There’s no other food in the world quite like Velveeta, which was invented by a man named Emil Frey back in 1918. It’s smooth and creamy, melts like a dream, and is one of those truly all-American foods. This pantry staple (especially during the 1950s) might seem as straightforward as any other processed cheese, but there are most likely a few things you didn’t know about it.
It’s Not Cheese
Real cheese was originally a part of the recipe, but today it’s primarily milk protein concentrate and whey protein concentrate mixed with fat, milk, preservatives, and stabilizers, which the FDA doesn’t officially recognize as cheese. In 2002, they were forced to change their official designation from Pasteurized Process Cheese Spread to Pasteurized Recipe Cheese Product.
It Was Once Considered a Health Food
In the 1920s Velveeta was advertised as a health food, and several years later it became the first cheese product to gain the American Medical Association’s seal of approval.
It’s Creamy Because it Contains both Whey and Curd
Like cream cheese, Velveeta contains both whey and curd, resulting in a creamier product. The whey is drained off of most cheeses, which are made from the resulting curd.
There are More than 30 Varieties
Today, Velveeta is a lot more than just a brick of cheese product. There’s the popular shells and cheese, of course, as well as variations including broccoli rotini and cheese, Nacho Supreme Cheese Skillets, Cheese Bacon Scalloped Potatoes, and Cheesy Chili Cornbread Casserole.
There’s a Recall On
If you’ve recently purchased a package of Velveeta with an expiration date of 17 DEC 2014 and a time stamp between 10:54 and 14:35, you’re going to want to return it for a refund; 260 cases have been recalled because of a lower level of sorbic acid, a preservative.