Tuesday, January 31, 2006

So good I'm naming my next cat after it...

I'm going to live a long time, and you know why? Because I ate a lot of Velveeta growing up. That's not an easy thing to admit in these times, because Velveeta belongs to that strange group of foods that aren't really food at all. They're FOOD PRODUCTS. Here's a partial list:

Underwood Deviled Ham (Not really ham, is it?)

Vienna Sausages (Not made anywhere near Vienna and not really sausage. Just sausage-shaped)

Jello-O (I always heard it was made out of horse's hooves, but that could just be an urban myth. Still, my fingernails do feel nice and strong after I've had a bowl.)

Bologna (I read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle". Processed pig and cow knuckles aren't exactly filet mignon)

Spam (You don't even want to know)

I thought about adding Chicken McNuggets to the list since McDonald's new campaign ("NOW MADE WITH REAL CHICKEN!!") would seem to suggest that, back in the day, my kids were eating something else entirely, but you can't get McNuggets at the grocery store, so I'm not counting them.

Admitting you eat something with a shelf life that exceeds the time it takes a Croc
to decompose at the city dump is like admitting you secretly sample Gravy Train when your dog's not looking. It's shameful...and just a little sad. There's no defense for me...I mean....look at it! It's a BIG. BRICK. OF. PROCESSED CHEESE-SOMETHING. It looks like what you'd get if you microwaved an old yellow raincoat and galoshes. And it smells a little funny, too. Not exactly like a dairy product and not excacly like a piece of burning tupperware...but somewhere in-between.

But I grew up in a family of hardcore foodies who watch the cooking shows, collect recipes, read Martha Stewart like Hugh Hefner reads the Kama Sutra, and they know the floorplan to Central Market like the holdup man with a blueprint of the First National Bank. They eat Velveeta too. We're not Italian, so no one said anything when we ate it melted over our spaghetti.

I could blame my family of origin (Mr. Half and the boys won't touch it), but I choose to believe they set this example out of love. With the kinds of perservatives one finds in a single block of Velveeta, there's no telling how long I'll be around. So far, I'm really a fantastically healthy person. Plus the yellow dye's effect on my skin helps me get a head start every year on my golden tan. What's not to love?


Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

I was raised on Velveeta "cheese." I recently emailed them to find out if it has any aged cheddar in it, as I think that ingredient is a migraine trigger for me. This was the response:

Hi Mrs. Harridan,

Thank you for visiting http://www.kraftfoods.com/.

All Velveeta loaf products are created from a cheese base that is made of a variety of Cheddar cheeses that vary in their age to produce the standard Velveeta taste.

If you haven't done so already, please add our site to your favorites and visit us again soon!

God, but those Kraft folk are cheerful.

10:59 AM  
Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

All Velveeta loaf products? Even Kraft isn't calling it cheese!

Excuse me, I have to go make myself a grilled loaf product sandwich now...

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Spamboy said...

Spam is ambrosia and nectar in cubed form!

11:31 AM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

I used to eat Spam, too...er...Spamboy. Now it just looks like ground pigsnouts in aspic.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Once a Year, I get a hardcore craving for Chef Boyardee Ravioli.

Like crack in a can. Then it makes me sicker than a dog.

11:45 AM  
Blogger mE said...

"cheese base" - hee!

I wouldn't eat Velveeta itself on a bet, but must admit that my mom's wonderful Tuna Hotdish (always eaten with hot homemade blueberry muffins) *has* to be made with Velveeta... any other cheese would not melt correctly and would give off too much grease. There are *some* things that just won't work with anything else. That said, I have my mom's Tuna Hotdish maybe twice a year, at her house. And the other things that require Velveeta... well, I have them Never, and don't really miss them.

'Hotdish' - Yeah, I'm from Minnesota!

12:20 PM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

You know what I've always found really disgusting? That lunch meat with the macaroni in it. You know the kind I'm talking about? Meat with orange bits in it?

12:21 PM  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

I, too was raised on Velveeta. My MIL actually makes fudge with it. Best. Fudge. Ever.

I'm dead serious.

12:26 PM  
Blogger mrtl said...

Funny, I just put this on my shopping list. Making queso!

12:35 PM  
Anonymous TB said...

I think all the preservative in the Velveeta will indeed keep you alive and looking fresh for a very long time.

And for some reason, the word "loaf" makes me giggle.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Shrinking Violet said...

And on the Eighth day, God's favorite scientist created Velveeta, and God chuckled and said "that's good, but don't tell anybody I said so!"

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Hänni said...

I'm not a fan of processed cheese product. If I'm going to get myself all constipated, then by God, I'm gonna do it with Tilamook!

7:36 PM  
Blogger The Queen Mama said...

Mmmm...cheese loaf...Rotel...tortilla chips...must go make snack now.

7:37 PM  
Blogger Suburban Turmoil said...

I have seriously been contemplating making a recipe from my mom's personal 1970s era cookbook that contains a "large hunk of Velveeta." It just seemed like such a novelty.
I also make sour cream meatballs for my husband occasionally that contain SPAM! The real Spam! Not the e-mail! It's from a recipe his mom made back in the, you guessed it, 1970s!
What was it about this decade and processed food?

8:06 PM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

Don't go dissin' my Velveeta. God, you are giving me a craving with all the food talk!

And those little sausages are NOT from Vienna?? That was foreign food night at my house!

4:45 AM  
Blogger Arabella said...

VELVEETA MELTED OVER SPAGHETTI??? Say it isn't so, Wordgirl. You're breaking my heart!

That said, I, the Italian food snob, confess to a fondness for Easy Cheese...just NEVER ANYWHERE NEAR ITALIAN FOOD.

5:36 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

The Queen Mama said it first and I second it: Melt it, throw in the Ro-Tel, and pass the chips. Ooh baby. And people that add Jimmy Dean sausage to the mix are sumthin!

That said, the Velveeta over the spaghetti is where everything goes wrong...

6:30 AM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

Full disclosure: I don't eat it on Spaghetti anymore. In my house, we either do the Permesan thing or Mozzarella.

6:48 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

LMAO Mrs. Harridan! Maybe they're so cheerful because of all the dyes and drugs in the cheese. They probably have a free buffet for the employees at lunch. "Eat the cheese and be happy!"

Spam grosses me out. Meat-in-a-can in general gives me the willies.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

What about the yellow Hostess confection product. What are they called??
Yellow Squishy Cake-like Product with Something Approximating Whipped Cream Filling.

Is that it?

I remember gagging on those at a swim meet when I was 7.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Melanhead said...

You forgot to add the Pork Rinds to the list!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Katherine said...

Why is it that all the "not real" food taste so damn good! Not fair.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

I never found love for Velveeta. However, I eat mac and cheese like it is crack and that has powdered cheese. Now, what do you suppose that really is made from?

8:18 PM  
Anonymous paige said...

Yeah, gelatin comes from hide, hoof and bone extraction. Not always horses, but yeah. Gelatin.

6:23 AM  
Blogger reeser said...

Old Knorr gelatin magazine ads used to extol the convenience of the little ready-to-dissolve envelopes. Apparently, housewives used to spend all day in the kitchen boiling down cartilage from pork and beef to make homemade gelatin.

I just had Velveeta loaf for the first time ever! (I'm 30 years old) Just made a pot of mac and cheese with it. I think it's making me sick.

1:51 PM  

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