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That stuff in the green can?

Fess up, how many of you have the "green can" of Parmesan wannabe in the fridge?

I always have a couple of lbs of grated Parm in the freezer. But spaghetti and pizza MUST be sprinkled liberally with the green can!

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  1. I don't buy the green can, but I do purchase a grated parmesan from Costco that is a couple of steps up from the green can. I don't use it when I want the real deal, but it has its uses. It makes excellent and reasonably priced frico chips, for instance, and is good added to melty things that need a bit of perking up. It's fine on pizza, too. Costs about the same as the green can but much better quality, IMO.

    4 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      Ditto, only I buy mine at Trader Joe's. Beats the heck out of Dust (which is what I've called the green can stuff, since I was a kid).

      1. re: MsMaryMc

        Lol, I buy the green can at Trader Joe 's.

        1. re: MsMaryMc

          We called it cheese dandruff, and I still eat it about twice a year because it's a key part of Mom's tuna casserole.

          1. re: beachmouse

            Cheese dandruff is a good name. I believe the difference between that and grating your own is that they add cornstarch or something like that to most pregrated (whether green can or plastic container), to keep it from sticking together. No thank you!

        1. I grew up with the stuff, but the only time I use it now is when making the Chef B Pizza Kit. It comes with Chef B's version of Green Can Parm.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            I think Chef B's is romano (pecorino in current terms) - loved that box mix growing up.

            1. re: sandylc

              You're probably right. Either way, it works eerily well with that sauce and crust.

          2. Yup - nearly always have the "green can" on hand - usually "low-fat green can", which hubby likes - for takeout pizza sprinkling.

            Also have bags of pre-shredded Parmesan & Asiago on hand at all times - great for sprinkling on salads, soups, weekday pasta, etc.

            And for special applications - always a nice hunk of the real stuff.

            1. Yes, usually always have it on hand. As well as a chunk of asiago, parmesan, or romano. I believe it has to do with some nostalgia, bringing back a certain taste from childhood... yes, CB pizza kits!! I don't use the kits anymore, but just thinking about it brings back the smell, and it's a good one!

              2 Replies
              1. re: wyogal

                I tried one a few months ago when hubby was out of town. It was so disappointing compared to my memories!!! Sometimes you can't go back.

                1. re: sandylc

                  hahaha! Yes, and for that reason I haven't attempted to go back! Memories are sometimes best!
                  So now, I settle for the stuff in the green can sprinkled on Totinos! (although I can and do make kick a$$ homemade pizza!)

              2. The last one I bought (at Safeway in SF) was green and blue, not a cardboard can but a plastic can, containing Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese, all finely grated. Has served us well in the five months we have had it.

                1. I will never, ever have the green sawdust in my house. I normally try to have real Reggiano on hand, failing that I will accept Grana Padano as the only substitute. Of course there are plenty of other acceptable cheeses, (Pecorino, Ricotta Silata, Bufala, etc) but never, ever the green can for me.

                  1. The green can stuff has a nasty smell and nastier flavor. I know because I was raised on it. Even if your only alternative is some bulk grated domestic parmesan or romano, it's a better choice. If the cost of real parmiggiano reggiano puts you off, look for real Italian pecorino romano. It's much cheaper and quite wonderful. It's saltier, too, so take that into account. Italian grating cheeses, grated or in wedges, are in themselves a good reason to join Costco, as far as I'm concerned.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: emu48

                      So agree. Grew up with it but it's nasty

                    2. Trader Joe's does have excellent grated parmesean blends.

                      When I have the time I buy a piece of parmesean and grate it myself using my cuisinart, it only takes seconds..it is amazing how inexpensive grated cheese is when you dyi!

                      1. A word of advice to all who like the stuff in the green can - think twice before trying the real thing.

                        Prior to a visiting relative insisting on my trying freshly grated, I had been perfectly content for decades with the green can that I had been raised on - now (and I really tried) I just can't go back to the green can for anything remotely Italian. A time machine would be really nice so I could have a do over on that one.

                        I am considering trying to use the green can stuff for some kind of popcorn topping, but I think the odds are pretty good that I won't come up with anything I'll like.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                          Precisely the reason I will no longer ever have it in my house :P

                          1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                            I have a hunk of real parm/reg that I bought in Rome in my fridge NEXT TO the green can. Obviously I use them for different things, but they're apples and oranges. I like a half pound burger made of grass-fed ground sirloin grilled to perfection on a toasted homemade bun, and I also like Whoppers. I don't try to compare them to each other.

                            Trader Joe's green can is better than most other green cans though.

                            1. re: NonnieMuss

                              Well, anyone who toasts their burger bun doesn't know what they're talking about. -
                              JUST KIDDING - Thanks for the tip, I'll check out TJ's version next time I'm there.

                          2. nasty fake canned "cheese". Haven't had it since I was a kid. sawdust and floor sweepings. I use Locatelli pecorino romano if I don't have the time to run solid Italian pecorino romano (usually Locatelli as well) through the food processor. I found out the other day Locatelli has been in business for over 500 years.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: JMF

                              Amen to that! Should have read your post before I wrote anything. Locatelli all the way.

                            2. Sorry. I refuse to buy that. I'll spend the money for a big wedge of Locatelli anytime.

                              1. I usually use the real stuff, but the green can is good for pizza and awesome for something my Gram used to make for me -- hot dog buns spread with butter, sprinkled (heavily) with parm, and put under the broiler or in the toaster oven until bubbly and starting to brown. This is really sooooo good.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: juster

                                  Yes, that is good. My mom used to do this, although she also sprinkled some garlic powder in there.

                                2. "But spaghetti and pizza MUST be sprinkled liberally with the green can!"

                                  Why??? Having been raised in a traditional Italian American family, we always had fresh cheese on hand and NEVER had the Kraft green can. I have never, ever knowingly tasted the stuff.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: ttoommyy

                                    There's no need to act so incredulous. I was brought up near the Missouri-Arkansas border where the green can "stuff" was the only kind of Parmesan cheese we knew. I buy it now because it reminds me of dinners with my mom, and will continue to do so irregardless of the number of noses in the air about it.

                                    1. re: Samalicious

                                      Sorry Sam, but my response was to the OP which is why I inserted a quote from her post: "But spaghetti and pizza MUST be sprinkled liberally with the green can!" It was not directed at you at all.

                                      1. re: Samalicious

                                        I get that, but I am fortunate enough to have been able to convert my mother to real Reggiano and now I have the fond memory of her banning my father from buying the green can.

                                    2. Ounce for ounce, it's cheaper to get better pregrated cheese at Trader Joe's than to buy the sawdust in the green can.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        I don't use enough of it to worry about the price comparison, and if it was sawdust I wouldn't eat it.
                                        Does it sound like I am defensive about my green can? I am! ;)

                                        1. re: Samalicious

                                          I'm with you Sam, memories of our family 40 years ago,spagghetti, salad, garlic bread and the big green can. "pass the cheese" "pass the cheese" back and forth.

                                      2. I do have to own up to buying Parmesan and similar cheeses already grated. My favorite is the fresh-grated Parmesan-Romano blend from DeLaurenti's at Pike Place Market, but Trader Joe's has some that's respectable, and in a pinch, just about any good grocery store version will do. I tried buying a hand-cranked Parmesan grater and doing my own, on-demand, but gave that up after a few weeks--just too much of a tedious pain to use regularly. I go to some extremes in the pursuit of great chow, but I have my limits!

                                        9 Replies
                                        1. re: MsMaryMc

                                          No need to use one of those megalithic cheese-cranks. I've got a mini-grater (probably three inches long) that I keep at my table for grating fresh parm, romano, etc. Easy as pie.

                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                            I just throw a hunk in the food processor and use the main blade. Let it run for a few minutes. I go through a lot of pecorino romano... As for Parmesan, I prefer to eat 18-24 month plain more than on food.

                                            1. re: JMF

                                              You have a sturdier food processor than I do, then! I'm pretty sure mine wouldn't hold up long to this. And I have yet to find a hand grater that would produce an adequate quantity of grated hard cheese in an acceptable amount of time and effort--especially when I need a lot of it for a recipe. YMMV, as always--but I'll be buying mine fresh grated. It gives me a great excuse to go down to Pike Place Market!

                                              1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                Actually I should have said I first cut the hunk into 1 inch chunks before putting in the Cuisinart food processor.

                                                1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                  If you can get your hands on a Salad Shooter, grab it and give it a try. A friend gave me hers when she moved, and cheese is all I use it for.l

                                                  1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                    Going off on a tangent. I miss Pike Place Market. There was a place that had this herb and orange tea. Made with orange oils.Intense. Also a Asian bakery across the street with the best buns filled with BBQ and other meats. A chicken mushroom one in brown gravy was my fav. Wow, that was around 18 years ago. Also Larry's Market, the one in Green Lake, was amazing.

                                                    1. re: JMF

                                                      I haven't been up there in a few years, but that Chinese bakery was still there, selling various baos and mooncakes.

                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                        Market Spice is still there with the cinnamon orange tea, as is Mee Sum Pastry (my fav is the curried beef hom bao). But Larry's Markets is no more--they went broke. I miss them, too!

                                                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                    What converted me to always grating my own as needed was getting a microplane grater (as discussed here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/373268). They retail at fancy places for about $15 but you can find them cheaper.

                                                2. My parents always had the green can on hand when I was growing up, and that's what they continue to use to this day.

                                                  Imagine my surprise when I moved away and started cooking on my own. Real parmigiano was a total revelation for me. Now, I stock my kitchen exclusively with blocks of real parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino-romano and grana padano cut from wheels by my favorite local cheesemonger.

                                                  Nevertheless, whenever I am visiting my parents and a dish will be enhanced by a parmigiano-style cheese, I will still reach for their ubiquitous green can. It is nothing like the real stuff, but, maybe due to nostalgia, I find the green can passable in a pinch.

                                                  1. Although some people don't like it, it really is cheese, it's not "fake" cheese. It may not be in the form you desire, but it is cheese. Yes, there is cellulose powder added, but for stated reasons.
                                                    Ingredients:
                                                    Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Cellulose Powder to Prevent Caking, Potassium Sorbate to Protect Flavor.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                      And what they don't say on the label, pre-stale and pre-dried out to remove any semblance of flavor.

                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                        It is what it is.... but it is cheese. Yes, different from grating your own.

                                                        1. re: JMF

                                                          Oh please. It most certainly has flavor. You may not like it, but flavor it does have.

                                                      2. The Trader Joe's Green Can is in the house here. It works best in a slightly altered Mr. Food [Yeah, Mr. Food. Sue me.] recipe for lightly baked chicken breasts with a chunked tomato sauce. Heat fresh chunked or canned tomatoes, basil, and some Green Can until thickened - add to the chicken after it bakes for 20 minutes or so. Bake 5-10 minutes longer. I bake just enough to make the tomato/green can stuff sizzle. Serve over orzo. It is not a summer recipe. But is sure is comforting in February.

                                                        Green Can also goes into meatloaf once in a while. But there is usually a wedge of 'real' parm waiting to be grated, or a small container of grated parm around - and that works just fine as well.

                                                        1. Honestly, I've bought the trader joes green kind when they were out of the freshly grated variety, there is nothing wrong with it, we ate it, although I just never usually buy it. I would most surely have the green can than nothing at all!

                                                          1. I have a non-dairy variety of "green can" Parm in my fridge, for use in recipes. DH prefers a little grate of the real deal on his pasta so we usually have a little wedge as well.

                                                            1. Let me first state that I buy blueberry Pop Tarts, deli American cheese and Bush's canned baked beans. I am no food snob!

                                                              But the green can has no place in our house. I don't like that texture, and I enjoy taking 60 seconds to grate a pile of Locatelli or Gran Padano into a little ramekin for sprinkling.

                                                              1. Oh come on guys!!!

                                                                Those of you who are true food snobs know who you are& can just leave this thread before your noses get truly out of joint.

                                                                This is just a fun thread for those of us who enjoy food in all its intricacies - which include "green can cheese". If you can't enjoy it or just the fun memories of it, don't continue reading or posting on this thread. No one is interested in your bashing.

                                                                Good grief!!

                                                                1. Wow.
                                                                  I never expected the "food snobbery" to be so high on this one.

                                                                  I keep the green can in the fridge and I'm damn proud of it.
                                                                  Just like any food , it has it's place for certain dishes and items. For me, pizza is sometimes one of them.

                                                                  I also keep Italian parn, romano, asiago and cotija cheese in fresh chunk form and grate as necessary.

                                                                  Each has it's own taste and use.
                                                                  I do though refuse to each the rough grated pre-grated parm that comes in the sealed clear deli tubs. Awful mouth-feel to me and pokes like a porcupine. I don't like my cheese to go crunch thank-you-very-much.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                                    When I buy the pre-ground Locatelli Romano at my local supermarkets it has always been soft, fluffy, and moist. But some other brands are like you describe. It must be stale or inferior crud, or something.

                                                                  2. I just think of it as mildly funky salt, and use accordingly. I have the good stuff for grating over pasta, but green can shake cheese on popcorn is pretty good late at night.

                                                                    1. Haven't done the green can specifically in 20+ years, but have been known to buy the pre-grated bags/tubs at the market when I've needed a whole lot of grated parm for a large recipe.

                                                                      1. green can-not right now, but extra large jar of an Italian brand in the fridge, yep.