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If it's not Kraft it's not Parmesan


CtznCane
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You know, I almost always refer to the cheese as Parmesan, not "Parmigiano", let alone "Parmigiano-Reggiano".  Insisting on the Italian-- at least, when you're speaking in English-- just smacks of trying too hard, like calling the city "Firenze" instead of "Florence."

The reason people use the name Parmignano Reggiano is because that is the real name of a particular cheese from a particular area made in a controlled way. This is its NAME not an affectation. Parmesan is also a name, but refers to copies of that cheese. These copies are prohibited from using the name Parmigiano Reggiano for very obvious reasons. Because Parmignano Reggiano has been copied so often, it has become more important than ever to use the correct name so people understand what you are talking about.

I don't think anyone would argue (not me anyway) that it's not fine for anyone to use as much Kraft Parmesan as they want. Pile it on if you love it! It's also fine to prefer it to Parmigniano Reggiano. What is not fine is to think that Kraft Parmesan is an alternative to Parmigiano. It is a totally different product with a totally different flavor. The only thing they have in common is that that both names came from the town of Parma.

It is a completely different thing, and should not to be used as a social thermometer. And, it is an alternative to P-R. I personally find P-R too mild, it just goes away. Even straight up on its own, the second bite is no more flavorful than water. I know all the discussion about complexity, but cheese should be inherently cheesy to my mind. If I want something mild, I'll drink milk. If I want mild and complex, I will make a shake. If I want cheese, well then I want the flaor of cheese. Except when I want mozzarella, then I want mozz because it is mild and yummy with tomatoes and basil and vinegar. I find that simple cheese much more complex than the much vaunted P-R, by the way. Cheesiness, I love it, and it is not easy being cheesy. But those are my taste buds, and not yours. I am delighted that you have found something that curls your toes, and I mean that sincerely.

"Copies" of that cheese? OK, if you are a purist who insists on the original, and choose not to try anything outside of the scope, then you are entitled to that belief and obviously practice it. But it is like saying that you can't cook Italian in Brooklyn, Asian in San Francisco, or make wine in California. Kosher is kosher, around the world.

My favorite hard cheese is an Asiago that is sharp as a razor and that I buy regularly, although I will shake the green can from time to time, when I think it will hit the spot. I prefer the sharper cheeses, and always have. I think that "sour milk" description of Kraft has something to do with the sharpness. I love the creamy blues the best, slathered on a water cracker so nothing gets in the way, but do not personally care for the Maytag that is so fashionable right now. Needless to say, a Limburger sandwich with onion on seedless rye is a wonderful lunch from time to time, and fits the bill when I am hungry for it. I do not eat it on a daily basis. We have a preference for "stinky" cheeses in our house, to be honest with you.

Take what you like, leave the rest.

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Cheesiness, I love it, and it is not easy being cheesy.

I'll have to think on that for awhile. :blink:

I love stinky cheese as much as the next guy, but I also like diversity. I also find Gorgonzola very difficult to grate on my pasta. It really gums up the grater.

You may also have to take into account that I like pinot noir a lot more than shiraz. Power and stinky-ness in itself does not impress me.

If you think Parmignano Reggiano is bland and flavorless - you gotta find some better PR!

Edited by Craig Camp (log)
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Cheesiness, I love it, and it is not easy being cheesy.

I'll have to think on that for awhile. :blink:

I love stinky cheese as much as the next guy, but I also like diversity. I also find Gorgonzola very difficult to grate on my pasta. It really gums up the grater.

You may also have to take into account that I like pinot noir a lot more than shiraz. Power and stinky-ness in itself does not impress me.

If you think Parmignano Reggiano is bland and flavorless - you gotta find some better PR!

Oh, I'm all about diversity, and I have tried P-R up one way and down the other, in many different modes and methods. Have spent good money after bad, trying to understand.

The first taste is always a delight, and it may just be me, but the taste buds here in Annie's mouth seem to refuse to acknowledge the second taste, then it is all downhill and a let down from there.

I'm not a big fan of gorgonzola, unless it is crumbled on my spinach salad with great big salty olives and juicy tomato and cuke slices, which I am hungry for right now, and could literally inhale....

Well, have to go check on the bean soup. Putting cheddar on toast to go with.

:biggrin:

Edited, because I STILL can't spell

Edited by annecros (log)
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I think the saltiness of the Kraft grated/dried made-in-the-parmesan style cheese is why l liked it as a kid. I loved salt, and strong cheezy flavors (xtra sharp cheddars, stilton,etc). The GreenCan always had a weird texture tho.

Fresh PR doesnt cut it on top of red-sauce to my taste. I prefer romano for the extra sharpness, or more usually nothing. Pasta with nothing but olive oil and a metric ton of PR is a delight. And its a darn nice thing to be able to put it on the table in 20 min by grating it in advance and freezing it. Bless the freezer. One day we will re-establish the grating-at-table ritual, but for now, its nice to be able to make do. And bless the greencan, for all I dont like it anymore ( I did go and check at a friends house).

<yes,I know it doesnt take 20 min to boil pasta and grate cheese. Part of that time is spent prep'ing veggies etc. You dont like your cheese frozen, dont freeze it. It works for me. And gives the kid something to feel superior about when she's a teenage cook. ewwwww, my mom used to....ewwwwwww.>

Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Earlier this year I discovered parmiagiano-reggiano. I like it much better than the stuff in the can.

Last week I realized that I had a can of the parmesan cheese in the fridge that had expired in April. It looked the same as it did when I first bought it well over a year ago. It went promptly in the garbage.

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You know, I almost always refer to the cheese as Parmesan, not "Parmigiano", let alone "Parmigiano-Reggiano".  Insisting on the Italian-- at least, when you're speaking in English-- just smacks of trying too hard, like calling the city "Firenze" instead of "Florence."

I feel that the whole point is lost if we get into semantics. Call it Parmesan , Parmigiano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Kraft Green Box Stuff - it is irrelevant. Surely what IS relevant is the flavour.

I've just read annecros posts, where she notes that Parmesan does not have a second taste, where she thinks the second taste is like water.

Far be it from me to disagree with Anne's tastebuds! However, the original parmesans I've tasted ( and I stuffed myself with it at a wedding just last week) have multiple layers of flavour. Not one, or two, but many. There is no way on earth I would even dream of "comparing" it to a grated, boxed variety produced in another country, since there is no comparison. They are simply different; not better, not worse, but different.

Each of us is entitled to our opinion. I regularly grate piles of Uruguayan Parmesan, or Venezuelan Parmesan on top of my pasta, and complain not a whit!

However, when the real thing comes around, I notice the difference.

If you'd like a good USA comparison, try Coca-Cola in :

England

Venezuela

China

Australia

India.

:shock:

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I do not think this thread is at all about "snobbism". I think it relates to the issue of quality. In that I am reminded of the saying found in nearly all faiths.....

"If it is 'like' an egg, it is not as good as an egg". If you call it Parmesan or Parmigiano and it doesn't carry the seal of that Consortia di Parmigiano it ain't real Parmesan and it ain't as good!!!

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It's NOT Parmesan, it's Grana Padano! This was a new find today at Trader Joe's.

gallery_14452_2390_56865.jpg

It's a block of Grana Padano, inside a plastic casing, with a grater on the bottom. Just twist the top and, fresh grated cheese!

gallery_14452_2390_29425.jpg

View of the grater on the bottom (and the disclaimer that says it's authentic)

gallery_14452_2390_48871.jpg

It was more expensive than buying the (presumably) same Grana Padano in wedge form, but it had that cool gadget factor and I couldn't resist.

Pam

Pamela Fanstill aka "PamelaF"
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This discussion on hard cheeses had me noticing them more on my last trip to the grocery store. Interestingly, I picked up a wedge that was packaged as "Boar's Head brand Grana Padano", which then had the store sticker on it that said "Parmiagano Reggiano". I assume the manufacturer was correct in this case, but stuff like that just adds to the naming confusion!

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This discussion on hard cheeses had me noticing them more on my last trip to the grocery store.  Interestingly, I picked up a wedge that was packaged as "Boar's Head brand Grana Padano", which then had the store sticker on it that said "Parmiagano Reggiano".  I assume the manufacturer was correct in this case, but stuff like that just adds to the naming confusion!

In cases like this, I just assume someone at the store level is ignorant of the difference. Recently, we've been buying wedges of Appenzeller cheese at our local Safeway. The store stickers say "Swiss cheese." Yeah, it's from Switzerland, but...

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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I grew up with Kraft but abandoned it when I found the real thing. Since then I've always bought chunks of Parmiagano Reggiano, and served it to my kids. Over the summer I had a babysitter who bought and cooked meals for my kids. I came home one day to find a green can in my refrigerator, and I was horrified! Sadly, though, I found that my kids much prefer the green can to my freshly-grated Parmiagano Reggiano. That seems to happen far too often where my kids are concerned. Starting them off with the good stuff doesn't seem to make them immune!

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  • 2 weeks later...

After an absence I checked back and caught up on all the responses to the thread, so perhaps this post will run a bit long but in response to what a few have said -

do not think this thread is at all about "snobbism". I think it relates to the issue of quality. In that I am reminded of the saying found in nearly all faiths.....

"If it is 'like' an egg, it is not as good as an egg". If you call it Parmesan or Parmigiano and it doesn't carry the seal of that Consortia di Parmigiano it ain't real Parmesan and it ain't as good!!! _DanielRogov

Part of this thread initially was and is about snobism. About condescending attitudes of what is and isn't good. That it isn't parmigianno reggiano doesn't mean it isn't as good or better (totally subjective) only that it is different. In my fridge at all times I have parmigianno regianno and peccorino romano, and usually grana padono and assiago as well. Do I appreciate them? Yes. Are they always what I want? No. Sometimes I like good old Kraft Parmesan (and I don't keep mine in the fridge.) It may not be as complex, as subtle, or melt as well but that does not mean that it isn't good. Do you or others have to like it? No, by all means. Many others though who do not like it condemn it and make disparaging remarks about those who do enjoy it.

60 years! For sixty years, well before real parm became widely commercially available, this was the ONLY alternative for many years for the vast majority of the population of the United States. -AnneCross

Being that I'm 54 that puts me in the early years, starting when it was probably little over a decade old, and yes at a time Parmigiano Reggiano was not readily available. Is it cheese? yes. Is it Parmesan? Yes. Is it Parmigiano-Reggiano? No, and it doesn't pretend to be either. Kraft Parmesan has also probably led more of us to be open to going on to the fine Italian cheeses.

For me to try to make cabernet sauvignon here in the northern Willamette Valley would not do justice to that vine. There may be many consumers that love it, but it would not be an honest thing to do. That's how I feel about Kraft Parmesan, it's just not an honest product so it should not be used as it only degrades a dish.-Craig Camp

How dare you make Pinot Noir in Oregon when we have grown it here first in California and also to make a wine that earlier stemmed from France? Blasphemy I say! --- Honest? Get real. Kraft Parmesan is honest. Is it Italian? No. Does it pretend to be? No. Who are you too to say it 'degrades' a dish? Kraft Parmesan is no more a fraud to cheese than your Pinot is to California or French Pinot (and I do enjoy the Oregon Pinot's.) I do not take offense at your being passionate about your wine or about products from Italy, in fact I embrace your enthusiasm. I am however put off when you hoist yourself so high as to condemn my choices.

The point is its very EASY to cook well if you cook good stuff. - Craig Camp

Good stuff can be made with Kraft Parmesan and with other products that you feel are inferior. Beef brisket is an inferior cut of beef, does that mean a Texan can't make it melt in your mouth and leave you craving more? No. Maybe too the 'good stuff' or better stuff isn't the flavor I want for the dish. Does that make my choice inferior? No.

That's the answer isn't it? There's the real stuff and the imposters. Why should the imposters have the right to use the place-name of the real stuff. At some point there needs to be some respect for authentic producers and at the very least they should have their place-names protected and preserved.- Craig Camp

This I think is sheer lunacy. It isn't an imposter, it is what it is. It extends not only here to Parmesan but to other areas such as wine as well. They aren't attempting to rip-off the places name. They are simply identifying a type of product. I'm not saying Kraft is identical, it isn't. Could an America produce a parmesan cheese on a par with that from Italy? Quite possibly, I don't know. Would that make it an imposter? No. Only if it claimed to be from Italy would it be an imposter. The first Port I had was an American Port. Did I learn that port originates from and is primarily attributed to Portugal? Yes. Was I duped? No. In fact, liking it made me find out more and gravitated me towards Portugueese Port. If you want to talk imposters talk of forgers, otherwise (imho) it is overblown. Face it, those with any degree of knowledge or intelligence will know the difference and for those who don't, their opinions on the matter are truly inconsequential.

To be against a product like Kraft Parmesan is not sanctimonious, it's just caring about food. - Craig Camp

You care about your food and I'll care about mine. It isn't about caring, it is about taste. There is no right or wrong, simply an individuals like or dislike.

I may have misinterpreted the topic of this post but I didn't think the point was a debate about making anyone's cooking better, just an appreciation for an admittedly inferior product.

To compare putting Syrah into a Pinot Noir and calling it Pinot and Kraft's product and Parmesan is hardly equal. The topic of this post suggests that Kraft is not "Parmesan", which is a given. This type of debate irkes me, because it infers that cheap products are somehow "unworthy". They are out there because they are sold, and used by many, despite differing tastes. A steak is still a steak, whether it's ordered at Sizzler or Peter Luger.

I thought the point of the post was admitting a taste for an some what gauche product, and letting it be at that. No one suggested it was "good cooking".-Meridith380

You are right about the topic being, in part, about liking a product that may not be thought of as politically correct amongst food snobs. I expected and desired to hear the negative remarks as well because I think there needs to be more overall acceptance that many things can be good. How good is all up to individual tastes. I think it is right to educate people about the better things (or things we perceive as being better) as well. I for one, strongly take offense though at being told or hearing anyone be told that they are wrong and I feel that happens a lot here and out in the everyday world as well. ----- It is also true that some funky foods are just plain good or taste good. Kraft Parmesan is one of them. I like Kraft Paresan on chilli as well. No way in hell that I'd ever use a high grade Parmigianno there, that would be useless. Also there is the fact that it is a good old comfort food.

I'll own up to loving Miracle Whip--next to salt, it's the best thing to put on a fresh ripe tomato--and if you go over to the "Dinner!" thread and go back about 30 pages or so, you will see that I can turn Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner into a thing of beauty. -MarketStEl

Try substituting tomoatoes for lime with shots of good tequila. The combination is really nice.

Most of us here in the states who are over 30 have grown up by being initiated into the world of Italian style cheeses through good old Kraft Parmesan or something similar. As we've grown older (and hopefully wiser) we've been exposed to more and I for one have enjoyed the new experiences. In other areas I've been a part of the group that has so enthusiastically promoted the new while condemning the old but I've outgrown that type of attiude. I find the condemnation and vehemence much like the overbearing attitude of some of the born agains or other radical (imho) religeous groups. If an Italian from Italy had a problem with me calling it Parmesan I could change my terminology around that person. Same as with Port around one from Portugal or Champagne around a Frenchman (reluctantly) but to have that thrust upon me by someone else raises my dander and brings out the stubborn Swede in me.

All of us here on EG, whether we agree or disagree on a topic, I think we all share the desire to both learn from others and share with others and in the process we all grow better. I don't think (in fact I'm certain) we acheive that goal when we put down what others like. One can't validate their own view at the cost of putting down and discrediting someone elses. Only when we acknowledge the others viewpoint (whether we agree or not) can we then try to share something new which we feel (or know in our hearts) is better. This is actually just a simple sales situation (as most everything in life is.) If you have a better product you don't need to beat down the composition, just bring out the positives of yours. When you beat down the competition (in this case Kraft) if anything, to those who like the competition you send the message your product isn't good enough to stand on its own.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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Wonderful post, CtznCane, and you raise some valid points.

Over on Phillyblog, there is a live discussion in which a freelancer preparing an article for the Inquirer's Food section is soliciting people's favorite "cheats" -- pre-made/canned/powdered/boxed/what-have-you products that you slip into your "home cooking from scratch" while no one's looking or when you're feeling lazy.

I lamented the deprived childhood of a fellow poster who grew up eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese from the blue box and never experiencing homemade, then turned right around and commented that my cheat of choice is Hamburger Helper--a choice that another poster considered even more sinister than the blue box.

I think anyone who has had a meal from a mix would agree that it's usually* just not as good as the same thing made fresh from raw ingredients you supply. And I think that most of you out there who love Cheddar cheese would probably agree that given the choice, Cabot and Tillamook are preferable to Kraft extra sharp, and that Grafton Village or one of those English farmhouse varieties are even better still (and Pennsylvania Noble even better than those). But to suggest that the person who finds Kraft just fine is somehow unworthy of our respect? That's stretching it. And it certainly won't help anyone convince the person so snubbed that they can indeed do better (and in the case of Cabot or Tillamook, for not too much more than they're paying for Kraft).

I guess the problem is that it's an exceedingly fine line between asserting the superiority of something and coming off as a snob, and people trip over that line all the time.

*I also posted on Phillyblog that my partner absolutely loves Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni, and that try as I might, I simply cannot duplicate its flavor making hamburger mac 'n' cheese from scratch.

Edited to fix a punctuation problem, with a nod to the author of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves."

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Well in the UK the only thing that can be called Parmesan is Parmigiano Reggiano however it comes in many forms the worst being pre grated stuff that's only characteristic is to smell of old socks.

However I normally buy a chunk and use as needed.

Then I spent a year in the USA and went to a supermarket and bought "Parmesan" and thought the price was cheap. Thats when I discovered that the USA does not have the controls on food/drink that we have in Europe.

It wasn't that the cheese was bad but it was not Parmigiano Reggiano. In a similar way the things I was often served when I asked for a glass of Champagne ranging from vile sweet, carbonated muck to a really good Californian sparkling wine. At least in Europe if you ask for Champagne, Parmesan and you get a base quality and know what your getting.

From (my experience) buying good food in the USA is harder than in Europe, not that it isn't available but you have to get past more marketing, avoid fakes etc. Once I'd learn't that I was able to buy good food. Also in my time in Minneapolis I never saw an independent shop (fish monger/butcher/veg) however I did find a farmers market.

Now the parmesan I bought wasn't bad cheese but it was no way Parmigiano Reggiano and the resulting Risotto was distinctly below par.

One final thing, the one thing I wanted to taste from the USA was the Oregon white truffle but never managed it as I didn't know when I arrived and left just as the next season started.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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Pardon me for riffing off two posts in succession, but ermintrude's is also worth elaborating on.

Because America is a nation of immigrants, many of the culinary traditions we have--and many of the foodstuffs we use--are derived from some foreign practice or locale. Since no indigenous equivalents existed, our habit historically has been to appropriate the names of the places where they originated for our own adaptations or approximations. I have seen historic photos showing bottles of water from the famous Saratoga springs in upstate New York bearing the legend "Saratoga Vichy water."

You could call this an inferiority complex of sorts--if the water's good enough, it shouldn't matter that it's not from France--but it might also be (or have been) an easy way to get other Americans to accept products whose provenance tells them nothing about what to expect the way "Champagne" does when buying sparkling wine or "Roquefort" does when purchasing blue-veined cheese.

The country is now old enough to have developed its own regional specialties and traditions, and thus no geographic crutch is needed, say, to get a wine buyer to accept "Sonoma" or "Napa Valley" as marks of quality unto themselves or to specify Maytag blue cheese--or, for that matter, to distinguish Colby cheese from its cousin Cheddar. But that leaves a lot of products that we've come to know by their associations with their European (or other) forebears, "Parmesan cheese" being one of them.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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After an absence I checked back and caught up on all the responses to the thread, so perhaps this post will run a bit long but in response to what a few have said -

do not think this thread is at all about "snobbism". I think it relates to the issue of quality. In that I am reminded of the saying found in nearly all faiths.....

"If it is 'like' an egg, it is not as good as an egg". If you call it Parmesan or Parmigiano and it doesn't carry the seal of that Consortia di Parmigiano it ain't real Parmesan and it ain't as good!!! _DanielRogov

  Part of this thread initially was and is about snobism.  About condescending attitudes of what is and isn't good.  That it isn't parmigianno reggiano doesn't mean it isn't as good or better (totally subjective) only that it is different.  In my fridge at all times I have parmigianno regianno and peccorino romano, and usually grana padono and assiago as well.  Do I appreciate them? Yes.  Are they always what I want? No. Sometimes I like good old Kraft Parmesan (and I don't keep mine in the fridge.)  It may not be as complex, as subtle, or melt as well but that does not mean that it isn't good.  Do you or others have to like it? No, by all means.  Many others though who do not like it condemn it and make disparaging remarks about those who do enjoy it. 

  60 years! For sixty years, well before real parm became widely commercially available, this was the ONLY alternative for many years for the vast majority of the population of the United States. -AnneCross

  Being that I'm 54 that puts me in the early years, starting when it was probably little over a decade old, and yes at a time Parmigiano Reggiano was not readily available.  Is it cheese? yes.  Is it Parmesan? Yes.  Is it Parmigiano-Reggiano? No, and it doesn't pretend to be either.  Kraft Parmesan has also probably led more of us to be open to going on to the fine Italian cheeses. 

  For me to try to make cabernet sauvignon here in the northern Willamette Valley would not do justice to that vine. There may be many consumers that love it, but it would not be an honest thing to do. That's how I feel about Kraft Parmesan, it's just not an honest product so it should not be used as it only degrades a dish.-Craig Camp

    How dare you make Pinot Noir in Oregon when we have grown it here first in California and also to make a wine that earlier stemmed from France? Blasphemy I say! ---  Honest?  Get real.  Kraft Parmesan is honest.  Is it Italian? No.  Does it pretend to be? No.  Who are you too to say it 'degrades' a dish?  Kraft Parmesan is no more a fraud to cheese than your Pinot is to California or French Pinot (and I do enjoy the Oregon Pinot's.)  I do not take offense at your being passionate about your wine or about products from Italy, in fact I embrace your enthusiasm.  I am however put off when you hoist yourself so high as to condemn my choices.

The point is its very EASY to cook well if you cook good stuff. - Craig Camp

  Good stuff can be made with Kraft Parmesan and with other products that you feel are inferior.  Beef brisket is an inferior cut of beef, does that mean a Texan can't make it melt in your mouth and leave you craving more? No.  Maybe too the 'good stuff' or better stuff isn't the flavor I want for the dish.  Does that make my choice inferior? No.

That's the answer isn't it? There's the real stuff and the imposters. Why should the imposters have the right to use the place-name of the real stuff. At some point there needs to be some respect for authentic producers and at the very least they should have their place-names protected and preserved.- Craig Camp 

  This I think is sheer lunacy.  It isn't an imposter, it is what it is.  It extends not only here to Parmesan but to other areas such as wine as well.  They aren't attempting to rip-off the places name. They are simply identifying a type of product.  I'm not saying Kraft is identical, it isn't.  Could an America produce a parmesan cheese on a par with that from Italy? Quite possibly, I don't know.  Would that make it an imposter? No. Only if it claimed to be from Italy would it be an imposter.  The first Port I had was an American Port.  Did I learn that port originates from and is primarily attributed to Portugal? Yes.  Was I duped? No. In fact, liking it made me find out more and gravitated me towards Portugueese Port.  If you want to talk imposters talk of forgers, otherwise (imho) it is overblown.  Face it, those with any degree of knowledge or intelligence will know the difference and for those who don't, their opinions on the matter are truly inconsequential.

To be against a product like Kraft Parmesan is not sanctimonious, it's just caring about food.  - Craig Camp

You care about your food and I'll care about mine.  It isn't about caring, it is about taste.  There is no right or wrong, simply an individuals like or dislike.

I may have misinterpreted the topic of this post but I didn't think the point was a debate about making anyone's cooking better, just an appreciation for an admittedly inferior product.

To compare putting Syrah into a Pinot Noir and calling it Pinot and Kraft's product and Parmesan is hardly equal. The topic of this post suggests that Kraft is not "Parmesan", which is a given. This type of debate irkes me, because it infers that cheap products are somehow "unworthy". They are out there because they are sold, and used by many, despite differing tastes. A steak is still a steak, whether it's ordered at Sizzler or Peter Luger.

I thought the point of the post was admitting a taste for an some what gauche product, and letting it be at that. No one suggested it was "good cooking".-Meridith380

You are right about the topic being, in part, about liking a product that may not be thought of as politically correct amongst food snobs.  I expected and desired to hear the negative remarks as well because I think there needs to be more overall acceptance that many things can be good.  How good is all up to individual tastes.  I think it is right to educate people about the better things (or things we perceive as being better) as well.  I for one, strongly take offense though at being told or hearing anyone be told that they are wrong and I feel that happens a lot here and out in the everyday world as well.  -----  It is also true that some funky foods are just plain good or taste good.  Kraft Parmesan is one of them.  I like Kraft Paresan on chilli as well.  No way in hell that I'd ever use a high grade Parmigianno there, that would be useless.  Also there is the fact that it is a good old comfort food.

I'll own up to loving Miracle Whip--next to salt, it's the best thing to put on a fresh ripe tomato--and if you go over to the "Dinner!" thread and go back about 30 pages or so, you will see that I can turn Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner into a thing of beauty. -MarketStEl

Try substituting tomoatoes for lime with shots of good tequila.  The combination is really nice. 

  Most of us here in the states who are over 30 have grown up by being initiated into the world of Italian style cheeses through good old Kraft Parmesan or something similar.  As we've grown older (and hopefully wiser) we've been exposed to more and I for one have enjoyed the new experiences.  In other areas I've been a part of  the group that has so enthusiastically promoted the new while condemning the old but I've outgrown that type of attiude.  I find the condemnation and vehemence much like the overbearing attitude of some of the born agains or other radical (imho) religeous groups.  If an Italian from Italy had a problem with me calling it Parmesan I could change my terminology around that person.  Same as with Port around one from Portugal or Champagne around a Frenchman (reluctantly) but to have that thrust upon me by someone else raises my dander and brings out the stubborn Swede in me. 

  All of us here on EG, whether we agree or disagree on a topic, I think we all share the desire to both learn from others and share with others and in the process we all grow better.  I don't think (in fact I'm certain) we acheive that goal when we put down what others like.  One can't validate their own view at the cost of putting down and discrediting someone elses.  Only when we acknowledge the others viewpoint (whether we agree or not) can we then try to share something new which we feel (or know in our hearts) is better.  This is actually just a simple sales situation (as most everything in life is.)  If you have a better product you don't need to beat down the composition, just bring out the positives of yours.  When you beat down the competition (in this case Kraft) if anything, to those who like the competition you send the message your product isn't good enough to stand on its own.

I disagree.

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Hear, Hear, Ctzen Kane. A well-thought response.

There's nothing wrong in liking Kraft Parmesan.

Or CheezWhiz

Or Koolaid

Or a Big Mac.

DAMN! We used to eat fried bread smothered with ketchup for breakfast!!! :wacko::huh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

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Okay, okay, so you're up in arms a bit.  Down deep though, for those of us who were kids in the late 50's and 60's, Kraft and Parmesan go together.  Kraft Parmesan cheese is darned near as American as Baseball and Hot Dogs.  Growing up we only faintly heard about Parmigiano Reggiano, and did not hear of Grana Padano, and Asiago.  Romano we were familiar enough with too though since Kraft made Romano cheese as well.  Still, to those of hear in the states (and it may still hold true) if you mentioned the word "Parmesan" people thought of Kraft.

  Fortunately, in the early 70's I learned about Parmigiano Reggiano and I was, for quite awhile cured of my former passion for Kraft Parmesan.  Through the years I've learned to enjoy other Italian Cheeses as well as Cheeses from many other places as well.  I must say that I thoroughly enjoy these cheeses and appreciate them to no end.

  Recently, a few months back, perhaps influenced by walking by the display for so long, I found myself looking wantonly at the display of hat jarred Kraft Parmesan Cheese.  Maybe it was the updated packaging and not that cardboard like container that looked like a can of Comet that made it so intriguing.  Whatever it was, I couldn't resist any longer and I bought a jar.  In fact I bought 2 jars. I wasn't sure just how soon I'd use it but I knew I just had to have it.

  It didn't take me long to make a plate of pasta, just with some garlic and olive oil and annoint it with my Kraft Parmesan.  My goodness, what had I been missing?  No, it may not be classy, perhaps not politically correct amongs foodies, and certainly offensive to the snobs of the food world who wouldn't consider calling anything American 'parmesan' (of course these same folks get pissy when one calls a sparkling wine a champagne as well) yet for many of us (taking the liberty) Kraft really does, based on our childhoods mean Parmesan cheese to us.  Besides that, it still, after all these years tastes good.

  No, I'm not going to substitute Kraft for Parmigiano Reggiano in my pesto or other Italian dishes but I am going back to using it frequently on spaghetti and other pastas at times.  One dish, for which one must use Kraft Parmesan on though is Chilli.  That Italian stuff just doesn't stand up to the Kraft on a good bowl of Chilli.  Green Bean Casserole, Best Foods Mayo, Tuna Noodle Casserole with crushed potato chip topping, jello salad, and the like.  COmfort foods, real foods, foods of our youth.  Add to that Kraft Parmesan cheese, when it comes down to those familiar staples, certainly Kraft Parmesan was right up near the top of the list. 

  It's time to admit and own up to our passions, to come out of the closet, throw away our food correctness and say, yeah, think parmesan? Think Kraft.

Sorry, I don't have time to go through this entire thread, and if someone else has already addressed this, I apologize.

You'd better not "think Kraft" if attempting to make any of the classic Italian cream sauces, such as Alfredo.

Much to my dismay I discovered one evening that the green cardboard cylinder did not contain a substance that acted like, well, cheese.

The dish was Fettucine Alfredo and the scene was the cooking line in a busy restaurant. I had run out of the real deal and sent a dishwasher to a (upscale) nearby grocery to get some "parmesan." The only thing he knew was the Kraft stuff. He returned with a dozen of the green cylinders. We popped them all and dumped them into a couple of inserts for the line.

It won't melt folks. It remains granular when added to the cream. It was downright nasty. I had to take the Alfredo off the menu for the evening.

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The only place I really had the Green Can stuff...(Colonna jar at home) was my former in-laws. At their house it was either Locatelli brand Romano cheese grated at the table or the Green Can :huh:

tracey

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Now that you mention it, Chef Carey, that is a significant difference between Kraft Parmesan and not only genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano but even many varieties of domestic Parmesan, including some pre-grated brands, like 4C "Homestyle," that are widely available in supermarkets.

When I cover my mountain of spaghetti and sauce with Kraft "snow," it remains "snow." The others melt and turn translucent.

Which means that if you want that "snow-topped" visual effect, Kraft is the way to go. Otherwise, let your taste buds be your guide.

Time, I guess, to read the ingredients list on those jars of pre-grated cheese to find out exactly what has been added to or altered in the Kraft product to make it so resistant to melting.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

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  • 14 years later...

No idea why this popped in my mind during a discussion tonight. I have never used the green can.  My mother is half Italian and she lets me down at times buying shaved parm but I love cheese so I spend it on the real parm reggiano. Salty  sharp and perfect with some butter and loads of fresh pepper. 

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7 hours ago, MetsFan5 said:

No idea why this popped in my mind during a discussion tonight. I have never used the green can.  My mother is half Italian and she lets me down at times buying shaved parm but I love cheese so I spend it on the real parm reggiano. Salty  sharp and perfect with some butter and loads of fresh pepper. 

 

I agree, there's simply no comparison.  I got my neighbor hooked on it when I baked up some breadsticks that were buttered and dusted with real Parm and Fleur de sel.  

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