Velveeta Cheese

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Velveeta Cheese

The brand name of a processed cheese product first marketed in 1928 by the Kraft Foods Corporation, Velveeta cheese became one of the shining examples of Americans' love for processed foods. To make Velveeta, a blend of Colby and cheddar cheeses, emulsifiers, and salt is heated, inserted into aluminum foil packaging where it hardens, and sold in half-pound, one-pound, or two-pound bricks.

Critics have long scorned Velveeta as a chemical concoction that symbolizes the low standard of the American sense of taste, one that favors convenience and artificiality over "authentic" natural food. Velveeta has especially come to symbolize the lowbrow cooking style associated with the 1950s, with its emphasis on cheap, easy-to-prepare meals using mass-produced ingredients. It is often used as a substitute for "real" cheese in casseroles, macaroni dishes, omelettes, grilled sandwiches, and on cheeseburgers. Velveeta is heavily promoted by Kraft, whose Web site features its own "clean plate" recipes that make use of the product. In addition to the original, Kraft also markets low-fat, Mexican-style, shredded, and individually wrapped slices of Velveeta, America's best-known cheese.

—Edward Moran

For More Information

Velveeta Clean Plate Club. (accessed January 23, 2002).