tremendously waxy texture, and the sliced, unwrapped "American" cheeses like Kraft Deli Deluxe usually don't. Deli Deluxe is an enjoyable eating cheese because of that.

                                                                                                  1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                    Comparing the nutrition labels, I see that the singles are a bit higher in moisture, which may be enough to put it out of the processed cheese category. But looking at the ingredients list makes suspect that the manufacturing process is quite different.

                                                                                                    In processed cheese, cheese is melted with liquid and emulsifiers, cooled, and then sliced

                                                                                                    Singles don't list cheese. Cheese making cultures are listed separately, at the end. I suspect all the ingredients are mixed, possibly heated, and then injected into a continuous plastic tube. This is then flattened and cut and sealed, allowing the mixture to solidify in the wrapping.

                                                                                                    I haven't eaten singles in some time, but I believe the slice edges are rounded, more like something that has been molded by the wrapping, than something that has been cut and wrapped.

                                                                                                    Solidifying in the plastic wrapper must change the surface texture (compared to a cut surface), making it smoother. I don't know if that would be described as 'waxy'.

                                                                                              2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Processe...
                                                                                                lists some legal definitions for processed cheese and cheese products. Note that major part of these definitions is the amount of moisture.

                                                                                                1. Yep..Americans have foods all their own. Imagine that. just like other countries.
                                                                                                  You hear the same apologies/embarrassment when it comes to other things uniquely American like yellow mustard. I could care less..I am American and like them both, ocasionally like any other food.

                                                                                                  1. Just to toss in my two cents here- for individually wrapped singles, I like the ones from Cabot, a co-op I think is in Vermont. Not sure whether it's distributed nationwide yet, or to Canada. And for deli slicing, Cooper makes a good one called "sharp American."

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                      Yes - I've had the Cooper "sharp American", & it's quite good. Almost like a cheddar in flavor.

                                                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                        Coopers is great. So is Bordens sharp slices if you want a cheese that can hang around longer

                                                                                                      2. Everyone knows cheese is yellow. If it ain't yellow, it is foreign and comes from another country like France, Europe, or Vermont.

                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                            Thank you for that link.

                                                                                                            If one wants to learn much more, one can continue through the regs by typing in higher and higher section numbers (the last number in the line). In section 173 you will find the specs for "process cheese food," one of the lower quality versions of process cheese.

                                                                                                            It's important to understand that quality of this stuff varies considerably, and it is necessary to be careful about the label description on the package to know what grade you are buying. The negative reaction that many folks have to process cheese is very likely because what they ate, probably without realizing it, was the lower-grade stuff. Velveeta, for example, is one of the lower-grade versions, a "cheese product" not "cheese."

                                                                                                            1. re: johnb

                                                                                                              You can also click on the line near the top that begins "PART 133" to get the directory to subsections.

                                                                                                            2. re: GH1618

                                                                                                              This is specification is for ' Pasteurized process cheese', and with in that 'American cheese' which contains Cheddar like cheese, in contrast to "Pasteurized process gruyere cheese" (with 'Swiss' types).

                                                                                                              Curious that it spells out how limburger cheese might be used.

                                                                                                            3. Sorry, but if one needs a "better" cheese, such as aged cheddar or bleu on a cheeseburger, one needs better meat. American is great for cheeseburgers because it doesn't mask anything and melts well to provide a proper texture component. "Better" cheeses are too assertive for the burger application. Just overwhelms the palate and blunts or masks the meat, often melting decently only with quite a bit of heat and then coagulating midway through.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                                                                                                                  I disagree. A high quality fresh beef patty is hard to beat. Unless you put a slice of sharp cheddar on it. It doesn't mask the meat. It complements it. I don't know about you but to me, plain meat is pretty bland.

                                                                                                                2. It is often a heavily-processed, "cheese food product," that bears little resemblance to anything, that most know as "cheese."

                                                                                                                  Now, we even have "imitation cheese food product," and no one, outside of a science lab, knows what THAT is.

                                                                                                                  My suggestion is to just put it down, and walk away, slowly, but walk away.


                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                      Not sure why your links go back to this thread, but you obviously have a reason. I just can not imagine why.


                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                        They go back to specific posts in this thread, not just the thread in general

                                                                                                                    2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                      Rubbish. It's delicious and a staple in most American households.

                                                                                                                      1. re: FitMom4Life

                                                                                                                        I tasted some at a friend's house recently. It was kind of waxy and smarmy. My house is 25 years old and there has never been any here.

                                                                                                                        1. re: FitMom4Life

                                                                                                                          See, that is your take. I have actually tasted cheese, in lieu of petroleum products, that possess some color, and are produced to a certain consistency. If you like it, then fine. I will make sure that I do not eat any, so that you have more.


                                                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                            So Bill, what is your take on Bon Ton's crabmeat au gratin?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                              I have not eaten it in over 35 yrs because I think it lacks flavor and I would rather pick up the fat / calories elsewhere. I also don't like grilled cheese sandwiches or put cheese on hamburgers or steak sandwiches which I guess is where a lot of it ends up.

                                                                                                                        2. I really like American Cheese. I'm glad this conversation went on long enough to get really good explanations.
                                                                                                                          It was hurting me when I would read American Cheese aka Kraft Singles. so untrue. I know a lot of people do equate american cheese to kraft singles but, uuugggggghhhhh. They do so incorrectly. Read the title of Kraft Cheese Slices. Or singles or whatever. Individually wrapped = inedible IMO.

                                                                                                                          I won't touch "singles" "cheese food" "cheese food product" (Lord help us) "imitation cheese food product" "slices" etc.

                                                                                                                          It must say american cheese and no more or I'm not buying or eating.

                                                                                                                          1. Interesting to know all "American cheese" is not the same. I did not have much growing up (although I remember Velveeta and "guv'mint cheese"), and my kids will not choose to eat it. Son will eat the cheese on " In and Out", and I will consider it, if I could get the burger "rare".

                                                                                                                            The times I have had it on "fast food", I did not like the texture, and it had sort of a irritating, as in "hot" taste that I did like., even the "asiago" at Wendy's.

                                                                                                                            1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American...

                                                                                                                              "In Canada, exactly the same product, often by the same manufacturer with the same label design, used to be sold as 'Canadian cheese' or 'Canadian slices.' Today, most such cheese in Canada is vaguely labelled just 'slices' or 'singles.'"

                                                                                                                              1. I made American Cheese from the ATK DIY cookbook - it was a blend of shredded Colby with hot milk, spices, cream of tartar, and maybe a few other things. It may have been processed, but it was processed in my kitchen. It tasted very close to what you would expect, but had none of that squeaky Velveeta texture, and was richer and creamier. I did some research on the history for a blog post - it was interesting!

                                                                                                                                1. Most folks call that plastic stuff that comes in individual slices wrapped in plastic "American Cheese." Truth is, that is really "cheese food." It is not 100 percent cheese.

                                                                                                                                  American Cheese is correctly the name for a whole host of cheeses (really, any cheeses) produced in the USA. Some of it is really wonderful artisanally crafted cheese. Of all varieties, these days.

                                                                                                                                  However when you see "American Cheese" called for in most recipes, the reference is to mild yellow cheese. I would sub cheddar for that cheese. Or I'd get creative and use whatever cheese(s) struck my fancy -- the way I do when I make mac and cheese. :D

                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                    In Canada, Kraft calls "American Cheese" "Canadian Cheese" - see old newspaper supermarket ad link below:

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                      "American cheese is correctly the name for ..."

                                                                                                                                      Not correct at all. "American cheese" is a name regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration to apply to a particular category of pasteurized process cheese. That is clearly the meaning that is intended here. The regulation is linked in one of my earlier pists above. Here is an excerpt;

                                                                                                                                      "(g) Each of the ingredients used in the food shall be declared on the label as required by the applicable sections of parts 101 and 130 of this chapter, except that cheddar cheese, washed curd cheese, colby cheese, granular cheese, or any mixture of two or more of these may be designated as "American cheese"."

                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                        I believe I said in my post that was what the OP was referring to.

                                                                                                                                        However, it doesn't really matter what the "official" definition of "American Cheese" is, because like it or not, any cheese made in America IS American Cheese. without the quotes.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                          Actually, you didn't, and you seem to have conflated "American cheese" with "cheese food." "American cheese" is a category of "pasteurized process cheese." "Pasteurized process cheese food" contains cheese (which may be "American cheese") and one or more of a list of other ingredients. It's all in the FDA document, linked above.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                            This is stupid. Everyone knows what American cheese as a phrase means, and it isn't cheese manufactured in America. Yes, you're technically correct but you're being deliberately obtuse.

                                                                                                                                            It's like my Swiss coworker who wondered WTF Swiss Cheese is when she first came over, as it's not like any cheese she was used to back home.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                              By the way, why do the Greenbay Packers supporters ("Cheese Heads") wear a triangular shaped wedge of cheese that has holes in it like Swiss Cheese?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                                                                                                                It appears to be fashioned in the style of cartoon cheese.

                                                                                                                                      2. it's not cheese. it's "cheese product", and i can't say i care for the stuff. use cheddar, unless the recipe requires a certain kind of (unnatural) melting behavior - in which case, google for recommended subs.

                                                                                                                                        1. Real, American cheese is not Kraft cheese. You only buy it at delis and it's sliced and packaged just like cheddar. They are even priced the same.

                                                                                                                                          It's white in color. It has a milky taste with salty-sour twang. It melts like a dream on cheeseburgers. Actually, you can not get a steak and cheese sub in Boston without tasting American cheese. Unless you specify another type, that's what you will get. And trust me, I'm from Boston and 'ain't nothing better than American cheese on a steak and cheese sub. :)

                                                                                                                                          Processed cheese is much, much cheaper. That's why you see it in the fast food chains.

                                                                                                                                          This is the truth. Do the leg work and you will confirm this. Don't believe we only eat processed cheese. That's not true.

                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: Mshana

                                                                                                                                            Sorry, only partly right. American Cheese is a clearly defined product with a specific legal definition. It is a process cheese. Kraft makes it, as do many other producers. Kraft, along with others, also makes cheaper versions, which are not cheese but are "cheese foods" or "cheese products" or are "slices", and most people confuse these with American Cheese, which is part of the reason American cheese gets a bad rap.

                                                                                                                                            The Kraft version is sold as Kraft Deli Deluxe Slices. If you read the label is says pasteurized process American Cheese. Cheaper versions, made by Kraft or anyone, cannot be called American Cheese but must be called "cheese food" or other names defined in the law as linked earlier in this thread.

                                                                                                                                            You are correct that American cheese is generally not wrapped in individual slices, and the things that are wrapped in individual slices are generally not American cheese. (I believe Kraft Deli Deluxe is sold both ways).

                                                                                                                                            American cheese (process cheese) was developed (in Switzerland) to be a product which would melt without separating, and there really is no good substitute for certain applications such as cheeseburgers, dips, even mac n cheese if one wants the traditional form. Cheddar and other "natural" cheeses don't work well in such applications because they separate when heated.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                              This is accurate, except I disagree with the opinion that there is no good substitute for American cheese on a cheeseburger. Lately, I have been using Tillamook medium white cheddar (sliced) which is not a "processed" cheese, and I find its melting characteristics excellent.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the tip. I will look for it and give it a try. Sounds like it could be a very good cheeseburger cheese.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                  I agree. Actually, many cheeses are great for cheeseburgers, because they don't get heated enough when melted on a cheeseburger to separate.

                                                                                                                                                  Cheddar, Gouda, Swiss...all great on burgers.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                    The thing with American cheese and burgers isn't just at it doesn't separate but how it melts. Nothing oozes into all the pores of the meat quite like it

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                      That's true. Not necessary, but interesting.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: johnb

                                                                                                                                                  I don't know if that's true! I read somewhere the actual recipe for Macaroni and Cheese was developed by none other than our Thomas Jefferson, who I'm going to bet every hat in the world did not use Kraft Cheese! LOL

                                                                                                                                                  People use it now, but there is an even better recipe for mac and cheese that uses, real American, deli cheese. It is as follows:

                                                                                                                                                  You melt the cheese along with the butter and milk, make a sauce. Add dried mustard, paprika and good quality, garlic powder.

                                                                                                                                                  Then you layer it like a lasagna, using for the layers sliced scallions and cooked and crumbled, bacon. Or, if vegetarian, broccoli and onion, etc. Reserve some American cheese and bread crumbs for the top. When the casserole is done, sprinkle both over the top with a few dots of butter and broil until top is crisp and golden brown.

                                                                                                                                                  That's always a hit and there is nothing processed about it.

                                                                                                                                                  In terms of processed cheese, you are right. All that is correct, but only if you actually buy that stuff - in any form - and a lot of people just don't. It's "frowned" on. Grrgghh.. :)

                                                                                                                                              2. I don't understand the obsession with american cheese.... Number one it isn't CHEESE... it's a dyed, processed, gooey milk fat glob of nastiness that only wishes it actually tasted like cheese. It isn't even American!!! It was invented in Switzerland and basically stolen and patented as "American" cheese by Kraft.

                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Patricia1985

                                                                                                                                                  This is inaccurate in several respects. In the first place, hardly anybody is "obsessed" with it. In the second place, "pasteurized process cheese" (ppc) is made from actual cheese. "American" cheese is a type of ppc which must be made from particular cheeses. The content of "American" cheese is set by US federal regulation.

                                                                                                                                                  The process was invented in Switzerland, but a similar process was separately developed in the US. Kraft has some patents, as do others, on various aspects of the process. Kraft is not the only producer of ppc and there are even European makers.


                                                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                                                    darn, here i was hoping we could blame switzerland...