Do We STILL eat this? Not me!
Recently I saw a recipe posted for fudge. I make fudge once a year as part of the yummies I prepare for the holidays, and although I have a tried and true recipe, I always enjoy looking for something new that might prove superior.
This was not it. It called for 8 ounces of Velveeta.
I grew up on Velveeta. Great for macaroni and cheese because of its ability to melt so nicely, it was Velveeta being the ONLY cheese I knew as a very young kid that kept me from trying cheesecake for years. No way a Velveeta cake was worth eating! (It wasn’t until I received a cookbook when I left home and read through it did I discover a cheesecake uses cream cheese….duh! All those wasted years!)
So, we haven’t eaten Velveeta in my family for over 10 years now. In fact, most people do not eat Velveeta. In reading about it, I learned that 75% of all Velveeta is purchased by only 5% of the American public. I wonder what else that segment of the population does.
So, what IS Velveeta? First of all, the recipe is “proprietary” which means Kraft wants to keep it a secret so no one else can make it exactly the same way. But we know this much. In order to be called a “processed cheese food” it must contain at least 51% of the cheese ingredient by weight. That means when you buy a pound block about half of it IS cheese.
The mixture is heated with an emusifier ( An emulsifier in foods is one of numerous chemical additives that encourage the suspension of one liquid in another) -such as sodium or potassium phosphate (that sounds like a chemical), and other ingredients, like color (Oh, don’t get me going on orange cheese…just think for a second about what color milk is.) and flavoring (flavoring? It has to be made different? more? something other than what the mix of ingredients makes it?)
Okay…..getting away from processed foods does not mean we can’t eat old favorites any more. It just means you learn to make a simple cheese sauce from whole ingredients for your homemade delicious mac and cheese:
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in 2 Tablespoons of flour until the flour has absorbed the butter. Slowly add in a cup of milk, stirring all the time until it thickens and gets bubbly. (A whisk helps the stirring eliminate lumps.) Then add in 2 cups of cheese (cheddar works, so does a mixture of your favorites) and continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
So, a few more steps than adding some small chunks of Velveeta to your macaroni but only a minute or two more in time. And it is healthier…no chemicals. And you can make it with your favorite cheese!