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Mmm...sixty-four slices of American cheese.
September 19, 2011 10:44 AM   Subscribe

By now we all know how to pimp our grilled cheese sandwiches, but maybe that's just not your style. Maybe you're like me, and enjoy the simple pleasure of a melts-just-right Kraft Single, but don't like the long list of unpronounceable ingredients. Well, today is your lucky day: America's Test Kitchen comes up with a recipe for DIY American Cheese.
posted by phunniemee (163 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is this the thread where we make all those oral sex innuendos?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:47 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


water [...] powdered gelatin [...] Colby cheese [...] whole milk powder [...] salt [...] cream of tartar [...] whole milk

Is this the thread where we make all those oral sex innuendos?

What fresh culinary-nightmare fuel is this?
posted by mhoye at 10:50 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


See also: The Burger Lab: How To Make Any Cheese Melt Like American (Almost). You should, however, ignore the lies he tells about Ted's.
posted by zamboni at 10:52 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Little known fact: cheddar cheese can actually make a toasted cheese sandwich.
posted by DU at 10:55 AM on September 19, 2011 [12 favorites]


Maybe you're like me, and enjoy the simple pleasure of a melts-just-right Kraft Single

Burn, heretic. So-called "American" cheese is the worst kind of cheese, and those who disagree are a threat to our children and our way of live.
posted by jcreigh at 10:55 AM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Wow, that pimp our grilled cheese thread is old school. Artisanal ingredients and high maintenance foods are pretty recherché in an era with so many people just scraping by. It is all about low-fi foods now. Grilled mac and cheese is the new shit, made with kraft dinner and Grupo Bimbo bread, avalable for 99 cents per family sized loaf.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]



Little known fact: cheddar cheese can actually make a toasted cheese sandwich.


What.
posted by curious nu at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2011


Is this for yuppies whose local Wholefoods/Coop/Farmers market don't stock American Cheese? Very strange. It's whole charm is it's super processed nature, taking unprocessed raw materials and hyper-processing seems like alot of work for something easily bought at the grocery.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:56 AM on September 19, 2011


While the gelatin softens, grate the Colby cheese. I tried cheddar, but its flavor was a bit too strong for American cheese.

And this is where they lost me. Granted, American "cheese" is not my favorite thing, but I could probably understand eating it were it something that had a strong distinct flavor. To me asking for American cheese is like asking for salty orange goo. I mean....Why?
posted by Hoopo at 10:58 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


With all the added liquid, this looks like nothing so much as those "home economy" recipes from the depression for whipping water into butter. Colby is one of the least costly cheeses in North America to start with. Adding gelatin and water (and salt) as a stretcher reduces the price even further.
posted by bonehead at 10:58 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


What fresh culinary-nightmare fuel is this?

This kind. Goes well with chops from Arnie Plo's Meat Market.
posted by zamboni at 10:58 AM on September 19, 2011


If you've never cooked pickle slices into your grilled cheese, you are missing out, people.
posted by griphus at 11:00 AM on September 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wow, that pimp our grilled cheese thread is old school.

It's 2 months old.
posted by DU at 11:00 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


To me asking for American cheese is like asking for salty orange goo. I mean....Why?

Sometimes, artificial cheese is just what you want, you know? I've eaten the real-deal macaroni-and-cheese now, but sometimes the fluorescent-orange powdered crap stirred into noodles is just what I want.

this is the same thing.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:02 AM on September 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


even just slapped on a plate and microwaved until it’s nice and gooey

Holy shit, and I thought I ate embarrassing shit when the cupboards are bare / I am really stoned.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:02 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


A) Whizzing a nice colby cheese with some gelatin in order to make American cheese just so you can say you made American cheese is like deconstructing a really nice bathroom in a really nice house in order to make an outhouse just so you can say you made an outhouse.

B) Don't ever sign up for an ATK/Cook's Illustrated online subscription unless you're interested in the minutiae of Christoper Kimball's boring, bowtied existence in Vermont.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:04 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]



Little known fact: cheddar cheese can actually make a toasted cheese sandwich.

This is certainly true. But it is inferior in every way.

When I was a kid, winter brought layoffs, which meant government (cheddar) cheese. Spring meant the mines were hiring again, and that meant actual non-welfare grilled cheese sandwiches for us kids. The hog, it was high, and we were living on it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:07 AM on September 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


Why has no one come into this thread cheering "USA, USA, USA!"

...

USA, USA, USA!!!
posted by hal_c_on at 11:08 AM on September 19, 2011


You guys are nuts, go get yourselves some Boars Head American Cheese.

It's 2 months old.


How quickly things change, remember last month when everyone was making kobe sliders? ahh memories. I am waiting for savory songbird pies to come back into fashion, I've always wanted to eat a lark.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:08 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought I ate embarrassing shit when the cupboards are bare

mustard sammiches forever!
posted by elizardbits at 11:10 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've eaten the real-deal macaroni-and-cheese now, but sometimes the fluorescent-orange powdered crap stirred into noodles is just what I want.

touche...in fact, with lunch approaching that mac & cheese sandwich linked upthread looks pretty amazing.
posted by Hoopo at 11:10 AM on September 19, 2011


America's Test Kitchen sure takes the charm out of cooking sometimes.
posted by swift at 11:10 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not usually a fan of American cheese (eww), but Kraft Dinner does make a good base for all sorts of good things. Mac & Cheese with grilled onions and peppered bacon is awesome.

For breakfast.
posted by xedrik at 11:11 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


American cheese, grilled between two slices of white bread. A cup of Campbell's tomato soup, made with milk instead of water. This, my friends is true comfort food.
posted by Runes at 11:14 AM on September 19, 2011 [22 favorites]


So I'm not the only one who had grilled cheese with tomato soup as a kid? Dipping my (triangle cut only!!!) sandwich corners in is still the only way I'll even consider eating tomato soup.
posted by DU at 11:17 AM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


That make any cheese melt link is gold, zamboni, thanks. It reminds me the Homesick Texan Cookbook is finally out, including a solid recipe for chile con queso that uses real cheese and starts with a roux. Similar concept to the gelatin suggested in the American Cheese thing linked in the post, really, and anything that bypasses the nasty flavour of Velveeta is a win.
posted by Nelson at 11:17 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


American cheese, grilled between two slices of white bread.

I prefer food.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on September 19, 2011 [8 favorites]


So I'm not the only one who had grilled cheese with tomato soup as a kid?

Oh, absolutely not. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is definitely A Thing. When I was a first-year in college, my RHs had a grilled cheese and tomato soup study break (usual fare was cookies or something), and it was by far the most popular one.
posted by phunniemee at 11:21 AM on September 19, 2011


It's 2 months old.

I prefer to call it two months aged.
posted by jaksemas at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Is this the thread where we make all those oral sex innuendos?

Dammit, are you going to make me go to Urban Dictionary to figure out what you're talking about?
posted by slogger at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


...sometimes the fluorescent-orange powdered crap stirred into noodles is just what I want.

What I want is a recipe to make that fluorescent-orange powdered crap.
posted by Floydd at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


Cheddar cheese works wonderful for grilled cheese.

We call them "Jones Sandwiches" and they much include fresh tomatoes and loads of pepper. Avocado optional.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:22 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think you can make any cheese melt nicely by adding champagne and a bit of corn starch. That is pretty much the standard method for fondue
posted by Ad hominem at 11:23 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this the thread where we make all those oral sex innuendos?

Per zamboni, reference: 1, 2.

I don't understand taking perfectly good delicious cheese and taking the effort to turn it into the subpar product known as "American Cheese."

It's like chopping a Porsche 356 into a VW Beetle because you have nostalgic feelings about Herbie the Love Bug.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:24 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I want is a recipe to make that fluorescent-orange powdered crap.

Totally. I have so many boxes of Kraft Dinner with no packet in them, cause I robbed it to make cheezy popcorn. >.>
posted by xedrik at 11:25 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I want is a recipe to make that fluorescent-orange powdered crap.

YES YES YES YES YES!!!

I made my wife buy me a container full of just the cheese powder, because I like about twice as much cheese powder on my from-a-box mac'n'cheez as usual. But I have no idea how to make it. Probably salt and radium. That's what it looks like.
posted by DU at 11:25 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


So I'm not the only one who had grilled cheese with tomato soup as a kid?

One of my ex-girlfriends always wanted to start a restaurant that only served grilled cheese and tomato soup, every day. I thought maybe we could combine it with a laundromat, add Indian Leg Wrestling events or something, but no, she was adamant. Grilled cheese and tomato soup, served at one long bar.

Relatedly, I also went to the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen for the first time the other day. Not fantastic, and no tomato soup.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:26 AM on September 19, 2011


Cheddar cheese works wonderful for grilled cheese.

We call them "Jones Sandwiches" and they much include fresh tomatoes and loads of pepper. Avocado optional.


"You guys like spaghetti and meatballs, right? I mean like with ranch dressing and falafel. Ah Italy."
posted by rhizome at 11:29 AM on September 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


DU: Where do you buy a container of cheese powder. This must be a staple in my pantry.
posted by slogger at 11:33 AM on September 19, 2011


. = ?
posted by slogger at 11:33 AM on September 19, 2011


I can understand learning to make something that's expensive, hard to get or easily perishable but American "Cheese" isn't any of those. I mean, what's next "How To Make Air"?
posted by tommasz at 11:35 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


I prefer food.

Such a great community Metafilter is, where people of completely opposite opinions can co-exist.
posted by Melismata at 11:35 AM on September 19, 2011


Where do you buy a container of cheese powder. This must be a staple in my pantry.
Here's one source.
posted by Floydd at 11:40 AM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Where do you buy a container of cheese powder.

No idea, she ordered it for Xmas one year. Like 15 years ago.
posted by DU at 11:40 AM on September 19, 2011


So I'm not the only one who had grilled cheese with tomato soup as a kid?

Now that oral sex thread is starting to haunt me.
posted by Melismata at 11:41 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I want is a recipe to make that fluorescent-orange powdered crap

Some preliminary googling led me to this recipe for dehydrating cheddar cheese. I don't have a food dehydrator, however. Anyone want to experiment and report back?
posted by janepanic at 11:41 AM on September 19, 2011


What I want is a recipe to make that fluorescent-orange powdered crap.

You can actually make some extremely terrible grilled cheese sammiches with that heinous powder. You have to mix the powder with a tiny bit of water until it forms a thick fluorescent slurry and then gloop it onto the bread.
posted by elizardbits at 11:42 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


You have to mix the powder with a tiny bit of water until it forms a thick fluorescent slurry and then gloop it onto the bread.

I was thinking of something more along the lines of french-toasted cheese, where you slurry the evil orange mac and cheese powder in milk and soak the bread in it, then fry the bread slices in butter in a skillet like french toast. Maybe with tomato soup in place of the syrup. Then serve in your bistro to hipsters for $12 a plate?
posted by aught at 11:48 AM on September 19, 2011 [15 favorites]


Why would you mix cheese powder with water? It's made for milk. And butter.
posted by DU at 11:51 AM on September 19, 2011


I was thinking of something more along the lines of french-toasted cheese, where you slurry the evil orange mac and cheese powder in milk and soak the bread in it, then fry the bread slices in butter in a skillet like french toast. Maybe with tomato soup in place of the syrup.

...and I know what WE'RE having for supper tonight!
posted by Floydd at 11:52 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


You have to mix the powder with a tiny bit of water until it forms a thick fluorescent slurry and then gloop it onto the bread

I was thinking of something more along the lines of french-toasted cheese,


You know that part where I said that mac and cheese sandwich looked awesome? I don't think I want it anymore.
posted by Hoopo at 11:53 AM on September 19, 2011


I don't know what it is about those floppy slices of plastic-looking cheese that get to me almost every time I decide to make a hamburger, but as I'm mentally constructing the burger it just doesn't look right unless it has the American cheese on there.

If I honestly had to speculate I would think it has to do with how I've been told by advertisers, through the years, that a burger simply must have that melty cheese part below or on top of the actual burger. And it simply must look like this. A simple matter of aesthetics.

I usually manage to overcome my desire for the curious non-tasting bit of artificially-colored dairy and replace it with something much more delicious, but that image of a PerfectBurger™ is ingrained in my mind.
posted by pyrex at 11:56 AM on September 19, 2011


Here's one source.
posted by Floydd at 14:40 on September 19 [+] [!]

*clicks Add to Cart*
posted by slogger at 11:57 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Burn, heretic. So-called "American" cheese is the worst kind of cheese, and those who disagree are a threat to our children and our way of live.

So narrow-minded. I bet you shop at Whole Paycheck and insist on organic snobbery.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 11:57 AM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


Until a couple of years ago I hadn’t had American cheese in decades. It was one of the only things in the fridge were I was working and I thought "Yes, back to childhood". It was awful. I think I spit out the one bite I had.

Was it always(70’s) this awful, or just recently?

Of course I also loved mayonnaise sandwiches when I was a kid, and can barely stomach mayonnaise at all now.
posted by bongo_x at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2011


Burn, heretic. So-called "American" cheese is the worst kind of cheese

Sure. In the "worst kind of spring day", "worst kind of new romance", "worst kind of christmas gift" sense.

It's not as awesome as other cheeses. It's still pretty good. Particularly in the right context.

It's like the 2-for-$1 Jack-in-the-Box "tacos." Those are the worst kind of tacos.
posted by weston at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why would you mix cheese powder with water?

It's called college, dude. There is a certain inherent brokeness to those years.
posted by elizardbits at 11:59 AM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


These days I would obviously mix it with champagne and unicorn tears.
posted by elizardbits at 12:00 PM on September 19, 2011 [9 favorites]


Until a couple of years ago I hadn’t had American cheese in decades. It was one of the only things in the fridge were I was working and I thought "Yes, back to childhood". It was awful. I think I spit out the one bite I had.

Wait, you're openly admitting that you ate something that didn't belong to you from a work fridge?

It tasted awful because you stole.

What do you call cheese that isn't yours? Nacho cheese.
posted by phunniemee at 12:01 PM on September 19, 2011 [26 favorites]


It's like the 2-for-$1 Jack-in-the-Box "tacos." Those are the worst kind of tacos.

Or it could be like that awful, sloppily microwaved "cheeseburger" you got on Coney Island that actually made you want to leap into the ocean and never return.
posted by swift at 12:03 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish they would figure out how to recreate the near mythical Government Cheese.


It came in a big, plain box that tended to live in the freezer and maybe it's because I was a kid, but dear God those were the best ever grilled cheese sandwiches.

Someone back me up on this. One among you must have been sufficiently poor to have tasted this richest of foods.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:03 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Of course I also loved mayonnaise sandwiches when I was a kid, and can barely stomach mayonnaise at all now. Was it always(70’s) this awful, or just recently?

Hmm, good question. I just found an old cookbook (60s) that included a recipe for "butter sticks", which seemed to be just plain butter rolled/fried in some kind of breading. Perhaps in just 40+ years, we've evolved to hate tons of fat?
posted by Melismata at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2011


So I'm not the only one who had grilled cheese with tomato soup as a kid?

Oh HELL no. This was definitely comfort food. In one of my early apartments, my roommate got so used to "EC eating tomato soup and grilled cheese = EC is depressed" that one day, I came home from the market with a couple cans becuase I was just stocking up, and he walked in, saw them stacked on the counter, and walked over and hugged me and asked if everything was okay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:04 PM on September 19, 2011 [6 favorites]


louche mustacio: My grandmother got government cheese. Weirdly, all I can remember is gumbo and French toast, and neither of those involved cheese.

It was still good, though.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 12:07 PM on September 19, 2011


I'm not going to keep beating a dead horse and telling you that some American Cheese is very very good.

But yeah, your tastebuds change with age , it probably did taste good when you were a kid.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:07 PM on September 19, 2011


It was really Brighton Beach, for all the Coney Island enthusiasts. God, it was like eating regurgitated freezer burn with extra, and extra-watery, mayonnaise. The cheese was possibly the best part, in that it sank too far into the bottom of my stomach to be re-tasted when I threw up in my mouth while sitting on the bench trying not to stare at the despairing flabs of mafia grandmothers passing by in front of the stupid sunset.
posted by swift at 12:10 PM on September 19, 2011


In last week's mammoth ask-me-a-question thingy on Serious Eats, Kenji Lopez-Alt was somewhat diplomatic about his stint at ATK:
Their tastes tend to run... blander than mine.
(it's a huge page with no inline anchors, Ctrl-F Kimball will get you to the relevant section)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:17 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


ATK has a terrible habit of creating recipes on the basis that a 10% improvement in taste is worth a 90% increase in effort. I just watched their Dutch baby episode --- they take a four-ingredient, two-step dish and double both.

As for out of the box Mac n cheese, I came up on Annies, and would recommended it to anyone not bound by nostalgia to Kraft. Also, good eats had an episode on how to make your own box-type cheese mix.
posted by Diablevert at 12:17 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


It came in a big, plain box that tended to live in the freezer and maybe it's because I was a kid, but dear God those were the best ever grilled cheese sandwiches.

It's because you were a kid.

A friend of mine and his wife, in a fit of nostalgia-induced lunacy, recently picked up a can of Chef Boyardee raviolis for dinner. "I used to love that stuff" he said, passing it in the grocery aisle. "Me too", she said, and as he tells the story they both gave each other the long stare and said "So, we're not going to.... Yeah, we're going to" and put a can in their cart.

How he described it, though, I thought was really interesting. "It tasted exactly the way I remember it tasting", he said. "And it was terrible."

So, yeah. You can't go back, and if you're smart you don't try.
posted by mhoye at 12:20 PM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is absolutely an embarrassing, awful, first-world problem, but I remember being jealous of the people who got government cheese. They'd line up outside the high school library on delivery day (which I remember being once a month, but I'm not sure if that was the case), and they'd walk away with a big box of cheese. I tried to stand in line once to get MY box of cheese, but my mom (who worked in that library) saw me and dragged me away, positively horrified.

Now I understand why, but at the time I wondered why she was so anti-cheese and why we couldn't have any and I felt kind of deprived.

Stupid sheltered middle class white girl.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:20 PM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


So narrow-minded. I bet you shop at Whole Paycheck and insist on organic snobbery.

Overheard at Whole Foods: "Can't you just buy the regular blueberries for once? You're not gonna die if you eat one non-organic blueberry!"

WHOOOSH!

I'd say the real "snobs" are the first worlders who can afford to and don't eat organic food. You know, the ones who are essentially poisoning our society's poorest workers.

"Some Americans see the food movement as "nice" but peripheral—a middle-class preoccupation with farmers' markets, community gardens and healthy school lunches. But no, I'll argue here. It is at heart revolutionary, with some of the world's poorest people in the lead, from Florida farmworkers to Indian villagers. It has the potential to transform not just the way we eat but the way we understand our world, including ourselves. And that vast power is just beginning to erupt."

The Food Movement: Its Power and Possibilities, Frances Moore Lappé
posted by mrgrimm at 12:22 PM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


"EC eating tomato soup and grilled cheese = EC is depressed" that one day, I came home from the market with a couple cans becuase I was just stocking up, and he walked in, saw them stacked on the counter, and walked over and hugged me and asked if everything was okay.


"John, did you just fry and eat half a loaf of bread?"

"...yes"

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"....no"
posted by The Whelk at 12:26 PM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dammit again, the famed Grilled Cheese thread has 69 favorites right now. I want to favorite it and can't bring myself to do it.
posted by slogger at 12:26 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Normal Chef Boyardee ravioli is only so so kinda too much doughy pasta, the mini-ravioli is great though, less of the doughy pasta. Beef-a-roni is the way to go, I still eat it a couple times a month.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:30 PM on September 19, 2011


I was thinking of something more along the lines of french-toasted cheese, where you slurry the evil orange mac and cheese powder in milk and soak the bread in it, then fry the bread slices in butter in a skillet like french toast.

The very thought of this makes my butt frightened and sad.
posted by elizardbits at 12:32 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Burn, heretic. So-called "American" cheese is the worst kind of cheese, and those who disagree are a threat to our children and our way of live.

Our cat would like to disagree vehemently. American cheese is the only cheese he will eat.

When we need more, we write "cat cheese" on the shopping list.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:37 PM on September 19, 2011 [11 favorites]


Random factoid: the Swedish equivalent of "French Toast" literally translates to "Poor Knights"
posted by pyrex at 12:40 PM on September 19, 2011


Where do you buy a container of cheese powder. This must be a staple in my pantry.

You can usually find cheese powder in the spice section of your supermarket next to the powdered butter.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:44 PM on September 19, 2011


I used to think all American cheese was individually wrapped in sliced and only barely resembling cheese. Then I got a hot roast beef and cheese sandwich from a deli and realized that not all American cheese was the same.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:45 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slightly worse (?) than American cheese: what the fuck is Cheese Whiz?
posted by pyrex at 12:49 PM on September 19, 2011


what the fuck is Cheese Whiz?

Why, it's cheese product, of course!
posted by Melismata at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2011


^.,.^
  O   <--- pour kraft mac&chz here pls thx

posted by not_on_display at 12:55 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lately I've been looking at a number of homemade mac n cheese recipes but I feel like I need something to compare it to, so anyone wanna send me some Kraft Mac & Cheese in order for me to be able to make an objective comparison (seeing as how that seems to be the standard)?
posted by pyrex at 1:06 PM on September 19, 2011


It's funny. About once every three years (like, about now), I absolutely HAVE to eat a can or two of Chef Boyardee's macaroni and cheese. ("made with real cheese", according the official web site.) The natural love of mac & cheese, combined with childhood nostalgia, makes this craving the most powerful force on earth. And yet after I eat them, I think, yeah, I don't need to do this for another 3 years. Very strange, the human body is!
posted by Melismata at 1:10 PM on September 19, 2011


You have to mix the powder with a tiny bit of water until it forms a thick fluorescent slurry and then gloop it onto the bread.

*swoon* Instant internet crush.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:11 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I recently purchased a box of sub-sub-Kraft mac and cheese (let's just say it was the brand for people who think the store brand is too luxuriant), I knew as I did so that I was making a profound mistake. What can I say, my Imp of the Perverse needs SOME outlets.

The greater mistake was actually preparing, then eating, this stuff. It would have been of more value to me as a conversation piece, left safely in its box.

I mean, it wasn't even salty orange goo. It was UTTERLY FLAVORLESS ORANGE GOO. Like, the powder actually somehow leached all the flavor out of the milk and margarine and banished it to the Land of Wind and Ghosts.

I never before realized to what sinister purposes cheese powder could be put. I know now.
posted by fetamelter at 1:13 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Our cat would like to disagree vehemently. American cheese is the only cheese he will eat.

Ha! My old cat did the same thing. She was an indoor cat, and whenever she got out you'd go to grab her and she'd get all hissy and swatty and bitey. All we had to do was open the fridge door and rattle the cheese drawer a little bit and she'd come running back into the house acting like you're best friends again.
posted by Hoopo at 1:13 PM on September 19, 2011


I...

I...

Um.

Never have I felt so disconnected from my American ancestry as when reading this thread.

What the hell is wrong with you people? This is a joke, right?

Please tell me it's a joke.
posted by DRMacIver at 1:30 PM on September 19, 2011


Ha! My old cat did the same thing. She was an indoor cat, and whenever she got out you'd go to grab her and she'd get all hissy and swatty and bitey. All we had to do was open the fridge door and rattle the cheese drawer a little bit and she'd come running back into the house acting like you're best friends again.

Ditto!
That, or simply crinkle the plastic wrapping to a single and the big boy comes running.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:32 PM on September 19, 2011


I was thinking of something more along the lines of french-toasted cheese, where you slurry the evil orange mac and cheese powder in milk and soak the bread in it, then fry the bread slices in butter in a skillet like french toast.

The very thought of this makes my butt frightened and sad.


Sorry! Your butt can cower in the corner with my high blood pressure, which was also a bit unnerved up by the concept. ;)
posted by aught at 1:33 PM on September 19, 2011


What the hell is wrong with you people? This is a joke, right?

Seriously.

Thankfully, the generations of children raised on chemically orange cheese product are now grown and the damage is contained.
posted by Dragonness at 1:37 PM on September 19, 2011


All we had to do was open the fridge door and rattle the cheese drawer a little bit and she'd come running back into the house acting like you're best friends again.

Cats are born knowing the sound of cheese packaging being rustled and a tuna can being opened.
posted by aught at 1:37 PM on September 19, 2011


That, or simply crinkle the plastic wrapping to a single and the big boy comes running.

Funny, because our dog would go hide under the couch when he heard the unwrapping of an American cheese slice, knowing that it meant a pill was about to be forced down his throat.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:41 PM on September 19, 2011


Funny, because our dog would go hide under the couch when he heard the unwrapping of an American cheese slice, knowing that it meant a pill was about to be forced down his throat.

So, uh, the trick here is that he's not supposed to find that out - that's *why* you use the cheese.
posted by atbash at 1:44 PM on September 19, 2011


I unabashedly eat Kraft American Cheese at least once a week -- due to sheer laziness and the inability to come up with another cheese to eat with my Nilla Wafers. My doggies are also fans and I hope they never grow to dislike it as pilling them would be a pain and a half.
posted by bluesapphires at 1:46 PM on September 19, 2011


I love grilled cheese like crazy but American cheese is a crime against everything. When I was in elementary school and they gave us American cheese for snack at latch key I would tear it into tiny pieces and swallow them down like pills so I wouldn't have to taste them.
posted by little cow make small moo at 1:46 PM on September 19, 2011


swift: "America's Test Kitchen sure takes the charm out of cooking sometimes."

I heartily disagree.

I like that they tell you how to make something, but also why they used the ingredients/technique/whatever. I make it their way the first time. Then I use what I learned to make it my own way the next time.

Food Nerds are AWESOME.
posted by I am the Walrus at 1:48 PM on September 19, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love many cheeses on grilled cheese. In my house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a grilled cheese for you.
posted by Splunge at 1:59 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


So I'm not the only one who had grilled cheese with tomato soup as a kid?

I grew-up on that combo and enjoy it to this very day. Cream of tomato soup, of course.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:00 PM on September 19, 2011


The day I stopped eating American cheese is the day I became an adult.
posted by Twicketface at 2:01 PM on September 19, 2011


still the only way I'll even consider eating tomato soup.

Poor Man's Tortilla Soup

Take one of those big cans of Campbell's Tomato Soup and heat it in a pan on the stove. Add a few spices, such as garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning (or straight oregano), and red pepper flakes. Stir until hot.

Meanwhile, prep your soup bowls with a handful of Fritos in the bottom of each. Ladle the hot soup over the chips, then add grated cheddar cheese to desired soup-cheese ratio. Garnish with 3-4 chips.
posted by Celsius1414 at 2:02 PM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


My after-school snack as a kid (which my mother probably knew nothing about, because she would have been mildly horrified) was a slice of packaged bologna, a slice of american cheese, and a dollop of vanilla yogurt, rolled and eaten like a burrito. Something about the combination of flavor chemicals made it perfect.

I was a weird kid.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:03 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was all like "Why would you have a grilled cheese with tomato soup when you could have a tunafish sandwich, Dad?" And he was all like "Try this - it's a tuna melt. Wut WUT!" And I was all "I lurve you, Dad."

--- excerpted from my "Eulogy For a Father," release date likely to be determined by poor diet and American cheese.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:04 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you like mac and cheese from a box, Alton Brown's stovetop recipe is great and lends itself to experimentation. Also grilled cheese made with Maytag Blue Cheese is great!

Why anyone would go to all that trouble to end up with American cheese is beyond me; I admit to occasionally sneaking a slice of Velveeta but it is easy enough to just buy a small package rather than end up with a whole block.
posted by TedW at 2:11 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Happily, my kids don't understand my passion for various melted cheese and/or cheap pasta products at all. I must have done something right. (but I still indulge when I'm alone...)
posted by mumimor at 2:15 PM on September 19, 2011


I had gob'mint cheese as a child. I didn't know that it was gob'mint cheese, only that it was a LOT OF FREAKING CHEESE! And I couldn't understand why we needed that much cheese since cheese used to (prior to the gob'mint cheese) come in very small packages and this was a relatively large box o' cheese.

Having said that, American cheese was a treat for me as a child. I would fold it into squares as small as possible so as to make it last. I am still a strange adult.
posted by Sophie1 at 2:17 PM on September 19, 2011


All this thread has told me is that nobody here has ever been to a deli. Go to the deli, get a 1/4 pound of American Cheese, while you are there you might as well pick up some Provolone. The real problem is that you guys think Velveeta is American Cheese, not that American Cheese is some sort of crime against nature.

Don't make me take this meta people!
posted by Ad hominem at 2:17 PM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


My take-home on home-made American cheese was...now I can further degrade the low standard of kosher cooking in the US. For me, grilled 'murrican cheez on white bread with canned creme o'tomato soup, was exotic and desirable fare at girl scout camp or boarding school. We never ate anything so processed or unkosher at home.
Nowadays, one can get kosher-for-Passover tacos-in-a-box. No doubt involving American process cheese food nacho sauce.
I think I'll go eat another house made lactic ferment kosher garlic dill organic pickle.
posted by Dreidl at 2:17 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Celsius1414: "still the only way I'll even consider eating tomato soup.

Poor Man's Tortilla Soup

Take one of those big cans of Campbell's Tomato Soup and heat it in a pan on the stove. Add a few spices, such as garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning (or straight oregano), and red pepper flakes. Stir until hot.

Meanwhile, prep your soup bowls with a handful of Fritos in the bottom of each. Ladle the hot soup over the chips, then add grated cheddar cheese to desired soup-cheese ratio. Garnish with 3-4 chips.
"

50/50 if I'm not mistaken.
posted by Splunge at 2:17 PM on September 19, 2011


Please work your way through all these grilled cheese recipes before mangling real cheese with gelatin.
posted by benzenedream at 2:18 PM on September 19, 2011


Different strokes for different folks - I insist that my homemade grilled cheese sammiches be made with extra-sharp cheddar. And they are accompanied about 50% of the time with tomato soup.

My dog, however, loves American cheese. He loves performing his evening micturitions because it earns him a third of a slice of Kraft's finest (?!). He's a doofus, though.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 2:21 PM on September 19, 2011


All of our grilled cheese sandwiches though were made using a Toas-Tite though. This was a camping tool, but we used it in our kitchen and it made the bread a little burnt on the edges and crispy, yet slightly soft. It was heaven.

I found a Toas-Tite at an estate sale about 2 months ago and snapped it right up. I am soooo happy. Went home and made a grilled cheese sandwich with home grown heirloom tomatoes and whole wheat bread and set off the smoke alarms. That is some nostalgia right there....
posted by Sophie1 at 2:27 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


ATK has a terrible habit of creating recipes on the basis that a 10% improvement in taste is worth a 90% increase in effort.

Very well put! I have a few standard recipes that I got from them--their relatively complicated pancake recipe is totally worth it because nothing else touches it. But this is often my reaction on trying one of their recipes, that I have worked way too hard for the amount of improvement. I thought maybe my unsophisticated tastebuds were at fault, but maybe not!
posted by not that girl at 2:29 PM on September 19, 2011


Why anyone would go to all that trouble to end up with American cheese is beyond me...

I suspect it's coming from people who on the one hand have a nostalgic affection for the taste from when they were kids, but on the other hand are now grownup and are thus uneasy about "what....ELSE may be in the stuff I get from the supermarket?..." This looks like away to get your American Cheese fix without ingesting MSG or what have you.

(Although, the fact that they put GELATIN in it is putting me off a bit, I'll admit.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:30 PM on September 19, 2011


America's Test Kitchen laments that American cheese is cheese, milk, stabilizers, and emulsifiers processed to achieve certain characteristics...and then processes cheese with milk, stabilizer, and emulsifier to achieve certain characteristics.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:32 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


115 comments and no one has yet mentioned The Melt is now open in downtown SF. You know, the fast food grilled cheese joint with $10M in VC funding?
posted by Nelson at 2:34 PM on September 19, 2011


This is obviously not Thorzdad's cat.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:40 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Growing up, my family (emigrants from Scotland living in Canada) called American cheese "plastic cheese". I think that was a quirk of my household, but I've only ever heard the stuff called "processed cheese" up here. Although I did hear an episode of This American Life in which some Toronto transplant living in New York claims that he knew the stuff as "Canadian cheese". Can anyone corroborate this usage?

Anyhoo, the stuff is both super gross and quite yummy. As with all other filth that one occasionally craves, just eat it occasionally.
posted by Roachbeard at 2:42 PM on September 19, 2011


what the fuck is Cheese Whiz?

Cheese Whiz is the product which, many years ago in Canada, had "recipes" on the bottles, which consisted of things like "Cheese Whiz recipe #10: melt Cheese Whiz in the microwave and pour over broccoli", "Cheese Whiz recipe #53: melt Cheese Whiz in the microwave and pour over cauliflower". This is a standard running joke in my family, wondering which Cheese Whiz recipe one is following by spreading it on toast vs bread, and is putting it on whole wheat toast a different :recipe" from rye?

I love what y'all down here call "American Cheese" (it's "processed cheese food" in Canada...and when they have to TELL you it's food...well...).
posted by biscotti at 2:43 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


scandalous confession: I have had srs bznss obscene dreams about this grilled cheese sammich.
posted by elizardbits at 2:47 PM on September 19, 2011


"Pasteurized processed cheese food" is obviously what real cheese eats. It's in the name, folks.
posted by Splunge at 2:58 PM on September 19, 2011 [4 favorites]


H8 U "SAMMICH"
posted by adamdschneider at 3:01 PM on September 19, 2011


oh hay did someone say ANGRY H8 SAMMICH?
posted by elizardbits at 3:05 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


Floydd: "Where do you buy a container of cheese powder. This must be a staple in my pantry.
Here's one source.
"

Product Features

14 ounces of Yellow Cheddar Cheese Powder
packed in 2 convenient resalable bags
Made in USA
A sprayed cheesed product, best used as a seasoning
A high color product
posted by deborah at 3:22 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


mac & cheese all the things!
posted by Ad hominem at 3:25 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


bluesapphires: "cheese to eat with my Nilla Wafers"

Jesus M Jumped-up Christ on a bike, bluesapphires. That is even grosser than the powdered cheese sandwich idea upthread. To each his/her own. And now I will go eat some naked Nilla Wafers. Naked.
posted by theredpen at 3:29 PM on September 19, 2011


I hate to admit ever craving "American Cheese" aka "processed cheese food," but a patty melt just isn't the same without it.
posted by Hylas at 3:39 PM on September 19, 2011


You know what's really fabulous, though? A slice of American cheese atop a big ol' slice of apple pie.

Say it with me now...

USA! USA! USA!


Seriously, though, it's not that horrible. Although being stoned might've been part of the equation somewhere. I can't really remember. Also, cheese is delicious.
posted by pecanpies at 4:02 PM on September 19, 2011


Oh, and there's also a little tiny American flag sticking out of the pie. And you're eating it next to a giant framed picture of Bruce Springsteen hugging Elvis. And also, you're drunk.
posted by pecanpies at 4:03 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


>Wait, you're openly admitting that you ate something that didn't belong to you from a work fridge?
It tasted awful because you stole. <

No, community food. That no one wanted.
posted by bongo_x at 4:51 PM on September 19, 2011


yellower cheesier
more protective
comfort food
not costing too much
spreadable on toast
getting on better with macaroni and hamburger helper
can squeeze it
melting well (no more expensive foreign cheese)
a high color product
no nasty rennet

a slice
in a wrap
of plastic
posted by benzenedream at 4:59 PM on September 19, 2011 [2 favorites]


theredpen: Jesus M Jumped-up Christ on a bike, bluesapphires. That is even grosser than the powdered cheese sandwich idea upthread. To each his/her own. And now I will go eat some naked Nilla Wafers. Naked.

My family has a number of food quirks so I blame it on my mom, who's a big fan of sweet with salty. She also likes potato chips with her ice cream, which blasphemous to me. On the plus side, it means I don't have to share with anyone (other than the dogs who stare longingly at the cheese . . . ).
posted by bluesapphires at 5:00 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK. There seems to be some confusion here. It seems a lot of people making the "not real cheese" remarks are confusing "American Pasturized Cheese Food" (mostly oil and water) for American Cheese (totally awesome cheese in the right context). I know they're on the same shelf, are the same shape, and the same color, but it's unfair to hang the bad rap of the $2.49 a pack stuff on the $4.99 a pack real McCoy. I always get a little irritated when people dis on American cheese when they're accidentally under the impression it's all the "cheese food" stuff.
posted by sourwookie at 5:03 PM on September 19, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I had a issue with someone pilfering my lunches from work, I used the Ex-Lax trick. Sort of. I started the rumor that I was putting pulverized Ex-Lax tablets in some of my lunches. Then I brought lunch to work that I would leave in a labeled bag in the communal fridge and bought lunch for a week.

I would eat crappy pizza or decent pre-packaged sushi, both overpriced, that I couldn't really afford.

None of the lunches were touched. I threw them out at the end of the week, quite ostentatiously. I almost cried.

Never had a theft again, though. Although other people did have food taken. Sorry guys, collaterl damage and all that.
posted by Splunge at 5:03 PM on September 19, 2011


a^
posted by Splunge at 5:04 PM on September 19, 2011


Sometimes, artificial cheese is just what you want, you know?

No.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:34 PM on September 19, 2011


Only thing worth fighting about is BBQ.
posted by nola at 5:43 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even when I am broke as fuck I will buy decent whole grain bread that's like $5 a loaf and real cheddar. You know why? Because two slices of that with real cheese toasted face up is a meal! I'm talking about wide slices of bread from a thrown loaf where you can taste the grain. A slice of the good bread is at least twice the size and more than double weight of a regular cheap-ass slice, even if it's the same thickness. It fills you up, and there is decent nutrition in it. My body is maybe craving some veggies after just bread and cheese, but overall it's happy and well fed for hours! Add a decent egg, and you're rockin. It's not that expensive. I can get 10 decent meals like this for less than $10, and I'm not skimping on ingredient quality at all. Way better than fast food and far cheaper, if it needs to be said ...

But try that with shitty bread (either white or the cheap crap they call whole wheat) and fake cheese, and you end up feeling like you ate a couple tiny sponges with flavored vegetable oil ... and I'm still hungry! I have to eat several of them to make a meal, and by that point my stomach is going to have revenge in short order and make the rest of the next few hours miserable. My body is not happy! Not worth it.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:46 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Preach on sourwookie.

All American Cheese is processed. The good stuff is processed the way something like colby-jack is processessed, which is to say it is processed by blending cheeses. It is not 100% chemicals or engineered from space age polymers.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:47 PM on September 19, 2011


American cheese has its time and place, just like Hot Pockets and Goober pb&j. I mean, if you like it, then that's great. It's good on grilled cheese, sure; good on burgers off the grill; good with bologna.

But why would you want to make it from scratch? Just buy it from the supermarket, all packed up in the plastic sheet that it was poured into, forming it into its natural plastic-slice form, that it was intended to be pried and peeled away from.

It's like the Budweiser of cheese.

Good god, I just imagined some poor schlup trying to microbrew Budweiser at home, using home-grown hops, barley, rice and yeast. RICE FOR GOODNESS SAKE. *shudders*
posted by jabberjaw at 6:10 PM on September 19, 2011


115 comments and no one has yet mentioned The Melt is now open in downtown SF. You know, the fast food grilled cheese joint with $10M in VC funding?

I got nothing against a grilled cheese themed restaurant and have played around with the idea of doing something similar. But why does the SF Bay Area continue to throw all this VC money around at obvious ideas like it's some great new ...

Wait a minute. There's still enough VC money to throw around to fund a grilled cheese restaurant?

So, who wants to get in on the ground floor of an exciting new start-up? Don't want to give anything away ... Here's a hint: think franchise with soft boiled eggs and bike couriers.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:14 PM on September 19, 2011


Proper grilled cheese has two spoonfuls of serious meat chili inside, along with tomatoes.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:23 PM on September 19, 2011


Put two cups of water in a saucepan.
Add a cheap beef bouillon cube.
Add a generous tablespoon of Vegemite.
Simmer, stirring til cube and Vegemite are dissolved.
Add four Kraft singles slices, one at a time, stirring well between each addition.
Serve with white toast and margarine.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:29 PM on September 19, 2011


what the fuck is Cheese Whiz?

A cheese expert, obviously!

Maybe you're thinking of Cheez Whiz, which is orange colored spackling paste.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:46 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


A Cheese Whiz knows how to feed "pasteurized processed cheese food" to young free range Cheddars. It's one of the first things you learn in cheese husbandry, but it takes years to get it right. Some people think that it only takes six months. But a true Whiz practices for 2 or three years.
posted by Splunge at 7:15 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


But a true Whiz practices for 2 or three years.

Coincidentally, the average shelf life of American cheese! ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 7:21 PM on September 19, 2011


obiwanwasabi: Put two cups of water in a saucepan.
Add a cheap beef bouillon cube.
Add a generous tablespoon of Vegemite. ...


What DO you think you're doing? That sounds like something a very very lonely Aussie would make. It's like French onion soup without the trying part.

I want some.
posted by hanoixan at 8:14 PM on September 19, 2011


There's still enough VC money to throw around to fund a grilled cheese restaurant?

Put it this way: I guarantee you there is a way to make grilled cheese shelf-stable.
posted by rhizome at 8:37 PM on September 19, 2011


ATK has a terrible habit of creating recipes on the basis that a 10% improvement in taste is worth a 90% increase in effort.

I've tried many of their recipes, and been satisfied with things I make every once in a while (Pad Thai!), but I rely on them for standards: specifically white rice*. It's perfect every time, which makes a difference when you have distractions in the form of children. I hate crunchy-in-the-middle rice, soggy rice, and slightly burned rice. I love being able to rely on this particular recipe every time, along with a few others. I also love being able to understand why an ingredient is necessary, what can be substituted for it and if I can sacrifice a little bit of quality for a lot of taste.



*We have rice a lot; with gumbo, chicken and dumplings, brown gravy, red beans, smothered cabbage, white beans, butter beans, chicken with white gravy, green beans with deer sausage, shrimp stew, etc, etc. We are Rice People.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 6:52 AM on September 20, 2011


ATK has a terrible habit of creating recipes on the basis that a 10% improvement in taste is worth a 90% increase in effort.

That's very very very few of the recipes that actually do that.

A couple of years ago I found this cookbook at Costco for something like $8, and bought it immediately. It's become my go-to book for a lot of my daily cooking. The recipes are simple, the instructions are thoughtfully laid out and easy to understand and follow, and the results end up being what is expected every time.

It's not brilliant, and it's not perfect, but it's hardly the "90% increase in effort" cadre of recipes you seem to believe ATK turns out.
posted by hippybear at 3:29 PM on September 21, 2011


doyouknowwhoIam?: If you cook THAT much rice... you really should just get yourself a cheap rice cooker. Perfect rice, every time, no muss no fuss. Getting one completely changed my attitude toward rice all around.
posted by hippybear at 3:31 PM on September 21, 2011


If you cook THAT much rice... you really should just get yourself a cheap rice cooker.

I've always had bad experiences with rice cooker rice, but then I *love* rice. Even expensive rice cookers produced mediocre rice, unless I'm doing it incorrectly?
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 8:19 AM on September 22, 2011


Even expensive rice cookers produced mediocre rice

I agree. I grew up eating crappy rice, because my mom had no idea how to cook it. Then I had some rice cooker rice, and I was like, oh man, palatable rice, where have you been all my life. Then I started dating my boyfriend, who is Iranian, who grew up eating rice with every meal, and now I know how good rice can be. Rice cooker rice sucks in comparison.

This is how you make rice:

1. Use long grain basmati rice. Royal is a good brand.

2. Obtain a nonstick pot with lid.

3. Put some rice in the pot.

4. Rinse it twice in cold water. (Just a quick swish and drain is sufficient.)

5. Now put in enough cold water so that you can sort of see the rice beneath. If you stick
your finger in there, you should get a little more than half a fingertip submerged before you hit the rice. Add a little more if you're making a lot of rice.

6. Add some oil (olive oil is great, but regular old canola or veg will work just fine), maybe about a teaspoon and a half.

7. Add some salt to taste. Maybe about a teaspoon.

8. Stir it with some sort of stirring implement that won't scratch your nonstick pot. Your boyfriend will insist that the only proper utensil is the wooden spatula his mom gave him, but really, any stirring device will do.

9. Put the pot, uncovered, over high heat, until it just starts to boil.

10. Immediately cover the rice and turn the heat down low. Like, really low. Like, just a tic above the lowest low.

11. DO NOT TOUCH IT. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID. DO NOT EVEN LOOK AT IT. For about 15 minutes.

12. After 15 minutes, quickly slide the lid back, pick a few grains of rice off the top, replace the lid, and taste those rice grains.

13. How's the rice? Does it taste AWESEOME? Hell yes, it tastes awesome. That's because it's the best rice you have ever made. Remove the pot from heat and remove lid.

14. If the rice doesn't taste awesome yet, like if it's a tiny bit crunchy, turn the sink on so that there's a slow trickle of cold water, and pass the rice (remove the lid first) under this a few times to add a liiiitle bit more water.

15. Put the lid back on and return to low heat for another 3-5 minutes, then refer back to step 13.


And that, my friends, is how you make rice. Don't feel bad. I had no idea until a couple years ago, myself.
posted by phunniemee at 8:52 AM on September 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


[ATK] recipes are simple, the instructions are thoughtfully laid out and easy to understand and follow, and the results end up being what is expected every time.

It's not brilliant, and it's not perfect, but it's hardly the "90% increase in effort" cadre of recipes you seem to believe ATK turns out.


I don't think every recipe they do turns out it like that --- I like a lot of the stuff they do, and I've had great success with a number of their recipes. Still add beer to my no knead after reading their take on it. What they are very very good at is explaining why they do everything they do, so you can understand how/whether to adjust for your own preferences. But to my mind, their persnickety quest for the ideal recipe often goes too far. Partly that's because I think my definition of being good at cooking is acquiring enough skill and technique to be able to improvise something tasty whatever the circumstances, and they're very much of the "there is a Right Way, follow it and you too can achieve perfection" school. It's rather French of them, in a way.

There's a lot of stuff I'm willing to try doing from scratch, if I think there's a good chance of making something better than what I could buy. I've done homemade ravioli, I've made bagels. Sometimes it's obviously worth it --- brownie mix is a racket, people! --- sometimes it's not. (It has to be a very damn special occasion for me to make pasta from scratch. Even with a machine, it's a huge undertaking.) But there's nothing you could do that would convince me to spend time making my own American cheese, when the whole thing people like about American cheese is its bland, melt-friendly, plasticine quality. That's just not something I'm going to be able to trump the food scientists at Kraft on.
posted by Diablevert at 10:31 AM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that, my friends, is how you make rice.

Tisk, tisk, so naive.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:55 AM on September 22, 2011


Tisk, tisk, so naive.

That's what you do when you're having a mehmooni and want to have the delicious tadig to show off to everyone. The preparation, at least. His cooking method isn't what my boyfriend's mom does, so I have to assume that it's wrong.

When you're coming home after a long day and just want to reheat some fesenjoon and eat NOW, you make rice my way. It's easy, awesome, everyday rice.
posted by phunniemee at 11:06 AM on September 22, 2011


Wait a minute. There's still enough VC money to throw around to fund a grilled cheese restaurant?

You're joking, right?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:20 PM on September 22, 2011


I made a special field trip to The Melt yesterday, motivated by this very thread. And had a perfectly serviceable $5.65 grillied cheese with pepper jack and a slice of tomato. The cheese was nice, actually tasted like jack cheese (not flavourless goo) and with some spice from the chile. The tomato worked well. The bread, sadly, was very ordinary and lacked my favourite thing in a good grilled cheese: lots and lots of buttery flavour. And the restaurant's branding and design is, well, adequate. All in all I'd give it a B.
posted by Nelson at 1:53 PM on September 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Grilled cheese should be on the kids menu.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:20 PM on September 22, 2011


You're joking, right?

“Of course there are high-end grilled cheese restaurants just like there were high-end camcorders, and of course there are cheap ones, but there was no product that could capture the hearts and minds the way the Flip did, and the Melt is going to be the same,” Mr. Kaplan said.
posted by benzenedream at 5:14 PM on September 22, 2011


The Melt will also let customers round up purchases to the next dollar — a soup and sandwich will probably cost $7.95

Ethically sourced cheese? Organic bread?
posted by mrgrimm at 9:01 AM on September 23, 2011


His cooking method isn't what my boyfriend's mom does

My mom either, but her method wouldn't fit on a standard YouTube format!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:34 AM on September 23, 2011


I was thinking of something more along the lines of french-toasted cheese, where you slurry the evil orange mac and cheese powder in milk and soak the bread in it, then fry the bread slices in butter in a skillet like french toast.

Alright, so I tried this. I made the slurry with too packets of Easy Mac powder to about 3/4c milk and a splash of heavy cream. Then I let it sit for a couple of minutes to thicken. After that I soaked two pieces of toast and fried in butter. The result was underwhelming, frankly. The slurry tasted very strongly of cheese powder, but the toast had only a faint taste of it. I may try again with 4 packets of cheese and (in french toast tradition) an egg in addition to the milk and cream.
posted by jedicus at 1:07 PM on October 16, 2011


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