The many evils of fake cheese

Last updated 06:15 17/07/2014

CHEESE, YOU SAY? When the 'cheese' in this creation amounts to an over-processed, relatively tastless, bright yellow slice of fat - it seems ridiculous to call it a cheeseburger.

Ganesh Raj
SPEAKING UP: Our resident Crimes Against Food writer, Ganesh Raj.

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Anyone who's been gleefully scoffing fake cheese in crisps and imposter pasta dishes all their life will have built up some tolerance.  The same kind of tolerance you build up if your parents force you to listen to Kenny G every evening.

What is this stuff? It's as if some evil genius has personally researched the tastebuds of the masses, rooted into our darkest psyche for forgotten guilty pleasures and tailored something to flick every switch.

Sure, there's plenty of umami in there, plenty of salt and MSG - hell for all I know there's catnip and dandruff.

And where is this stuff made? I have heard that there are men in hidden factories researching cheese powder to satisfy our dark desires.

They move around cleanrooms in paper suits, their voices hushed as they ply their great machines, pack product into huge drums and seal them carefully.

Trucks of it move across the country to depots where it's mixed with innocuous snack products, decorated with bright colours and jaunty cartoon symbols before distribution to street level traders.

The other darker tale is that somewhere on the planet, evil cheese companies have a factory where they manufacture the "stuff" that sells in those cans.

Unbeknownst to most, the "factory" is actually what is internally known as a "dandruff farm."

Legend has it that these evil cheese companies lure homeless people into the facility, and allows them to sleep in a large room that contains hundreds of cots.

Each morning, after they wake up and move on, the company has a giant machine that gently shakes each cot which collects all the dandruff and ships it to a processing plant. It is there that the white flakes are ground into a consistent texture and placed in cans labelled with "100% Real Parmesan Cheese." Take THAT with a pinch of salt.

By the parmesan cheese and vomit contain the same chemical: Butyric Acid. Most people are unable to detect Butyric Acid, but if you're a person who thinks Parmesan cheese smells like vomit, don't fret... You are not alone - you have a very unusual and advanced sense of smell.

Most mammals can detect butyric acid in concentrations above 10 parts per million. Mammals with an extreme sense of smell (like dogs) can detect much lower concentrations.

So if you are the rare individual that can actually taste the parmesan, be proud! You are the elite! And if you still eat the stuff, you deserve to smell puke.

But here's a crazy idea? How about eating some real cheese.

You can get it at any supermarket or dairy, and while it's a little pricier than the stuff in the can, you can at least take solace in the fact that you're not feeding your family dried fake food.

Buy the real thing and keep it in your fridge (yeah, it might go a little mouldy, but that's what cheese does. Just scrape off the mould and stop whining) and pull it out when you need it.

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Get a grater and grate it when you actually need to use it (once removed from the wedge, grated cheese loses flavour rapidly).

It will taste infinitely better. And you can take solace in the fact that Kenny G has not gotten the better of you.

- Stuff


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