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Kitchen Histories: The Velveeta Grilled Cheese

Apr 12, 2013

by Sarah Lohman

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Sarah Lohman is a historic gastronomist. She recreates historic recipes as a way to make a personal connection with the past, as well as to inspire her contemporary cooking. You can follow her adventures on her blog, Four Pounds Flour. In this series, Lohman will comb Etsy for items that speak to America’s culinary past.

When I was in elementary school, my mom would drive me to the neighboring township for sleepovers at my friend Kelly’s. One of my clearest memories from these visits was the lunch Kelly’s mom would prepare for us: grilled cheese. The cheese was creamier than any I’d ever had before, with a tanginess I couldn’t identify. Her method was a mystery, until one day I ambled through the kitchen while she got her ingredients ready.

There it was, on the counter for the whole world to see: Velveeta Pasteurized Cheese Product.

Roadside Pictures

A box of Velveeta from the late 1950s to early 1960s.

“You use Velveeta?” I asked, trying to mask my horror. Grilled cheeses at home were always made with hand-sliced deli cheese. Velveeta was not something that had a place in the home-cooked meals at my house. I was conflicted: Velveeta was supposed to be “bad” for me, but the grilled cheeses tasted so good!

Since that moment, I realized that the key to my ideal grilled cheese sandwich is the smooth processed melt of Cheese Product. These memories, crystal clear, came flooding back to me after I found an official Kraft Cheese Cutter on Etsy.

When it arrived, it was still in its original envelope (a color I would describe as 1930s brown) and still marked with the address of the original recipient: Mrs. G Wilkowski, R 1, Calumet, Okla.

Sarah Lohman

The cutter, a metal square with a thin wire stretched across it, came with its own recipe booklet for Kraft cheese products, Tempting Appetizers and Sandwiches. Paging through the leaflet, I wished to be transported back to the mid-20th century. Instead of the one flavor of Cheese Product available today, Americans could buy Bacon Flavor Pasteurized Cheese Product, Olive-Pimento, Garlic, Hickory Smoked, Pasteurized Neufchatel Cheese Spread With Pineapple, and two flavors referred to only as “Old English” and “Nippy.”

At this point, I know you’re rolling your eyes. You’re scorning and scoffing my cheese admiration. All I ask is that Pasteurized Processed Cheese Product be given a fair shake. Believe it or not, it was invented to be more nutritious than regular cheese.

Cheese is made by introducing rennet (enzymes from a cow’s stomach) and bacteria into milk. This process causes the milk to curdle; the “curds” are pressed into cheese molds, while the “whey” (the liquid) is generally thrown away. But it’s the whey that contains most of milk’s proteins, vitamins and minerals.

alsis35

Velveeta promo, circa 1938. Other recipes included "Mexican Relish," Noodle Ring, Biscuit Whirls, and Eggplant Souffle.

In 1927, Kraft released a product that saved this “waste” product. Kraft blended whey and sodium citrate (a salt) with real shredded cheese (cheese products must be more than 51% cheese by law and are usually a combination of cheddar, muenster, Gouda, or Colby). The result was a soft, spreadable cheese loaf with a perfect melt. The salt locks fat into an emulsion with the protein; the fat doesn’t separate when the cheese is heated. Instead, it creates a consistent, creamy melt.

By the Depression era, Kraft Cheese Products became a staple of Home Relief boxes, an early form of government aid that distributed food and clothing. Velveeta was introduced to the masses through social welfare, which was excellent advertising, and Americans developed a taste for it.

Pasteurized Cheese Product does not have the complicated taste of an aged cheddar from the Midwest or a nutty Parmesan from Italy. It doesn’t even have the smooth, salt-studded milkiness of a fresh cheese from Mexico or Greece. But Velveeta contains more protein and 1/3 the calories of a similar serving of cheddar.

My cheese cutter likely came from the heyday of processed cheese logs, perhaps before Kraft Singles were introduced in 1950. The cheese was bought in wooden boxes, jars, or plastic-wrapped rolls, and would have needed to be cut into thin, melty slices.

Sarah Lohman

My vintage Kraft Cheese Cutter sliced through my modern Velveeta block like a hot knife through butter — as smooth as silk, with no resistance. The weird part is, the sliced cheese would re-bond with the cheese loaf instantly. I had to peel sticky slices of cheese product apart, and my fingers become covered with a stink of processed cheese.

My friend Jonathan Soma of the Brooklyn Brainery, a sort of food-science wizard, passed along his formula for the perfect grilled cheese: open faced, pan lid on, cook for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Ample butter in the pan, of course, and I always add a smear of grainy mustard. This formula delivers a golden, buttery sandwich with a perfectly melted middle every time.

Sarah Lohman

Am I advocating for the replacement of all real cheese with processed cheese product? No, certainly not. But I would say that cheese product is a superstar when it comes to grilled cheese. And if you’re worried about what might be in the store-brought variety, you can make your own perfectly meltable cheese product at home. I’m pretty sure a Kraft Cheese Cutter will work — even if your Processed Cheese Product is hand-crafted instead of mass-produced.

More Posts From Sarah

2 Featured Comments

  • auntcarolyn1

    Aunt Carolyn said 6 years ago Featured

    I see that I'm going to have to delve into your posts more often, Sarah! My mom made us the classic Velveeta grilled-cheese sandwiches cut just so into triangles and served with a cup of Campbell's tomato soup when we were kids, and we loved it. I don't eat Velveeta anymore, but that's because I've been a vegan for 15 years this October. Last summer, I made a wonderful discovery at the local food coop, though: Daiya's cheddar-style wedge. Sliced thin and grilled to perfection between two pieces of rye bread, this cheese-like food melts and tastes exactly as I remember Velveeta. Think I'm going to make my way to the kitchen and grill one up right now!

  • honeycombstudio

    Courtney Hamill from honeycombstudio said 6 years ago Featured

    I totally get it. I know there's nothing natural about it, and don't get me wrong, I like local cheese as much as the next gal, but I cannot quit American cheese (which I put in the same category as velvetta). I'm not proud of it but I would choose it over amost anything on a burger or a quesadilla. I guess it's my inner 8 year old :)

146 comments

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 6 years ago

    Love this! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • kathyjohnson3

    Kathy Johnson from kathyjohnson3 said 6 years ago

    Thank-you for that history on velveeta! One of my favorite meals is grilled cheese and tomato soup!

  • Cufflinked

    Cufflinked from Cufflinked said 6 years ago

    Interesting! Learn something new every day.

  • Challand

    Sharon Challand from Challand said 6 years ago

    Yum!!!!! Cheese!

  • agebo

    Ann Cosgrove from acbcDesign said 6 years ago

    Love the classic velveeta recipes! Reminds me of my Mom's old Betty Crocker cookbook. While I don't eat Velveeta hardly ever (and who knew it was actually BETTER than real cheese?), I recognize that the key to get that classic tex mex hot queso dip that I love is to use velveeta!

  • EdelweissPost

    Patrick from EdelweissPost said 6 years ago

    Who remembers the "Velveeta vs. Cheddar" commercial from the 1980s? Such a catchy song that was!

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign said 6 years ago

    Sarah, I love you. Your posts are such a spooky blend of anthropology, archeology, popular culture, and tasty snacks. I find every single one fascinating. I can truly think of nothing more revolting than processed cheese (OK, maybe natto) and I still love this post. That's some good writing. Thanks!

  • lcarlsonjewelry

    Liesl Carlson from lcarlsonjewelry said 6 years ago

    Thank you, I am a lover of the grilled cheese! I am going to make one this weekend. I had no idea that it was better for you then real cheese? Craziness! I love all the little tidbits of info you give in your posts.

  • janettebrown

    janette brown from janettebrownbags said 6 years ago

    i have been wondering why my grilled cheese didn't live up to my childhood memories of grilled cheese, now i know what to buy. And remember gilled balogna and cheese mmmmmmmmm

  • margaretjeske

    Margaret Jeske from TheCountryBluebird said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article! Thanks for the history about Velveeta cheese. : )

  • cathymarina

    cathymarina from CathyMarina said 6 years ago

    Uhmmm, yummy yummy. I swear Velveeta cheese is the best on the market. I have some White Rose processed sliced cheese I had for my cheese sandwich for breakfast and it just wasnt grand. I think I'll go buy me Velveeta as I go outside in a few. I did see that cheese sandwich special on the Today Show this morning and those sandwiches sure did look good :).

  • timelapse

    timelapse from timelapse said 6 years ago

    Having grown up on Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches, I loved this article!! And what a blast from the past to hear of one of my childhood favorites..'Nippy" cheese. It was the best! Great post!

  • burcuyurtolu

    Burcu Yurtoglu from HAMMAM34 said 6 years ago

    yummmyyyyy!!!!

  • antonpn

    antonpn said 6 years ago

    Velveeta ingredients: Milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate, contains less than 2% of salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, enzymes, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), cheese culture. Cheddar ingredients: Cultured Milk, Salt, Enzymes, Annatto (color). . . . . hrm. Easy choice.

  • GisieArt

    Giselle from MyArtAndFashion said 6 years ago

    Yummy!!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  • cdelahiguera

    Cassandra de la Higuera from FigTreeJewellery said 6 years ago

    Ewww, processed cheese food! Lol, my mom was definitely one that never used any processed foods if she could at all avoid them. Love grilled cheese though...

  • GisieArt

    Giselle from MyArtAndFashion said 6 years ago

    Yummy!!! Who doesn't love grilled cheese? Thank you for sharing!!! ;)

  • MyEverAfter

    Liz B. from GossamerandQuill said 6 years ago

    While I can't stand Velveeta, I will admit that the only way I make grilled cheese is with Kraft Singles... This coming from a fresh ingredients fanatic cook. ;)

  • PaisleyStreetFair

    PaisleyStreetFair from PaisleyStreetFair said 6 years ago

    I have to agree with antonpn- and to add my own thoughts: velveeta is some nasty, nasty industrialized "cheese." Do yourselves a beautiful favor and nourish your bodies with natural, soulfully made whole foods. But a sincere thank you for the history. Fascinating stuff.

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts said 6 years ago

    Learned a lot! We use Velveeta for queso and in a pototo soup recipe I have, but I haven't used it for grilled cheese sandwiches. I do have the song from the commercial stuck in my head now, though!

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares said 6 years ago

    I agree, Velveeta does make a yummy grilled sandwich. And it works well in queso too. How can something so processed taste so good? :)

  • MaruMaru

    MaruMaru from MaruMaru said 6 years ago

    Oh my! :)

  • neleh88

    helen from NewportRoad said 6 years ago

    My mother made us Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches, too. And they were especially good with a side of Campbell's Tomato Soup. Thanks for the memories!

  • esszee

    Sharon Zeisel from esszee said 6 years ago

    OOOOH! Looks delish!

  • amysfunkyfibers

    Amy Gunderson from amysfunkyfibers said 6 years ago

    There is nothing like a warm cheese toastie!

  • rockamecook

    rockamecook from loonlakevintage said 6 years ago

    Oh, such a warm blast from the past--does anyone remember Olive Butter sandwiches?

  • bagladybooty

    bagladybooty from bagladybooty said 6 years ago

    My husband is an incredible cook, and I love his grilled cheese sandwiches. I hate, however, when he uses anything other than sharp cheddar. I suppose that Velvetta is okay, but it ain't gourmet!

  • arainadanielle

    danielle from PinchedBeauty said 6 years ago

    I have to admit I never knew the difference in the processed cheese and the latter. I often have a hard time making a true decision at the deli counter over which cheese is less bad for me. Thank you for the great post! GO cheese!

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 6 years ago

    Great article! Grew up on grilled sandwiches with processed slices, but now I use cheddar cheese. Yum!

  • whyte

    Pat from whyte said 6 years ago

    I'm sure not rolling my eyes! I not only grew up on grilled Velvetta cheese sandwiches almost every Saturday at noon, but my Mom packed white bread with sliced Velvetta cheese sandwiches, tad bit of yellow mustard, lettuce, in my school lunch box and for train trips from St. Louis to Chicago. She wouldn't pack lunch meat because there was no way to keep it cold in a lunchbox 'in the old days', and I didn't care for peanut butter and jelly, the other warm sammie alternative. To this day I make Velvetta sammies and bring to work. Love 'em. And, it has to be Velvetta, no other processed cheese holds a candle, IMHO........and mac and cheese from Velvetta........nothing better!

  • H88255

    H88255 from HillarysSuperfoods said 6 years ago

    Grilled cheese a staple in most kitchens! Really yummy with cream of broccoli soup!

  • MagpieWorkshop

    Jeanne Berg from MagpieWorkshop said 6 years ago

    As children, my mom often made us Velveeta cheese sandwiches. Oddly enough, it was only during Lent.

  • grouphugquilts

    Samantha Nguyen from grouphugquilts said 6 years ago

    The link to the DIY Velveeta doesn't seem to work. I'm so curious!

  • TheresasGourmet

    Theresa Ryales from TheresasGourmet said 6 years ago

    Now for some tomatoe soup!!! Yumm

  • MinceCo

    minc eco from KissAndRunStore said 6 years ago

    Reminds me of being a camp counsellor in Wisconsin.

  • jessgreenleaf

    Jess Greenleaf from GREENLEAFblueberry said 6 years ago

    I admit I'm going to turn my nose up at the Velveeta, but grilled cheese can be such a cozy little meal. Just recently I've started making them with mild white cheddar, avocado slices, fresh spinach leaves, and a schmear of pesto.

  • andiespecialtysweets

    Jason and Andie from andiespecialtysweets said 6 years ago

    This makes Velveeta sound very appealing, to the point where I had to check the ingredients again and wonder why we ever raised the ruckus against cheese product in the first place. I think I found it, but don't let me spoil your fun. : ) Kraft makes all of their products from engineered crops and engineered ingredients. Europe forced Kraft Foods to remove genetically engineered ingredients from some of its well-known products in 1999, offering Europeans non-genetically engineered Kraft products. But here, in the good 'ol USA, Kraft states that it is "simply following FDA guidelines," when it comes to genetically engineered ingredients. And since the FDA is aggressively working to ban genetically modified warning labels on food, which also include herbicide-resistant crops... I think I'll stick with Real cheese please, and from a trusted company. But don't let me spoil anyone's fun, and gooey, grilled melt! : ) Just thought it should be mentioned.

  • andiespecialtysweets

    Jason and Andie from andiespecialtysweets said 6 years ago

    I'm with Karen Brown -love all your posts, Sarah!

  • SusanLoriDesigns

    SusanLoriDesigns from SusanLoriDesigns said 6 years ago

    I love Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Velveeta! Nice to know others still do too. My mother made them for us when I was a kid and I make them for my grandson today! Don't use Velveeta for anything else...but it rocks for Grilled Cheese Sandwiches! Nice article!

  • BeachGirlBeads

    Susan from BeachGirlBeads said 6 years ago

    I love Velveeta grilled cheese sandwiches. Velveeta and catsup are two foods that could survive a nuclear war. Think I'll make a sandwich right now.

  • emwi

    Emily Wirt from emwi said 6 years ago

    Oh velveeta, takes me back to my childhood. Love to see the history of this! Old ads are always so fun. Thanks for sharing and bringing back my sweet childhood memories.

  • harrachglass

    Carol from HarrachGlass said 6 years ago

    I love Velveeta, and my two dogs do too! When they have to take medicine and won't take a pill, I squish the pill into Velveeta and they inhale it!

  • PoleStar

    Jennifer Juniper from PoleStar said 6 years ago

    I hate myself for my love of processed cheese.

  • kbonn

    Karen from kbonn said 6 years ago

    I love Velveeta! Makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the world! :)

  • GoldenSpiralDesigns

    Lola Ocian from GoldenSpiralDesigns said 6 years ago

    Jason and Andie - Well spoken! Yeesh... I don't think I could suspend my disbelief in favor of nostalgia. Well, I didn't eat fake cheese as a kid, so I don't have a taste for it anyway. Then I learned about processed foods and I just can't hang. In the words of Samuel L Jackson, "Sewer rat might taste like pumpkin pie, but I wouldn't know cause I'd never eat the filthy [animal]." Can't decide which is worse: Eating salt-flavored plastic or supporting Kraft Evil Corp. Thanks for the controversial article. :)

  • richardlithgow

    Richard Lithgow from RichardLithgow said 6 years ago

    Mmm gooey.

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 6 years ago

    Add a hot bowl of soup and you are good to go.

  • eeartprints

    Emily Elizabeth from EEartstudio said 6 years ago

    Ahh... Velveeta grilled cheese. Reminds me of being a child. I think I know what I am having for dinner! Thanks!

  • meanjeanarts

    Jean from Meanjeanarts said 6 years ago

    Wow does this take me back. Although I haven't eaten Velveeta in years, my mom did have one of those wire cheese cutters and the cheese food was the filling of choice in our grilled cheese (on white bread). I switched to natural cheese while raising my own children. I would never trade in a good chevre, parmagianna, etc--but, I do feel a certain nostalgia for Velveeta, Cheez Whiz and (forgive me for this one) fried bologna.

  • Teaka

    Teaka Ritz from TeakaMarie said 6 years ago

    It's true fancy cheese is always amazing but sometimes going back to those generic items can be just as tasty.

  • joliefemme

    Diana from joliefemme said 6 years ago

    All our grilled cheese sandwiches include processed cheese and my niece and nephews always loved my mac and cheese made with it, not to mention chile con queso, delicious!

  • JewelChick

    JewelChick from JewelChick said 6 years ago

    I never knew anyone made grilled cheese with anything but Velveeta until I was an adult. ;)

  • JewelChick

    JewelChick from JewelChick said 6 years ago

    Oh -- and that bacon- flavored squeeze cheeze was soooooo good. I would actually eat celery if you put that stuff on it!

  • bonspielcreation

    ellen box from bonspielcreation said 6 years ago

    My mom used to grill processed cheese sandwiches open faced in the oven and we'd watch them puff up to about 2 inches tall and brown a bit.

  • sukran

    Sukran Kirtis from SukranKirtisJewelry said 6 years ago

    looks irresistible

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 6 years ago

    I always learn something new from you, thanks! I was shocked and surprised to find out about the melty American cheese. It tastes so good but I have to say that I try my best to eat a more wholesome cheese most of the time. Once in a blue moon I give in to nachos - my only Kraft cheese desire. I still like a sharp cheddar for my mac n cheese and my grilled cheese.

  • lepetitbijou

    lepetitbijou from lepetitbijou said 6 years ago

    Mmm...we always put creamy peanut butter in our grilled cheese...melty deliciousness. :)

  • jwlc

    Josephine from MettleMakes said 6 years ago

    Just in time for National Grilled Cheese Day! :)

  • vitamini

    Casey Starks from vitamini said 6 years ago

    "Our Velveeta melts much better! When the cookbook calls for cheddar, make it with Velveeta it cooks better!" Oh man, it's kind of embarrassing how much of that song I remember from those commercials! I had no idea how processed cheese was made. Thanks for the info! Now I want a grilled cheese!

  • JulieMeyer

    Julie Meyer from JulieMeyer said 6 years ago

    My mom new her way around a block of Velveeta and a can of cream of mushroom soup!

  • JulieMeyer

    Julie Meyer from JulieMeyer said 6 years ago

    ugh - knew that is

  • TheRobinsTree

    Robin from TheRobinsTree said 6 years ago

    YUM!

  • Fiume

    Erin O'Rourke from Aruguletta said 6 years ago

    Mmmm, Velveeta. I too would like to go back in time to experience Velveeta's heyday, even though the recipes sound absolutely horrible.

  • bedouin

    Nicole from Crackerjackarma said 6 years ago

    Two grilled cheese features this week ~ I'm in cheese heaven , though given the choice I'd pick the rainbow chard and gruyére grilled cheese. I've never tasted Velveeta before but its longevity like spam is kind of interesting.

  • theindiehandmade

    Ombretta from IndieLab said 6 years ago

    mmmmmm... delicious! I need a break ;)

  • MrPimm

    Meghan P from BustinCaps said 6 years ago

    welp off to the kitchen. Cheers!

  • mrsknarfocram511

    Carole M from CarolesWeddingWhimsy said 6 years ago

    Oh my.....I do remember the "slicer". There is nothing more heartwarming and comforting than a childhood meal. In our house, we had it with tomato soup made with milk. It was a snowy day favorite. I have made the snowy day favorite for my two daughters, however, I must admit, I use deli sliced cheese. Now....can we talk about how wonderful fried Spam with velveeta cheese tastes. Yes....I am a Spam child. Thank you for the trip down my gastronomical memory lane. I am off to have some Cheese Doodles. The orange fingers are just all that!

  • swaggjewelry

    April McGee-Riess from RawLuxGems said 6 years ago

    Oh my God, you're bringing back memories. I live in Germany now and you can't get cheese like this unless you have access to the Military base commissary. Can't wait to make these again.

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage from accentonvintage said 6 years ago

    Interesting article! Delicious cheesy treat!

  • auntjanecan

    Jane Priser from JanePriserArts said 6 years ago

    Astonishing history! Thank you!

  • ashjax25

    Ashley Jackson from AshOlogy said 6 years ago

    Mmmm, that would go great with some tomato soup!

  • ThriftatHome

    Margo from ThriftatHome said 6 years ago

    Fascinating. I've been learning about whey from a very different angle - from using it to ferment food! Now, those are flavors that are really diametrically opposed to cheese product. I find it fascinating that the original processed cheese was healthier! I have never ever liked American cheese (or pink bologna - whatever that was), even when I was a child. Always prefer the snap and bite of real cheese.

  • Waterrose

    Rose Waterrose from Waterrose said 6 years ago

    I love grilled cheese sandwiches made with velveeta... and with the right ingredients it makes a great nacho dip!

  • corinnerobertson

    Corinne Robertson said 6 years ago

    four nights a week I have gooey velveeta, chopped tomatoes, and chopped canned green chiles dip for dinner, with fresh crispy celery, Scoops chips and raisin toast. It's no trouble, and very satisfying with a pot of hot tea.

  • HoneyThistle

    Wei from HoneyThistle said 6 years ago

    I love this food series :) never knew Velveeta was supposed to be better than real cheese!

  • Tetsurohh

    J and Leigh from SKiNa9 said 6 years ago

    I could do this!! Looks delicious!

  • pinksnakejewelry

    pinksnakejewelry from pinksnakejewelry said 6 years ago

    Wonderful Post!!! Will have to give this a try!

  • NaturelMistik

    Naturel Mistik from NaturelMistik said 6 years ago

    Love the blast-from-the-past post! My southern roots are showing - I was raised on grilled Velveeta sandwiches with Campbell's tomato soup, sweet tea and my all time favorite - fried bologna on toast with mayo. Well, that and fresh sliced tomatos on white bread with salt and mayo. Oh yeah.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 6 years ago

    I have an awesome toaster that allows me to make toasted cheese sandwiches in it... I like Edam the best, but Gouda is good, as is Mozarella or any fairly squishy type of cheese & you can add whatever you've got handy; chopped tomatoes & sweet peppers, slivers of smoked salmon, a smear of Marmite. But to FRY a cheese sandwich, it makes my arteries clog up just thinking about it!

  • JennNycee

    Jennica Jennice from JNYCJWLZ said 6 years ago

    YUMMM!!!!!!! NOW IM CRAVING!

  • jewelrybyangelle

    Angelle McDougall from JewelryByAngelle said 6 years ago

    This is a great article. I totally remember that tangy smooth creamy taste of velveeta and I'm certain every relative I knew had one of those slicers. You really brought back some terrific and delicious memories for me. I loved Sunday evenings watching The Wonderful World of Disney and during the commercial breaks there were always recipes from Kraft - and they often featured something made with velveeta. Awesome.

  • HandcraftedorVintage

    Nelleke from HandcraftedorVintage said 6 years ago

    I am sorry, but when I see the picture of that block of cheese I get goose bumps :o) Living in a country famous for it's cheese (and I don't mean Gouda, that's not the cheese we Dutch like very much ourselves) I don't think I could ever use something like Velveeta to make grilled cheese.

  • TurquoiseTradingPost

    TurquoiseTradingPost from TurquoiseTradingPost said 6 years ago

    Nice piece! The part about 1/3 the calories and more protein than "real" cheese is interesting. Around our place, Velveeta is primarily used for fish bait - works well for catfish and trout both. I did eat it as a kid, and liked it. And it's not as "indestructible" as you might think, it will grow mold pretty readily once opened. I remember the chub of bacon cheese (and several other flavors) from the 1970s - at that time, it had a "nozzle" on the side of the chub that would allow you to squeeze it out of the packaging onto crackers or whatever. I've seen "Old English" cheese spread in little glass jars as recently as a few years ago... it may well still be in production. (Just checked, it's available in-store at WalMart).

  • eyecandyinteriors

    Diane Kintrea from EyeCandyArtifacts said 6 years ago

    My grandmother lived in house with an old trash burner next to the electric stove. One day she made me a sandwich which I will always fondly remember... She took two slices of Wonderbread and filled them with Velveeta and spread in a little of a product labeled "Sandwich Spread" a sort of sweet pickle relish and mayo, with a touch of yellow mustard type thing... then fried it in margarine to a perfect crispy golden brown in a skillet on the trash burner. And you know what? It was amazing. I have turned into such a snob.

  • skyvalleyjewelry

    Jennifer from skyvalleyjewelry said 6 years ago

    Mmmmm grilled cheese and a trip down memory lane.

  • JannettoH

    Janet Harris from Take2byJannetto said 6 years ago

    I am a cheese lover and i had totally forgotten what a great grilled cheese Velveeta makes! Thanks for the great reminder!

  • PaisleyBabylon

    PaisleyBabylon from PaisleyBabylon said 6 years ago

    hmmm, maybe you have never been poor, and forced to eat such things. Velveeta is not cheese, not good for your health and has a downright sinister texture and taste. Government cheese was Velveeta.

  • glitterandstones

    glitterandstones from glitterandstones said 6 years ago

    Delicious ! Love grilled Velveeta cheese sandwich It is yummy!!!!

  • posypower

    Karen from posypower said 6 years ago

    Wonderful article that has me planning a little vacation from veganism!

  • amylcherry

    Amy Cherry from RootToVine said 6 years ago

    You tell a great story!

  • VintageRescueSquad

    VintageRescueSquad from VintageRescueSquad said 6 years ago

    My dirty secret: I make grilled cheese sandwiches with Velveeta too.

  • FranceGallery

    France Gallery from FranceGallery said 6 years ago

    Yum!!

  • scampthecat

    scampthecat said 6 years ago

    Having 1950s era parents, I grew up on grilled cheese sandwiches living in Chicago. We had a special grilled sandwich/waffle maker that had an iron insert that could be flipped to a flat griddle side or the preferred grilled cheese sandwich side that was molded in the shape of two bread slices. Using the molded side, the edges of the bread would get sealed, trapping the melty cheese goodness inside the sandwich. My mom always used sharp American cheese from Wisconsin that was hand-sliced from a big block that came in a box. It wasn't until I was married that I ate my first grilled cheese sandwich made with Velveeta. My ex-husband made the sandwiches in a cast iron skillet with lots of butter. Definitely delicious, but the curious thing is he didn't called them grilled cheese sandwiches, but rather "Cheese Toasties." I have heard grilled cheese sandwiches referred to as Cheese Toasties by more than one person in Central Illinois and have always wondered about the origin of that.

  • mrichards7171

    Mary from folklove said 6 years ago

    Great story! I might have to give Velveeta a second chance. The last time I ate it was as a topping on a pizza my father prepared, complete with a Bisquick crust and Vienna sausage "pepperoni". Not anywhere near as appetizing as the grilled cheese shown here!

  • MeTees

    Shelly from metees said 6 years ago

    Velveeta does make the best hot creamy queso with chili dip ever! And how easy is putting a can of chili and cubed velveeta in a pan and melting it all together and then scooping it up warm on homemade tortilla chips. I cook very healthy foods 99% of the time, but when it comes to queso dip...this is it. Yummmm!! (Now I want it for breakfast.)

  • ban333

    Regina O. said 6 years ago

    I'm a cheese lover, but I just LOVE Velveeta cheese! In the past I'd been looking for a slicer on Etsy like my mother used growing up. Didn't know that it was the" official one", just like you posted! I wonder if I can get one just like that...

  • StarTribe

    Penelope Neil from StarTribe said 6 years ago

    Okay- this is hilarious for me because I'm in Australia, so we never had this cheese. We had fake cheese by Kraft but it was white coloured and still is. As much as I'm a passionate and ethical foodie, I'm still full in favour of junk and processed food, because it's the only way we can feed everyone now. But nothing- oh nothing- makes grilled cheese sandwiches better than real cheese. Vintage cheddar with a hint of English mustard, or Colby with black olives and thin slices of mushroom...if there's grilled eggplant laying around, put that in with some fine sliced red onion... Here in Aus. we have special machines to make grilled cheese with, it's less greasy and they puff up, so you can put more ingredients in. We call the resulting joy a 'toastie'. And now I need to go make one. At 1am! Cheese dreams ahoy.

  • ildigaray

    Ildi Garay from PitzicatVintage said 6 years ago

    My mouth is watering . I live in Budapest and we have nothing to compare. I used to smuggle Kraft slices into the country when I first came here. I called Kraft and asked if there was a problem if not refrigerated. They said " No problem"!!! So i would bring it along a few packages at a time. Now that I do not go back so often there is nothing I can melt that has the taste you describe. I guess next time back perhaps a big piece of Velveeta will do the trick.

  • PuraGioia

    Vicki Butler-Hagen from PuraGioia said 6 years ago

    Thank you for a very interesting article - boy does this take me down memory lane too! I loved Old English (heart attack in a jar). My new favorite for grilled cheese is brie with argula on artisan rosemary bread!!

  • Lilacskye

    Kate Bauer from MilkandHoneybread said 6 years ago

    This was actually really interesting ! lol put my in the mood for grilled cheese!

  • GoodJujuNH

    Good Juju from GoodJujuNH said 6 years ago

    I'm havin' grilled cheese tonite! Love your style, keep up the good work! xo, Terry

  • scootrgrl

    Janet from scootrgrl said 6 years ago

    Yes...I still use Velveeta but mostly for cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese. I cut up a few slices, bit of milk and microwave on low or med low stirring constantly, add a bit of prepared mustard after it's heated and you have a nice cheese sauce!

  • bgrkid64

    Arthur and Michelle Gonzalez from AMGCraftsandPhotos said 6 years ago

    Never knew it was healthier. Just another reason to eat grilled sandwiches.

  • empressjade

    Empress Jade from empressjade said 6 years ago

    I am instantly transported back in time to my Nana and Grandad's house where the appetizer of choice was always Velveeta smeared into celery sticks. I think there must have been a tray of that at every event, large or small.

  • losethecurse

    Sara from HiraganaAmericana said 6 years ago

    I love grilled cheese, as it is one of the only foods I can actually "cook" Now I have this article to link to when friends scoff at my processed cheese.

  • TeaandSquirrels

    Tilda from TeaandSquirrels said 6 years ago

    I was raised on a combination of velveeta, spam and deviled ham. I have since abandoned that way of eating, but I feel a bit of nostalgia every time I see those products :)

  • TabbiesandTrains

    TabbiesandTrains from TabbiesandTrains said 6 years ago

    Yummy - I grew up with Velveeta and Campbell's tomato soap (made with milk), so thanks for this story !! Just out of curiosity I'm going to see if my mom still had the wire/roller cutter we used too.

  • WestwardNarrative

    Anne from FreeRangeCowgirl said 6 years ago

    Wow, you are the Charles Osgood of Etsy. While I seriously love Etsy, at times I lament the persistent beating of the "love etsy" promotional drum that sits front and center in so much of the writing found here. Yet your piece, still achieving that end, did it was casual grace. I eagerly await your next piece! LOVE everything about blog post . . . the writing, the topic, the deep knowledge of the topic, the picture of the paper bag, the joy of a thing, the, well, everything. Now, I'm off to find your blog -- even though I'm not a foodie -- to add you to my weekly reading. Eager to be surprised by where you thoughts may wander. Cheers.

  • WestwardNarrative

    Anne from FreeRangeCowgirl said 6 years ago

    Wow, you are the Charles Osgood of Etsy. LOVE every thing about this piece .... The way it said Etsy's cool without beating that drum front and center; the topic; the deft blend of erudite and playful; the nostalgia; that a thing deemed lowly become thought provoking; the photo of the original packaging; and, well, every thing. So I'm off to find your blog -- though I'm not a foodie -- eager to be surprised by whatever it is you are writing about. And to whoever at Etsy thought to put this as a regular feature here BRAVO. This is fabulous content worthy of being read, as if it had nothing to do with PR. Editorially speaking, brilliant. Again .... I loved ever thing about this blog post, from the overtness of it's being, to the behind the scenes wonder of that. Surmise too, that my dinner tonight will be grilled cheese and a can of tomato soup.

  • BeachHouseLiving

    BeachHouseLiving from BeachHouseLiving said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the putting me back to my youth for a few moments. I would grin ear to ear when my mother offered to make grilled cheese sandwiches. She used Velveeta of course.

  • hensfeathers

    donna from hensfeathers said 6 years ago

    Super interesting. I secretly sometimes I have a hankering for a "Kraft singles" grilled cheese of my youth, now I won't feel as "guilty" about it and I might even break down and make one. I'm not too into the "log" form of the Velveeta though, it still weirds me out :)

  • nbottles

    Nicole Bottles from FreshSqueezedLymeAid said 6 years ago

    hahaha i am shocked by all the people who fondly remember velveta....i kind of thought it would be universally abhorred. i cried the first time i was forced to eat it as a child and have never touched the stuff since! having said that, i loved the history and dedication behind this article.

  • Easy123

    Michele from Easy123 said 6 years ago

    How interesting! Now I feel old, because we had one of those cheese slicers!

  • collectiblesatoz

    collectiblesatoz from collectiblesatoz said 6 years ago

    What a super idea.........will have to try my favorite grilled cheese with velveeta. Thanks for sharing this vintage story.

  • 22Joanna

    22Joanna from 22Joanna said 6 years ago

    And no one mentioned the chief use of Velveeta that I know of, mixed with a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes with chilis? Nothing else works. It makes a chili con queso style dip that is the THING down in Texas.

  • artphotographyprints

    Matthew Palmer from ArtPhotographyPrints said 6 years ago

    Sorry, but ... eww :)

  • auntcarolyn1

    Aunt Carolyn said 6 years ago Featured

    I see that I'm going to have to delve into your posts more often, Sarah! My mom made us the classic Velveeta grilled-cheese sandwiches cut just so into triangles and served with a cup of Campbell's tomato soup when we were kids, and we loved it. I don't eat Velveeta anymore, but that's because I've been a vegan for 15 years this October. Last summer, I made a wonderful discovery at the local food coop, though: Daiya's cheddar-style wedge. Sliced thin and grilled to perfection between two pieces of rye bread, this cheese-like food melts and tastes exactly as I remember Velveeta. Think I'm going to make my way to the kitchen and grill one up right now!

  • emilysmeese

    Emily from onewomancatpack said 6 years ago

    Wow. I just read this entire in-depth article and scrolled through all of these comments and nearly forgot that the entire thing is just about cheese. The things you find on Etsy...

  • BemusingBaubles

    Sarah Laguna from BemusingBaubles said 6 years ago

    Great article! Cheese product is always the way to go for grilled cheese. One of my favorite things when I was little was to spread Velveeta on a tortilla, fold it in half, and microwave it. Cheesy goodness.

  • lmouer

    Lynsey from lmouer said 6 years ago

    What a great story! So interesting! Thank you for sharing!

  • nudeedudee

    Kim Stewart from nudeedudee said 6 years ago

    Happy memories of Velveeta grilled cheese sammies with my siblings at Grams' house!

  • vintagepapergirl12

    Lori from PapersAndMore said 6 years ago

    It's so interesting how many people enjoyed grilled cheese sandwiches and Campbell's tomato soup, made with milk of course! It's a great combination and brings back warm memories from my childhood!

  • NinaRaizel

    Nina from NinaRaizel said 6 years ago

    Healthier than real cheese...? Not with all the preservatives and junk they add! I love me a grilled cheese every now and then, but I honestly prefer a good-old sharp-cheddar not-perfectly-melted-in-the middle kinda deal, instead of "processed cheese product."

  • momentintime

    Tracey from momentintime said 6 years ago

    As a kid, my Mom could only pack 2 things in my lunchbox that I'd actually eat. One of them was soda crackers and Velveeta cheese. To this day, I'll only eat grilled cheese sandwiches made with Velveeta. Totally nostalgic!

  • Shab2Chic

    Shab2Chic from Shab2Chic said 6 years ago

    Enjoyed your story .... Velveeta, who knew!! Now I wonder, how about adding some crispy bacon to it......OMG! My friend told me, last Friday was National Grilled Cheese Day....Think I'm tasting a delicious sandwich in my near future....Thanks again for the memories!

  • honeycombstudio

    Courtney Hamill from honeycombstudio said 6 years ago Featured

    I totally get it. I know there's nothing natural about it, and don't get me wrong, I like local cheese as much as the next gal, but I cannot quit American cheese (which I put in the same category as velvetta). I'm not proud of it but I would choose it over amost anything on a burger or a quesadilla. I guess it's my inner 8 year old :)

  • kgpaintings

    Kirsten Gilmore from PaintingsByKEGilmore said 6 years ago

    Excellent article. :) I prefer reading the historical, well-researched pieces, like this, over the mainly product-promoting articles on etsy.

  • nativestrandsjewelry

    Rachel from PeppersJewelry said 6 years ago

    Thanks for the great read full of history! I enjoyed the vintage pictures.

  • Ludwigsshop

    Jackie Ludwig from TheLudwigShop said 6 years ago

    mmmm such a comfort food!!

  • Retrodolls1950

    Linda Olsavsky from Retrodolls1950 said 6 years ago

    Goes great with tomato and bacon and a side bowl of tomato soup :-)

  • riajewelsandvintage

    ria from CandVBoutique said 6 years ago

    Great post. I Now want a grilled cheese sandwich yummy !

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 6 years ago

    Hubby says, 'Yay!" and I say, "Nay!"

  • OlliffStudio

    Deborah Olliff from OlliffStudio said 6 years ago

    Oh yes. Velveeta makes THE best grilled cheese sandwiches. Pair it with tomato soup and a salad and you have a meal. Especially yummy on dill rye bread.

  • kerriari

    Kerri from ResparkableVintage said 6 years ago

    wow! velveeta in a grilled cheese. i'm going to have to try it! people can knock it all they want, but velveeta apparently not only makes a mean grilled cheese, and it's also a KEY ingredient to making homemade queso! and now i know it's 1/3 the calories of regular cheddar AND has more protein! yay!!! thanks for this cool post! :)

  • NirvanaRoad

    Lisa from NirvanaRoad said 6 years ago

    Comfort food.

  • OctoberMansion

    Sandra Lightburn from ChatterSox said 6 years ago

    whoosh! I'm suddenly back in the 1960's eating my favourite grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. YUM! I think I need to buy just a tiny bit of Velveeta to have that wonderful taste experience once more. But will it live up to my memories?

  • Squeaky104

    Deb said 6 years ago

    I remember tuna melts with velveeta... tuna on an english muffin then topped with velveeta then baked or broiled......toasty melty yummilicious

  • LuckyNumberThree

    Cyndi Padro from ThirdTimesCharming said 6 years ago

    You've got to try making your grilled cheese sandwich with Velveeta and Raisin Bread....can't get much better!!

  • autumnvelvetrose

    Autumn Rose from ArtbyAutumnRose said 6 years ago

    love cheese!!! mmmm

  • ESTATENOW

    VINTAGE NOW from ESTATENOW said 6 years ago

    Love Grill Cheese, or any kind of CHEESE sandwich..

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 6 years ago

    I love my grilled cheese... :)

  • Motleycouture

    Motleycouture from Motleycouture said 6 years ago

    Nothing melts like velveeta for mac n cheese!

  • leahleaf

    Leah Moses from Yumyo said 6 years ago

    I think I'll pass, but an interesting history lesson nonetheless!

  • sarahrglover

    Sarah Glover from Fight4Life said 6 years ago

    ok! Sometimes there is nothing greater than going old school! Bring back what makes us happy it keeps things alive! Thanks for sharing.

  • barkercreek

    barkercreek said 6 years ago

    I found this site while searching for a processed "cheese in a box" that pre-dates Velveeta. The box was the same shape, but it was light yellow with little designs of some sort on it. I had the box from the time I was a child with my button collection in it, but got rid of it at some point. I don't remember my mom ever making grilled cheese with it, just cheese sandwiches, I think. It had pimento in it. I'm a bit of a cheese gourmet but I can't seem to break the hold of Velveeta for grilled cheese. Perfection. I'm happy to say, though, I have never, ever used Kraft Singles! It's bad enough to buy junk cheese, but to buy slices individually wrapped? Please.... That offends me on so many levels. I do have a cheese slicer, of course, the adjustable kind with a roller.

  • brenken6

    Brenda VanRootselaar said 5 years ago

    My mom always made my grilled cheese sandwiches with Kraft cheese slices. Then one day after I moved out on my own I bought a small box of Velveeta and made myself a grilled cheese sandwich. OMG, divine! I don't care if its no good for you, no other cheese will do for me. Now, I only eat this once in awhile. Everything in moderation!

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