The sun was barely up and I'd already learned more than I ever wanted to know about American cheese.
Its hard to believe anyone can call it cheese. In some cases, in fact, they can't. To adhere to federal mandates some American cheese must be called processed cheese, cheese food, or in cases where company standards are especially low, American slices, or singles.1
For real cheese lovers, its a little sad.
Somewhere in the murky, long-ago branches of the American cheese family tree, however, is real cheese, from actual milk, given by genuine cows. Made in the traditional cheddaring process developed centuries ago in Somerset, England, early American colonists brought the technique with them and by 1790, wheels of cheddar were being exported back to England, where it was called Yankee or American cheddar, while back in the colonies it was known simply as yellow or store cheese.2
Velveeta became the darling of mid-century homemakers. I think my mother was the only American housewife who eschewed the ubiquitous block of plastic-y yellow cheese-like product. As a teenager, I remember seeing Velveeta in the refrigerator of a family I was babysitting for. I tried cutting some as a snack, and when the knife wouldn't cleave the loaf, I quickly re-wrapped the lump of squishy stuff and have been suspicious of it ever since.
Today's recipe features this iconic American ingredient. I would probably substitute shredded cheddar for Velveeta, but in some cases it can work well and be good. This is a fairly old recipe card. Based on the condition of the card, as well as the nature of the script, I'd say its from the 1950s. The technique part of the recipe is quite abbreviated, but most should be able to read through it. Let me know if you get stuck!
Have fun with your American "cheese"!!
3 cups chopped potatoes
1 cup water
1/2 cup carrots
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup onion
1 tsp parsley flakes
2 cups chicken broth or bouillon cube
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
Cook all ing. together 30 to 1 hr.
2 tablespoon flour
1/2 cups milk
1/2 pound Velveeta cheese
Add to veg & cook