There's Cheese... and then there's cheese, and then, if the cheese is in your snax, it's probably cheeze.
Cheeze isn't Cheese, or cheese. It's those cheeses' evil doppelganger. It's the devil's cheeze. El Queso del Diablo. Yikes! Scary. The devil runs the factory that makes all the processed, industrial, ultra-pasteurized, fake-cheezy-food products there that we Americans happily swallow by the megatons every year.
Now before you start looking all bored and get all eye-roll-y at me and say, "Yeah, yeah, Chefsmartypants, we all know about fake, processed cheeze, this isn't America circa 1870. We've been knowingly eating fake cheeziness for almost a century now, tell us something we don't know." Before you get all that way, I want to remind you of something. And that something is Foodiness.
Remember Foodiness? It's right up there in the title, so I hope so. You all signed up for Foodiness Reeducation Camp's spring session. Remember? Uh oh, do we have to get your memory tested? Do you know that some researchers are now classifying Alzheimer's disease as a form of brain diabetes? Type III diabetes. Brain inflammation no doubt caused by eating too much Foodiness... So where was I? Oh yes, reeducation camp. No wait, cheese. That's right.
So there's cheese; real cheese like cheddar, manchego, Brie... even mass-produced, supermarket versions of those count as real cheese to me. I mean, I may be an East-Coast liberal-elite food snob, but I still shop at Costco. I'm thrifty, and don't have unlimited funds for handmade ewe's-milk cheeses and artisanal, cold-pressed, single origin carrot juice, and organic, free roaming cacao nib scones, despite living in Brooklyn.
And then there's Cheese. Sometimes I do splurge on luscious, artisanal, handmade small-batch Cheeses from grass-fed animals living on happy farms, and I eat them in teeny bites to make them last longer. I certainly enjoy those, but at $24.95/lb, I'm not gonna make my grilled cheese out of it.
So I strike a balance, between Cheese and cheese. I make choices. Many based on my current bank balance.
But then of course, there's cheeze. We all grew up eating cheeze. In plastic-wrapped single slices, or peeled off of a stack, or cut off a brick, or (help me Jeezus) squirted out of a can. Pasteurized, processed, cheese-food product. That's the official name for it. Because you can't call it cheese, if it's not. And it's not, it's industrial quality cheese mixed in a giant blender with oils and emulsifiers and flavorings and colorings, and then rolled out into a giant sheet, which gets cut into singles. Yuck. But hey, I ate hundreds of grilled cheese sandwiches and omelets and English muffin pizzas made from the "single", and I turned out great.
I mean, I don't eat that sh*t anymore, but plenty of people do. And I'm certainly not going to stop anyone who does, because they won't listen to me anyway, and plus I have much bigger cheesy fish to fry... so to speak.
Cheeze is pretty bad news, I'd even call it Foodiness, except it's so ubiquitous and integrated into our food lives now, I don't even consider it a Foodiness product anymore. It's not really pretending to be anything else, even cheese. And if a kid who already eats terribly chooses a grilled cheese sandwich made with "singles" over a bag of cheezy, puffy, doodly snax, then let him at it. Technically, he's eating food.
The cheezy, puffy, doodly snax, on the other hand...uhhh, not exactly food. Maybe not even Foodiness, but just junk. Puffy cheezy doodlees were just called junk food back when I was watching Little House on the Prairie. No health-halo, no green washing, they were junk, and we knew it. I once ate about 300 of them at a Girl Scout meeting, as they were forbidden in my home. Yes, of course I was a Girl Scout. Why is that so surprising? I was also a chubster kid, are you also surprised by that? Don't answer.
With that neon orange cheeze powder and artificial cheezy flavor, they weren't fooling anyone into thinking that they were getting a nice serving of real cheese. I mean those things practically glowed in the dark. And I know, because I used to sneak-eat them in my closet...
As I said earlier, I wouldn't waste my $24.95/lb precious artisanal Cheese on a grilled cheese sandwich, but I also won't eat cheeze singles. I use my Costco Cabot cheddar block for that. I understand compromise, but I still have standards, and I won't compromise those. Like when it comes to snacks, or snax. I rarely eat snax, (except popcorn) especially Foodiness snax, which if you'll remember, we discussed in our first Reeducation Camp seminar last week. Remember? Uh oh... type III... just saying.
In that day's session, we discussed the "popcorn" chip, which is neither popcorn, nor a chip. It's made from industrial corn slurry, and engineered to resemble popcorn that's just simply formed into a chip shape, but it so isn't really that. It's a Foodiness fake-out, like all the other puffy and doodly but green washed snax that fill the Foodiness market shelves.
Foodiness falls into a gray area between real food and junk food; not neon orange cheezy puffs, but not artisanal small-batch cheddar either. I found a perfect example of Foodiness cheeziness a few days ago, when I was researching my show, they're a snax product called "Grilled Cheese Puffs", and the bag has classy, hand-drawn illustrations of cheese wedges and leaves, on a tastefully neutral-colored background. They're supposed to be the "better" cheeze puff, the one that the liberal elite food-focused good moms feed their offspring.
But really, they're just the same ol' corn slurry extruded puffy doodlees, even though these have real cheddar, and aren't just cheeze flavored, but grilled cheese flavored. Which is supposed to make them better? Or somehow different? They don't have grill flavor in the ingredients, but grilled cheese in a misnomer anyhow. A grilled cheese is really a griddled cheese sandwich. Confusing! But Grill Flavor is a real thing. By the way, you can buy it from flavor companies, and they make all kinds of variations of grill flavor to suit your food processing needs.
But these Foodiness fakers are just the standard corn puff, like the green-dusted "veggie" ones with the pirate theme and the neon-orange doodly ones. They're all the same old sh*t, just wrapped up in green sheep's clothing. I suppose they're better for you than the neon-orange ones. But it's still processed, industrial corn. Eat a little hunk of cheese instead, way better for you, and no diabetes down the road! Yet again, it's just another classic Foodiness fake-out, so don't fall for it, don't be a schmo. You don't want to be a schmo, do you?
So if you don't want to be a schmo, and you don't want to eat sh*t, keep on reading Is it Food, or is it Foodiness? Here, on Huffington Post. Oh and listen to this, too.