Blech…That Was Not Worth the Fifty Cents in Savings

So, we made a really strong committment this week to really, really, really stay within our budget, and it has worked out.  To that end, I went on a grocery shopping trip yesterday to fill in the gaps in our pantry.  One such gap was cheese.  We use cheese a lot (too much probably, but that’s a different story) and we had just plain run out.  I ended up going to Winco, which is an employee-owned store that opened up nearby.  The quality and selection seems comparable to the big grocery chains, but the prices are a bit lower.  Anyway, I got to the dairy section for cheese.  I was a bit surprised to find that the Kraft 2 pound loaf was cheaper than the other brands by a good fifty cents. 

Now, let’s backtrack a little. I had generally stopped buying Kraft because they were owned by tobacco giant Phillip Morris.  I understand that it’s been spun off, but the behavior has held.  I’ll admit to have strayed when it came to mac and cheese and singles for cheese burgers, but not for the big general-use blocks.  Anyway, yesterday, I went for economy.

I regret it.

At first I thought that the sharpness in the flavor might have been a function of the fact that I normally buy mild cheddar at Costco, and this was medium.  But that couldn’t have been right. When I shop as Safeway, Fred Meyer or Albertson’s I tend to buy medium, and it doesn’t taste that sharp.

Then I made quesadillas for everyone.  I was shocked when my little 700 watt microwave, which usually takes at least 45 seconds to melt grated cheese, melted the sliced cheese to the point where it was escaping the tortilla and oozing all over the plate.  This is more than an aesthetic consideration, as Harry is quite offended when food does not stay strictly with in its defined boundaries.   If the smallest bit of cheese extends beyond the boundary of the bread on a grilled cheese sandwich, it’s not acceptable and must be corrected.

Well, tonight was grilled cheese/quesadilla night.   Well, there was no other way around the fact that Kraft was just a lower quality cheese.  It’s not sharper.  That’s just extra salt and oil dumped in to boost the so-called flavor and make it melt quickly enough to satisfy the American need for instant gratification. 

Well, I won’t be making that mistake again.  Kraft is back on my don’t buy list.


About Andrew

I'm a Christian, American, liberal, geeky, thoughtful, Northwest-transplanted Angeleno husband, father, and pundit who writes about anything he can think of.
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One Response to Blech…That Was Not Worth the Fifty Cents in Savings

  1. Ironica says:

    Yep, this is why everyone should always read the ingredients… If we all did only that, our nutrition would improve, just because we get tired of reading 8 pt. polysyllabic type after a while ;-).

    Kraft isn’t necessarily a total loss. Here’s their Organic Cheddar Cheese:
    Milk Pasteurized (Organic), Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzyme(s)

    …and that’s what cheese ingredients should look like. Milk, culture, salt, enzymes (or rennet). The different types of cheese are from using different cultures and processes.

    What you picked up was probably something more like Kraft Natural Mild Cheddar (or Medium or Sharp or Extra Sharp… all the same list):
    Cheese Cheddar ( Milk Pasteurized Nonfat and Milk Fat, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzyme(s), Annatto, Natamycin)

    Annatto is used for coloring. It’s one of the more harmless colorings used (some folks are allergic to it, but at least it is created in a real live plant instead of a lab), but you don’t NEED coloring if you’re doing things right. Natamycin is an antifungal, designed to keep Kraft “Natural” cheese from growing mold for longer. Then they use nonfat milk and add fat back in… who knows why, but they’re probably using lower-quality milk to begin with.

    (And I don’t even eat cheese…)

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