Do You Like American Cheese?

I loathe American cheese.

I’ve always disliked it. Even as a kid, on the rare occasion when we went to Burger King, I would get a hamburger when my sister and friends got cheeseburgers. There was just something inherently fake tasting about the cheese that I couldn’t stand, even when I had the unrefined palette of a 6-year-old.

As an adult, I avoid American cheese at all costs, scraping it off of burgers if it ever ends up there. As much as I enjoy seeing the daily specials at Hi Point Drive In, it’s a total turnoff if American cheese is featured.

What baffles me is that American cheese isn’t just something that kids and fast-food restaurants slap on their burgers. It’s somehow also a foodie thing. On a recent episode of Top Chef, an acclaimed chef stuffed her burger with American cheese. She had access to white cheddar, brie, pepperjack…anything she wanted. She chose American cheese.

On top of all this, is this really the cheese that America wants to be named after? Couldn’t we have selected a more refined, delicious, but still down-to-earth cheese?

I know a lot of people out there like American cheese. If you’re one of them, do you also like provel and velveeta, which I would put in the same category? I promise not to judge too much.


12 Responses to “Do You Like American Cheese?”

  1. dmvp says:

    American cheese or Velveeta is the only way to make a grilled cheese sandwich IMO, so in that respect I like them. I also use it to make homemade mac & cheese for the creaminess, but I also use some Colby or Cheddar to add more flavor. I’ve never liked cheeseburgers. The first time we were at Geekway to the West we were told of an amazing pizza place. Well, that place used Provel cheese, something I’ve NEVER heard of, and it was the most disgusting pizza I’ve ever had! If I’m going to eat cheese and crackers, it’s usually Colby or Cheddar that I use. So IMO American cheese/Velveeta has it’s place, but it’s not my fav.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Oh no, Denise…I’m so sorry someone recommended St. Louis-style pizza to you! They should know better. It’s the kind of pizza that people only like if they grew up eating it.

  2. Sean says:

    So While I prefer Swiss taste on burgers, still like the American Style cheese, or What is basically Velvetta in a thin sheet. I don’t buy any cheese slices, but at the same time prefer cheesy burgers from five guys or burger king over non cheesy.

    If you want to make any cheese American/Velveeta style so it melts well. Try these recipes. They taste WAY better, and can use any combo of cheese you want to do it. Velveeta actually does use Sodium Citrate, and it can be bought at some food stores, and from Amazon.

    https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Perfectly-Melting-Cheese-Slice
    https://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/melty-queso-dip/

  3. Stephen says:

    Is ‘American cheese’ those thin plastic looking cheese slices? If so… Hell no, The texture’s just… Wrong. (Though I can tolerate it when melted, such as in a cheeseburger – though the one I had last night was with a blue cheese though I forget which – so that’s more of a ‘no’ than a ‘hell no’ for me)

  4. Erin H. says:

    Could not agree more.

  5. Kyle Mueller says:

    As a Canadian who once spent two years living in the US, I was totally amazed to learn that it was even called American Cheese. In Canada it’s called processed cheese, or processed cheddar. I think that name fits it perfectly – processed. I’ve actually made the same comment as you did in your post – who would want that particular variety to be the “cheese” their nation is known for?

    I love a huge variety of cheeses, and I love cheese on burgers. But I’m in the same boat as you, if it’s processed cheese I would much prefer to go without.

  6. LOL! I am a lover of most cheese… but American (or processed as we Canadians call it) is a once a year thing. I tease my kids and say they can have the orange plastic cheese, or the clear plastic around it, for the same nutritional value πŸ˜‰

    My little brother worked in a nice cheese shop in Toronto for years and developed quiet the palate and knowledge base of cheese (it’s awesome when he brings a cheese platter to a gathering). Last year he actually ran a Kickstarter for his student film about illegal cheese making (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/937685337/the-manitoba-cheese-run/posts/2091382) and with the funding made this great short film: https://youtu.be/EBK0qW6sm2g.

    As our reward level he came over and did a cheese tasting presentation for me, my wife and another couple. It was DELICIOUS! Weird enough, he did not bring American cheese πŸ˜‰

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s awesome! And I agree–no one is ever going to show off American cheese at a cheese tasting. I think that’s a pretty good sign of the level of quality.

  7. Xyon McKell says:

    What you’re associating with American cheese (the stuff they slap on fast food burgers and the “plasticy” cheese common in grocery aisles) is very different from what you’ll get if you go to the deli counter and ask for American cheese (the latter of which is what I’d guess she served in that burger). I’m not saying you’ll necessarily like “real” American cheese, but it’s worlds different (and better) than what you’re imagining.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Xyon: That’s good to know! Though I can’t see it beating more high quality cheeses when I order a deli sandwich. πŸ™‚

  8. paschott says:

    I actually do like American Cheese on my burger. Velveeta – sometimes, but mostly in dips or possibly for really, really easy mac & cheese. Had to look up Provel as I wasn’t familiar w/ the term.

    I thought this article about American Process Cheese was interesting – https://www.seriouseats.com/2016/07/whats-really-in-american-cheese.html and I know Good Eats touched on it at least once in its run. It’s not for everything, but has its place. I wouldn’t like it on a pizza or in mac & cheese or even on a potato, but for a grilled cheese sandwich or on a burger, it’s fine. I’d also say that I have an unrefined palate, though. πŸ˜€

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