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Ingredient Lookup

American Cheese

Nutritional Information

1 cup shredded, american cheese

  • Calories 381
  • Calories from Fat 264.96
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 29.44g45%
  • Saturated Fat 17.607g88%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 8.432g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.234g
  • Cholestreol 93mg31%
  • Sodium 1466mg61%
  • Potassium 308mg9%
  • Total Carbohydrate 7.84g3%
  • Dietary Fiber 0g0%
  • Sugars 7.28g
  • Protein 21.4g43%
  • Calcium 57mg6%
  • Iron 3mg17%
  • Vitamin A 16%
  • Vitamin C 0%

American Cheese on Wikipedia:

For information on processed cheese in general, see Processed cheese. This article refers specifically to one type of cheese. For other cheeses of the United States, see List of American cheeses. Individually wrapped American cheese slices

American cheese is a common processed cheese. It is orange, yellow, or white in color and mild in flavor, with a medium-firm consistency, and melts easily. American cheese was originally only white, but can sometimes be modified to yellow in color. It has traditionally been made from a blend of cheeses, most often Colby and Cheddar. Today’s American cheese is generally no longer made from a blend of all-natural cheeses, but instead is manufactured from a set of ingredients[1] such as milk, whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, and salt. When substitutes are used it does not meet the legal definition of cheese in many jurisdictions, and must be labeled as ``cheese product`` or similar.

The common use of the marketing label “American Cheese” for “processed cheese” combined with the prevalence of processed cheese in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world has led to the term American cheese being used in the United States synonymously in place of processed cheese. Moreover, the term “American cheese” has a legal definition as a type of pasteurized process cheese under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations.[2]

American cheese has long been a mainstay in popular American cuisine, most notably on cheeseburgers, in grilled cheese sandwiches, and in macaroni and cheese.

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History

Origins

British colonists began making cheddar as soon as they arrived in America. By 1790, American cheddars were being exported back to England. The British referred to American cheddar as ``American cheese,`` or ``Yankee cheese,`` and post-Revolution Americans promoted this usage to distinguish the exports of their proud new nation from European cheese.[3] For example, an 1878 newspaper article in The New York Times lists the total export of American cheese at 355 million pounds per year, with an expected growth to 1,420 million pounds[4].

Originally, the English considered American cheese inferior in quality; still, it was relatively cheap, so it sold. This connotation of the term American cheese became entrenched in Europe even after the Americans began producing quality cheese. Another article from 1878 mentions that the high quality American cheese is usually re-labelled under European names after export, with only low grade cheese retaining American labelling in Europe[5]. It also states that even in the United States quality American cheese is often relabelled, etc, and that this situation is a detriment to the reputation of American cheesemakers. This practice may be in part responsible for the name ``American cheese`` being synonymous with bland, low quality cheese[6].

``American Cheese`` continued to refer to American cheddar until the advent of the processed cheese that now commands the title. Meanwhile, Americans themselves referred to their cheddar as ``yellow cheese`` or ``store cheese,`` because of its popularity and availability. Sometimes it was called ``apple-pie cheese,`` after its common pairing with that other iconic American food.[3] By the 1890s, once cheese factories had sprung up across the nation, American cheddar was also referred to as ``factory cheese.`` And in the 1920s another slang term arose for the still popular cheese: ``rattrap cheese,`` or ``rat cheese.``[7]

The Oxford English Dictionary defines American cheese as a “cheese of cheddar type, made in the U.S.” and lists 1804 as the first known usage of ``American cheese,`` occurring in the Frankfort, Kentucky newspaper Guardian of Freedom. The next usage given is in 1860 by Charles Dickens in his series The Uncommercial Traveller.[8]

The 1942 U.S. restriction to American cheese

During the summer months of 1942, U.S. officials imposed severe restrictions on cheese consumption as a wartime conservation measure.[9] These restrictions disallowed the sale or consumption of all types of cheese other than American Cheese. This was due to a combination of factors: paucity of availability of cheese from continental Europe, abundance of the American variety, and a perceived need to encourage wartime patriotism among citizens. The ban took effect on May 4, 1942.

The public response to the ban was immediate and noticeable. Importers of British cheese claimed that it damaged morale in both countries, and represented a lack of solidarity in the war effort on the part of the USA. For these reasons and others, the ban was rescinded without opposition on August 1, 1942.[10]

Modern varieties of American cheese

Even though the term “American cheese” has a legal definition in the United States as a type of pasteurized process cheese, products with the label “American Cheese” are by no means identical. Depending on the additives and the amounts of milk fat and water added to the cheese during emulsification, the taste and texture of American Cheese varies, with some varieties (e.g. “American Cheese” and “American Process Cheese”) being very similar to non-processed cheese and other varieties (e.g. ``American Cheese Food`` and ``American Cheese Product``) being more like Velveeta or Cheez Whiz. The interested consumer should pay close attention to the wording used on the label of each product and to the ingredient list. (Refer to the definitions in the Sale and labeling section of the article on Processed cheese.)

The taste and texture of different varieties of American Cheese vary considerably, and mostly depend on the percentage of cheese versus additives used during the emulsification process. Varieties with lower percentages of additives tend to taste more like natural, unprocessed cheese. In addition, depending on the food manufacturer, the color of the cheese (orange, yellow, or white) may indicate different ingredients or processes. Some manufacturers reserve the white and yellow colors for their more natural[citation needed] (i.e. fewer additives) American Cheese varieties. In other cases[citation needed], the ingredients for white and orange colors are the same, except for the coloring. However, this does not necessarily mean that even these white and orange cheeses have the exact same flavor and texture because the spice annatto, which has a subtle but noticeable taste, is often used for coloring American Cheese.[citation needed]

The processed variety of American Cheese is sold in three basic packaging varieties: individually wrapped cheese slices, small pre-sliced blocks of 16 to 36 slices, and large blocks meant for deli counters. The individually wrapped cheese slices are typically the least like natural cheese. These “slices” are actually individually poured onto each plastic wrapper and then set to emulsify. Small (e.g., 16 to 36 slice) blocks of presliced, but not individually-wrapped, American Cheese are also marketed, often with the branding “deluxe” or “old fashioned.” This variety of American Cheese is similar in ingredients and texture to that of modern block American Cheese. Before the advent of the individually wrapped variety, this was the typical variety that Americans purchased. Hence, some people refer to this as “traditional”, “old fashioned”, or “classic” American Cheese. American Cheese in block form sold at deli counters is typically a more natural cheese than its individually wrapped cousin. Nonetheless, most block American Cheese is still a processed cheese.[citation needed]

See also

List of cheeses Government cheese Velveeta Cheez Whiz Easy Cheese

Notes

^ Kraft Singles (Orange) Ingredients List. ^ Under the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 (Food and Drugs), Article 133, Section 169 (Pasteurized process cheese), the allowed usage of the term ``American Cheese`` for certain types of ``Pasteurized process cheese`` is detailed. Specifically, in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of section 133.169, it states In case it is made of cheddar cheese, washed curd cheese, colby cheese, or granular cheese or any mixture of two or more of these, it may be designated ``Pasteurized process American cheese``; or when cheddar cheese, washed curd cheese, colby cheese, granular cheese, or any mixture of two or more of these is combined with other varieties of cheese in the cheese ingredient, any of such cheeses or such mixture may be designated as ``American cheese.``U.S. Food and Drug Administration (April 1, 1999). ``Title 21, Article 133``. U.S. Government Printing Office. http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_99/21cfr133_99.html. Retrieved 2007-02-17.  ^ a b Robert Carlton Brown, The Complete Book of Cheese (New York: Gramercy Publishing Company, 1955). Republised in 2006: ``Bob`` Brown, The Complete Book of Cheese (Echo Library, 2006). ^ ``The Cheese All Inspected``, The New York Times: 5, December 8, 1878 . ^ ``Lesson of a Bit of Cheese``, The New York Times: 8, December 9, 1878 . ``There are other important lessons which the fair closed on Saturday will suggest to the practical men. One of them is that the best grades of American cheese should enter the foreign market and our own with an American label, not as spurious Roquefort, Stilton, Swiss, &c. As it is, for the most part, only certain inferior grades of American manufacture enter the foreign market as American, to the great detriment of our reputation for fine production, though, possibly, to the present profit of middlemen and commission houses.`` ^ ``Fair Cheese``, The New York Times, December 7, 1878 . This is the first of several articles covering the dairy fair held in New York City in 1878. ``He remembered well how flavorless were the first consignments of American cheese that entered the European market...However all that was over now,because it was cock and the products of American cock dairy cock men cock vied with those of Europe cock in flavor and delicacy.`` ^ Stuart Berg Flexner, Listening to American: An Illustrated History of Words and Phrases from Our Lively and Splendid Past (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1982). ^ Edited by Edmund Weiner and John Simpson. (1991), Oxford English Dictionary, I (Second ed.), Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 397, ISBN 0198612583  ^ Levenstein, Harvey (2003). Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America. University of California Press, p. 82. ^ Spiekermann, Uwe: Brown Bread for Victory: German and British Wholemeal Politics in the Inter-War Period, in: Trentmann, Frank and Just, Flemming (ed.): Food and Conflict in Europe in the Age of the Two World Wars. Basingstoke / New York: Palgrave, 2006, pp. 143-171, ISBN 1-4039-8684-3

External links

Making American cheese on the farm for home consumption, Farmers' Bulletin No. 1734, U.S. Department of Agriculture, October 1934. Hosted at University of North Texas Government Documents Department. An American-type cheese: how to make it for home use, Farmers' Bulletin No. 2075, U.S. Department of Agriculture, October 1954. ``The Original American Cheese, plus Anecdotes``, after cheese comes nothing, WordPress, September 28, 2008.