Apparently, when Velveeta was first introduced in the 1920s, it was, indeed, made from cheese. Somewhere along the way, it became the jiggly loaf of preservatives and protein concentrates we know today. And yet, despite the fact I can only pronounce the words for a fraction of the faux cheese’s ingredients, I would still devour a grilled cheese made with Velveeta, day or night.
Admittedly, part of my appreciation for the pseudo queso is nostalgia. It was a staple at my grandparent’s house – always a fresh foil-wrapped block in nana’s “icebox” – and often I would just slice off a chunk and eat it. However, my grandmother would slice it thin and serve with crisp iceberg lettuce and Miracle Whip on cheap white bread. Zero nutrition but all the love went into those sammies, and I still very occasionally will make one in her honor.
Later, as a teenager and young adult, I perfected the fine art of late-night-grilled-cheese making and Velveeta, being the melt-master it is, was always the preferred ingredient. No longer interested in Wonderbread, I switched to firm sourdoughs and whole grains for the exterior of my grilled cheese, and yet still wanted Velveeta – or those individually wrapped, American cheese slices – for the middle. Many items have been said to melt like butter, but in Velveeta’s case, it is the truth.
Today, I’ll occasionally buy the calcium-poor orange rectangle, but only about as often as I buy packaged bologna to fry up on the stove top like it’s 1987 and my mom’s still at work. This summer, Velveeta introduced a “Veltini” cocktail recipe and that was a hard pass for me. But Velveeta in its simplest form is a once-in-a-while treat and lifelong guilty pleasure.
So what’s your guilty pleasure?
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.