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Friday, January 16, 2015

Original Velveeta ~ Growing up Divergent

Growing up divergent means that I was introduced to and ate food that was not sold or eaten in its 'truly' original form. It means that many food products from the 70s and 80s differed in form; in that, they deviated from an original. Velveeta for instance would qualify in my book as a divergent food. For those of you who have no clue what Velveeta was/is, then I will offer the best definition. The name "Velveeta" was/is intended to connote a velvety smooth edible product. Smoothness and melting ability were/are promoted as its properties. I remember as a child, my mom using Velveeta to make grilled cheese sandwiches, or melt it and pour over broccoli.  Homemakers loved it. Why? Though, it was a processed cheese product, it had an original taste! It was originally identified as a type of American cheese. What made it 'original' was that it was softer and smoother than 'normal' cheese.

As a result, when melted/heated, Velveeta maintained a fully integrated, even, clump-free liquid texture which was the opposite of result when 'normal' cheese was/is melted or cooked at high heat. It was invented in 1918 by Emil Frey of the Monroe Cheese Company. In 1923, The Velveeta Cheese Company was incorporated as a separate company, and was sold to Kraft Foods in 1927.  Believe it or not, the product was advertised at the time as a nutritious health food. According to Kraft's website, back in the 1930s, Velveeta became the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association's seal of approval. It was reformulated in 1953 as a cheese spread, whatever that means. As far as I know, today Velveeta is labeled in the US as a "Pasteurized Recipe Cheese Product".

The key words here being pasteurized recipe cheese product. Firstly, 'pasteurized' seems to make it appear safe. Second, 'recipe' sounds like what 'Mom or Grandma' use and lastly, 'product' is general term as we buy products all the time. Such products were meant to make life easier, tastier, and more fun. Kraft was and still is a major food producer. When I was a child they sponsored most television programs, football games and I think even the Rose Parade. Of course, they were always cooking with Velveeta and offering recipes using it to warm our hearts and stomachs. Is it a health food or healthy food?
Probably your health won't be hurt by it if you use it wisely. After all, "everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial" 1 Cor 10:23. There are some good things you can do with Velveeta.  Combine it with Rotel sauce and it makes a great dip. Mac and Cheese is really creamy with Velveeta.

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