And the {Real} Cheese Stands Alone

I was selected to participate in the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s program for Sargento Natural Cheeses.  So, yesterday, I picked up some Sargento cheese (Sharp Cheddar and Colby-Pepperjack) and fixin’s, and headed over to my mom’s to participate in a little foodie fun.  And by fun – I mean eating.

It should come as no surprise I love cheese.  But, I’m not a cheese snob.  In fact, I’ll readily admit that my sister and I ate American processed cheese slices in our sandwiches until college-age and loved every minute of it.  It wasn’t until college and I did my own shopping and label reading that I switched over to other options – like cheddar, which I used to think American was – but is clearly not.

So, when Sargento asked us to make a comparison to American processed cheese, I was ready for this challenge.  My mom and sister didn’t know anything about it.  Binks, a cheese fan, was more than ready to participate in the middle of his P90X routine.

I introduce to you the most pathetic looking cheese plate I have ever seen.

Let me introduce the contenders.

In the top row we have our usual: (left to right) 1. Name Brand American Cheese (White), 2.  Grocery Store Brand American Cheese (White), and 3.  Name Brand American Cheese (Yellow).  I always ask what the difference is between white and yellow American and no deli person has ever given me an answer.  

In the bottom row we have the newbies: (left to right/two slices each) 1. Sargento Natural Sharp Cheddar and 2.  Sargento Natural Colby-Pepperjack.

On the side we have rice crackers and grapes (my pregnant-lady substitute for red wine – again, pathetic, excuse me).

We started in the order listed above and 3 out of 4 of us agreed on a winner between the top row and the bottom row.  This is what we had to say about each:

1.  Name Brand American (White)

Can I note that Binks bent this a lot and it took a while for it to actually break.  We had to actually rip it like cloth – not the nicest way to describe cheese.

–  Me:  Bland, but the taste is very familiar and almost nostalgic.
–  Binks:  There is no real taste.  I hate it.
–  Sister:  I like it.  Tastes creamy.  Oh wait, that’s just sweaty.  But, I like it.
–  Mom:  It’s okay, not great.

2.  Grocery Store American (White)

–  Me:  Has a stronger taste than No. 1 but still doesn’t taste like anything.
–  Binks:   It has a stronger taste, but still bland.
–  Sister:  It’s creamy/sweaty and stronger, which I like.  This tastes really familiar.
–  Mom:  It’s okay.  Not great.  Better than No. 1.

3.  Name Brand American (Yellow)

– Me:  Tastes just like No. 1
–  Binks:  Tastes like No. 1
–  Sister:  It’s sweaty and bland like No. 1
–  Mom:   The cheese is not good.  I don’t want to eat anymore cheese.

4.  Sargento Natural Sharp Cheddar

Notice the folding difference.

– Me:  It tastes like cheese.  Tastes like actual cheddar cheese.  Great texture.
–  Binks:  My favorite.  Tastes the best.
–  Sister:  I don’t know.  It has a sharp taste to it.  It tastes like something.  Binks:  Cheddar?  Sister:  Yeah!  It tastes like cheddar.
–  Mom:  I like it.

5.  Sargento Natural Colby-Pepperjack

–  Me:  Spicy and creamy – love it.
–  Binks:  I don’t usually like pepperjack but I could eat this one.
–  Sister:  It tastes like something.  Binks:  Cheese?  Sister:  Yeah, plus something.  Binks:  Pepper?  Sister:  Yeah!  It’s fresh tasting.
–  Mom:  This is my favorite.

Why did I tell you all of this other than to waste minutes from your life?  Well, let me tell you.  Binks and I were in complete agreement.  My mom was busy tasting and saying how she can’t eat anymore cheese to really be included in my serious count.  My sister threw the whole thing off.  She kept insisting on the American cheese.  I didn’t understand but I figured she’s entitled to her opinion.  She definitely didn’t get the foodie part of my dad.

Then, after a couple of hours, she comes to me and says:  “You know, the American cheese reminds me of school and all the sandwiches that were prepared for us by mom and dad.  I don’t think I generally like the taste as much as it reminds me of being a kid.  I could eat this (American cheese) all day mindlessly.  The others actually taste like something, which I’m not used to.

I would be lying if I didn’t have the look of “What the hell are you talking about?!” on your face.

Either way – she gave me some kind of conclusion, which is this:  A lot of times we eat just because we want to eat or are familiar with something, and sometimes we forget that food should taste like something natural in this world.

My poor sister – she needs some serious cheese education.  Because my friends, cheese should have a taste, right?!  It should taste sharp and like cheese – not a random taste with creamy (even ignoring the sweaty) as the only saving grace.

So, the results of this match:

Sargento Sharp Cheddar – total winner for everyday use.

Sargento Colby Pepperjack – my favorite for spicy snacking.

American – Total cheese fail for everyone except my sister, who didn’t know that cheese should taste like something.

Are you an American cheese fan?  Did you grow up with it?  Still eat it?  Have you made the switch? To what?


Filed under Appetizers, Uncategorized

3 responses to “And the {Real} Cheese Stands Alone

  1. I keep seeing these Sargento posts and am all WTF how did I miss out on the cheese loving??? I love American processed cheese as I believe all cheese is created equal.

    So…..I’m in Italy and every now and then we will pass a McD’s and I think of you and the Binks man wondering if you all have been here and tried the Big Mac since thats what he orders in every country yes? Hope you are doing well…..

    • We did go to the McDonald’s in Italy to eat a Big Mac! Well he did anyway. In fact, I was so irritated (this was the first time I found out about this ‘tradition’) that I refused to eat there and wanted my ‘last meal’ in Italy to be really authentic. So, yes, he did eat and probably didn’t ‘enjoy’ it as much with me giving him the death stares.

      I concentrated more on my daily gelato – which you should be too!

  2. I’ve been trying different cheeses for the last year! I grew up on the big block of WIC american cheese…which to me tastes totally different from any of the single wrapped american slices. I do love a simple grilled cheese with american (the 100% processed kind) when I need a quick comfort food.
    In related cheese news, I attempted three new cheeses this past month. Two were french and one was a welsh cheddar. The cheddar was bitey, if that makes sense. One of the french ones – Raclette – tasted like feet and I had to toss the whole wedge. The other was Chaumes and it was closer to a Brie but still not in my comfort zone. I think I’ll stick to Brie and Cantal with some English cheddar and mango-ginger Stilton thrown in there. At least I know they don’t taste like sweaty socks.

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