Friday, January 09, 2004

Dog Cheese

One of my dogs is on pain medication due to arthritis and the only way I can get her to take the pill each morning is to wrap a little cheese around it. The best type of cheese to use is pasteurized process cheese. You know, those packets of soft sliced cheese that melt so easily on a cheeseburger? Since they melt so easily they are also easy to shape into a little pellet around the pill. Kate loves it.

Anyway, I noticed I only had one slice of cheese left this morning so I put "dog cheese" on my grocery list. Later I stood in front of the dairy case studying the packets of process cheeses. Not all process cheese is created equal. I picked up a package of cheese that read, "pasteurized process cheese," then another package that read, "pasteurized process cheese food", then another package that read "pasteurized process cheese product," and, lastly, a package that read,"imitation process cheese." Why do I have the feeling that with each package I pick up I am moving farther and farther away from real cheese and farther and farther away from real food. I buy the "pasteurized process cheese."

When I get home I look up "cheese food" on the Internet and find the following information.

1. Process Cheese is made from real cheese that has had an emulsifier added to it which allows it to be melted and molded into blocks of soft cheese that melts quickly when heated. These blocks are sliced and packaged into individual slice packs.

2. Process Cheese Food has less cheese than Process Cheese, only 51%, and has had dry milk, whey solids, and milkfat added.

At what point does cheese stop being cheese?

3. Process Cheese Product has even less cheese than Process Cheese Food and more dry milk, whey solids, milkfat.

4. Imitation Process Cheese is just what it says it is, imitation process cheese. It has no cheese and is made from vegetable oil.

So, I'd say the last two aren't even real food. Now I wonder how much of the food at the grocery store can be considered real food.

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