9 years ago: Cheetohs of mass destruction

From this blog, Jan. 21, 2004: Cheetohs of mass destruction

The Cheetoh-factor, in which every additional adjective makes the noun in question less true:

• “Cheese” = cheese

• “processed cheese” = cheese, sort of

• “processed cheese food” = cheese, sort of, plus other stuff that’s not cheese

• “processed cheese food snack product” = the food in question is orange, but contains no actual cheese.

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  • PurpleAardvaark

    And still relevant today. Real cheese comes from places like Stone Meadow Farm where the milk from the cows is used to make the cheese that is sold by the farmer at the farmers’ market. The further you get from there the closer you get to Tate Cheese and CheeseToes.

  • http://beholdconfusion.wordpress.com/ beholdconfusion

    CheeseToes sound pretty good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    What’s Tate Cheese? 
    I’d try Cheese-Toes, what flavors do they come in?

  • PurpleAardvaark

     About 32 years ago, I had to pass through a dot on the map named Valley City, Illinois, every day on my way to work. In Valley City there were 2 bars, a few ramshackle houses, and a large 3 story brick building which was the home of Tate Cheese.  According to local legend, Mr. Tate had developed the process which made Velveeta and sold it to Kraft with a non-compete clause. On the day that the non-compete clause expired, he opened up as a competitor.  I have always thought of Tate Cheese as one step below Velveeta despite the attractive pictures on the side of their trucks.  I even saw some in the dairy case of an IGA in Pennsylvania several years after I migrated eastward.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Thanks for the reply, learn something new every day.
    Is Tate Cheese still around?

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    Somewhat indirect, but per the Wikipedia article on Griggsville Landing, Illinois, Tate Cheese closed in the late 1990s.  On the other hand, it’s not clear whether that means the entire company, or just that plant; it’s possible it may survive by branding cheese made by someone else, or elsewhere.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Stone Meadow Farm stuff is significantly more expensive than, say, Velveeta. Or even grocery-brand cheese.

    I used to buy organic food all the time. I do not any longer. Can’t afford it. And theoretically, I could send my husband to the farmer’s market half an hour  (in Florida, with the most dangerous drivers I know of) away, but I could not go there myself, even if I could afford the produce and prepare it (neither of which I can do). If I had to, and if I could drive or get driven, I would be able to tool around the grocery store in one of those motorized carts. Plus, knowing the people at our grocery store, they’d send someone with me to grab stuff off shelves, or even have everything ready for me before hand.

    “Juice drinks” are also cheaper than “100% juice”. And so on. 

  • P J Evans

     I’m lucky that my supermarket has a deli cheese section where they frequently have stuff that’s half-price. I’ve met some interesting cheeses that way, including real Cheddar and real Roquefort.

  • Münchner Kindl


    Stone Meadow Farm stuff is significantly more expensive than, say, Velveeta. Or even grocery-brand cheese.

    The first question is quantity vs. quality: do you want a half-pound bloc of cheap cheese that tastes like artifical, or half that amount of real cheese where you have full taste for each bite?

    I admit that it takes time though to develop your taste buds if you have been eating the cheap artifical stuff for years.

    Second, if you do have access to an organic supermarket, they will have different things on sale each week.

    Lack of access to organic supermarkets is tough, though.

    “Juice drinks” are also cheaper than “100% juice”. And so on.

    Depends: if you buy 100% juice and dilute it yourself (because of the fruit sugar already there) you probably get the same price or cheaper.

  • Münchner Kindl

    Fred, there’s one step before which you missed:

    (Name of specific cheese: Gouda, Edamer, Mountain cheese from region x, Cheddar, …) = real cheese

    “cheese” = something that resembles real cheese

  • The_L1985

    And let’s not forget:  “Fruit Drink With Natural Flavors.”  Maybe 5% of the ingredients were once part of a fruit, but they bear no resemblance to fruit now.

    “Fruit Juice” = may be more than 15% juice.  The rest is water and corn syrup.

    “All-Natural Fruit Juice” = 10% juice.

    “100% Fruit Juice” = actual juice, possibly from concentrate.

  • Lori


    “100% Fruit Juice” = actual juice, possibly from concentrate. 

    Actual fruit juice, but not the fruit shown on the label. The picture is a cranberry or a cherry or whatever. The juice is almost entirely white grape.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    In fairness, undiluted cranberry juice would do nasty things to one’s stomach if consumed directly.

  • Lori

    In fairness, undiluted cranberry juice would do nasty things to one’s stomach if consumed directly.  

    Yes, obviously. My point wasn’t that 100% cranberry juice is desirable. It’s that the labels touting 100% juice are strictly true, but still deceptive.

  • christopher_y

    “Which incidentally brings me to the delicate and important distinction between the words ‘with’ and ‘from.’ Suppose you are advertising lemonade, or, not to be invidious, we will say perry. If you say ‘Our perry is made from fresh-plucked pears only,’ then it’s got to be made from pears only, or the statement is actionable; if you just say it is made ‘from pears,’ without the ‘only,’ the betting is that it is probably made chiefly from pears; but if you say, ‘made with pears,’ you generally mean that you use a peck a pears to a ton of turnips, and the law cannot touch you — such are the niceties of our English tongue.”

    -Dorothy Sayers, Murder Must Advertise

  • Fusina

     That book was an education in the insidiousness of advertising. I learned much, and spent a great deal of my children’s time instilling this knowledge so that it became intrinsic to their thought processes. Thus far, it is working. Yay!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    Now I’m waiting to see Perry With Turnips on Dr. Oz.

  • http://kivikettu.blogspot.fi/ Rakka

     Lidl has “100% rye bread” which contain more potato than rye. Which is not to altogether slam potato in rye bread – it works pretty well – but hello, false advertising.

  • P J Evans

     You hardly ever find 100% rye bread. It would be more like a brick, as it doesn’t rise well.

  • http://kivikettu.blogspot.fi/ Rakka

    Finland. Rye bread is all over, although 100% rye is not the norm anymore it’s quite easy to find whole rye loaves*. It rises just fine, although you need a “root” of an old dough for a yeast culture. Normal yeast doesn’t do the trick. Some bakeries have cultures that go back more than a hundred years. It’s so awesome, biochemistry and history and gastronomy combined. :)

    * And the variants are endless. I particularly like the coastal area’s sweet rye bread made with syrup and spices in the dough, and it keeps really well without preservatives too. But there’s just no competition for a fresh real rye loaf. Yumm.

  • P J Evans

     I have (somewhere) a cookbook with a recipe for Hiivaleipa. My mother made it a time or two, and it was tasty. But, yeah, rye usually gets mixed with wheat flour for a lighter loaf, especially in the US. (I have sourdough starter. It’s ‘only’ about 35 years old. I call it ‘applied microbiology’.)

  • Münchner Kindl

     But then you don’t call it 100%. You call it “Rye bread” or “full grain” (which makes it hard to digest, but healthier).

  • Madhabmatics

     I read this as “lye bread” and I was like “Thank God no one is making 100% lye bread”

  • Münchner Kindl

     How is this not against the law?

    Would be illegal here.

  • vsm

    Indeed. The European Union may be an undemocratic and dysfunctional plot to force neoliberalism on unwilling nations, but they sure take food labeling seriously.

  • redsixwing

     This is off topic, but I like 100% cranberry juice.
    I also have a very high tolerance for acidic foods and like bitter tastes, so. ^^;

    I gather most people like sweeter things, hence the common use of apple and grape juices.

  • Lori

    I don’t have nearly a high enough tolerance for acidic foods to drink 100% cranberry juice. Even in fairly small quantities it gives me sore spots in my mouth. I get the same thing from eating too many fresh tomatoes. I do generally want my cranberry juice to be significantly more cranberry than white grape (or apple) though.  Reading the big print on the front label doesn’t really get you that. You’ve got to look at the much smaller print on the back label instead.

  • redsixwing

     Oh, ouch! That sounds really unpleasant.

    I wish they’d put these things on the front label. It would save me a lot of time in the grocery store, cluttering up the juice section as I go “nope, too sweet, that one too, that one doesn’t have actual juice in it..”

    It’s enough to make a person quit buying juice. ^^;

  • PatBannon

    I’ve observed that apple is the most common juice filler, but white grape is indeed common.

  • AnonymousSam

    Don’t forget the magic word combo “juice cocktail,” which I am convinced means 5% of one juice and 5% of a blend of others.

  • Jenny Islander

    Worse.  Juice cocktail is mostly water with either sugar or corn syrup, with some concentrated juice stirred in.  If it’s labeled “No Sugar Added,” it’s got white grape juice concentrate, or some other intensely sweet juice concentrate, instead of corn syrup or sugar–unless it’s artificially sweetened of course.  You have to look for “100 Percent  Juice” to get the kind that’s sweetened with ultra-concentrated white grape juice or some other intensely sweet juice.

  • The_L1985

    Yep!  The rest is usually sugar water.  “Juice blend,” on the other hand, may or may not be entirely juices, depending on whether it also says “100%.”

  • Carstonio

    Isn’t “cheese food” what cheese eats?

  • Michele Cox

     “Cheese food” is what cheese eats.  “Cheese food product” is… well. What you get back :)

  • Carstonio

    Once I mistakenly opened a bathroom stall and found a Swiss cheese wheel using the toilet. It glared at me and I apologized. I should have picked up on the smell of rennet…

  • hagsrus


    “Oh, you’re after
    butter now, are you, Horace?” said Tiffany, picking up the dairy broom. “That’s
    practically cannibalism, you know.”

    Still, it was better than mice, she had to admit.
    Finding little piles of mouse bones on the floor was a bit distressing.

    (Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett)

  • Foreigner

    And here in Tescoland, 100% beef burger may mean ‘contains horse’.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    So, after looking at the post in full, does anyone else have feelings of, “Maybe life isn’t so bad,” when they are reminded that George W. Bush was in office and he isn’t anymore?

    Because from a perspective of, “Well, Bush could be president*,” everything just seems so much… better.

    * Not constitutionally, I understand, but from a, “It is possible to imagine a world in which this is the case,” sort of thing.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    My life is definitely better than if Dubya were still in office. Directly, physically better.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The fun part is that in Canada, the exact quantities of fruit juice create angels-on-the-head-of-a-pin style debates about whether or not the GST applies to them.

  • christopher_y

    On the topic of cranberries, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t eat or drink them if you use certain drugs, notably statins or warfarin. I’m told this is one of those contraindications you should actually take pretty seriously.

  • Jenora Feuer

    Yes, just as there are some drugs that should not be taken with grapefruit juice.  Mostly certain heart medications.

    My understanding is that the problem is that the grapefruit juice helps the drug cross the barriers into the bloodstream faster than normal diffusion, which means that you effectively get twice the dose of the drug, lasting for half as long.

    Given that for some of these drugs, the medically useful dose is more than half the lethal dose, this becomes an obvious problem…

  • Kiba

    Yeah, one of my grandmother’s medications (think it’s one of the anti-rejection ones) warns her not to eat grapefruit since it messes with the medication’s efficacy. This annoys her because she loves grapefruit and can’t eat it anymore. 

  • Mark Z.

    Anti-rejection drugs are one of the big ones. Others include sedatives, antipsychotics, and heart rhythm stabilizers, all things you don’t want to mess up the dosing on.

    (Good news: someone is trying to breed a grapefruit that produces 

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Yeah. Did anyone else make it to adulthood without having any idea that tylenol was at all dangerous, and totally freak out when when they went to wikipedia to find out what the deal was in the final episode of ‘One Foot in the Grave’?

    I’m sure there are times in my life when I’ve exceeded twice the safe dose of the stuff.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    … and to think I religiously took Tylenol for headaches because I was scared shitless as a teenager after I read of Reye’s Syndrome…


  • P J Evans

     I’m stuck with it because I can’t mix NSAIDS with antidepressant. Fortunately I don’t need it too often.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I learned Tylenol was dangerous early because I loved the taste of children’s Tylenol, so my caretakers were constantly reminding me that it could be dangerous. I still take Tylenol very often because it works, but I don’t exceed the dosage. And at this point, worrying about Tylenol when I’m taking heavy prescription painkillers seems kind of silly.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Tylenol never worked for me.

    What I find ridiculous is the occasional attempts to get Vicodin off the market – because it’s mixed with Tylenol. Or at least that’s the stated reason.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Does the problem also carry over to part-grapefruit fruits? Because my family got a case of fruit from http://www.honeybelltangelos.com/ and they’re grapefruit/tangerine/orange crosses, and I don’t know whether the meds I’m on would be affected.

    I also don’t find citrus appealing, but Mom’s on me to at least try it, and I might remind her I’m on an antidepressant but I don’t have any plans to tell her about the contraceptive pills.

  • Jenora Feuer

    I must admit I have no idea.  They’re probably safer than straight grapefruit; pomelos definitely are at least as bad, but the more ‘bred out’ away from pomelos and grapefruit things are, the safer they probably are.  There have been active attempts to breed citrus fruit without the chemicals responsible for the interactions.

    Looking up ‘Grapefruit juice and medication’ brought me to a Mayo Clinic page, a PDF from the FDA, and the Wikipedia page at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grapefruit_drug_interactions which go into some more detail.  Zoloft/Sertraline is definitely on the list under Antidepressants.

  • http://kivikettu.blogspot.fi/ Rakka

     And “No added sugar!” usually means “we added aspartame instead!”. Which is a really  annoying, since I also like acidic/ sour juices (sea buckthorn is awesome. And expensive as fuck, 100% undiluted unsweetened) and pretty much all the lingonberry, cranberry etc juices are sweetened with aspartame, which has a really unpleasant aftertaste to me.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Yeah, I have to be careful with those. I’m allergic to aspartame. It usually only means no diet drinks, but I’m paranoid.  

  • Kat

    This brought tears to my eyes. I was a foreign exchange student to Italy when I was 16 and up until my cheese consumption was primarily Kraft cheddar… Monterrey Jack was an adventure. So, needless to say, my cheese horizons were expanded that year. 

    An Italian friend came home with me to visit and was appalled by cheddar (no matter the provenance) let alone processed cheese because she insisted that “cheese is not orange!” which adds an additional source of amusement to: “the food in question is orange, but contains no actual cheese.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Found on James Nicoll’s LJ:


    Fox News Channel announced today that it would shut down for what it called “routine maintenance” Monday morning at 11:30 E.T.
    Fox News president Roger Ailes explained the timing of the shutdown, which will be the first in the history of the network: “We wanted to pick a time when we were positive nothing would be happening that our viewers would want to see.”

  • P J Evans

    “We wanted to pick a time when we were positive nothing would be happening that our viewers would want to see.”

    Yeah, right. How many hours did they give it in 2004?

  • hagsrus

     Well, it could mesh nicely with the secret swearing in on the Koran, perhaps?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ann-Unemori/100001112760232 Ann Unemori

    What does the Koran have to do with CheeseToes, Perry, or eating mice? Let’s try to stay on subject here. Then again, in Revelations St. John did mention he ate a few leaves of the Bible. “…and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” Rev 10:10, maybe if he’d added some balsamic vinegarette?

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    It’s an Onion-style blog post.  :)

    But it’s got that covered too:

    Mr. Ailes said that Fox had considered shutting down only once before, exactly four years earlier on January 20, 2009, and later regretted the decision to continue broadcasting that day: “It turned out that no Fox viewers wanted to watch TV that day. And I mean none.”

  • SisterCoyote, in spotty wifi

    This is way off topic, but if you haven’t watched a video of President Obama’s inauguration speech, go do so. It was utterly incredible.

    Our school newspaper sent a handful of us on the bus trip; I took notes on one knee from far across the field, and towards the end, as he spoke on equality, my gay and bi friends and myself screamed ourselves hoarse and embraced. I’m utterly blown away.

    …that, and the multiple Fuck Yous to the Tea Party were awesome.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    And now for some real news: http://io9.com/5976112/how-19+year+old-activist-zack-kopplin-is-making-life-hell-for-louisianas-creationists

    For Zack Kopplin, it all started back in 2008 with the passing of the Louisiana Science Education Act. The bill made it considerably easier for teachers to introduce creationist textbooks into the classroom. Outraged, he wrote a research paper about it for a high school English class. Nearly five years later, the 19-year-old Kopplin has become one of the fiercest — and most feared — advocates for education reform in Louisiana

    Soon after the act was passed, some of his teachers began to not just supplement existing texts, but to rid the classroom of established science books altogether. 

    “By my senior year though, I realized that no one was going to take on the law, so for my high school senior project I decided to get a repeal bill.”

  • ReverendRef

    With regards to fruit juice . . . Episcopalians use wine.

  • Indiana Joe

    Once I came across, “imitation artificial processed cheese food product.” I’m not sure what was in it, but there probably wasn’t any cheese.

  • Münchner Kindl

     When reporters uncovered that ready-made (frozen) pizza has “artifical cheese substitute” instead of real cheese* and that current laws did not demand proper labelling for that, there was an uproar in the public.

    * They already save a lot of money by using Gouda or Emmentaler or any cheaper cheese instead of mozzarella, for which you have to pay extra.

  • http://kivikettu.blogspot.fi/ Rakka

    Now *that* would be a brick. Although there’s a Swedish fish prepared with lye. I don’t want to think how desperate you’d need to be to discover lye-soaked fish to be edible after preparing it the right way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    I’ve always heard that lutefisk was more Norwegian than Swedish, with many jokes being told about it being a prank the Swedes pulled on the Norwegians that backfired, and variations thereon.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Lutefisk is plenty Swedish. My great-grandmother used to bury it out back, and my grandmother used to keep it in the tub (before I was born). And all the many first and second-generation Swedish-Americans I grew up with made in-jokes about it. 

    I’ve never tried lutefisk because none of the second-and-third generation Swedish-Americans who were my parents’ generation could stomach the stuff, or felt like bothering to make it. They’re more into pickled herring, which I find really gross.

  • vsm

    I don’t get all the lutefisk hype, really. Granted, the cooking process is interesting, especially if you want to be old school about it, and the texture is not unlike that of brittle rubber, but the taste itself is fairly mild. Without all the rituals required to eat it and the admittedly delicious sauce, I doubt many people would bother with it.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     You also cure olives in lye. And there are various kinds of bread products that get a lye bath at some point in the process.

    It does strike me as weird that we end up with foods that clearly had a long trial-and-error refinement process, where some of the intermediate steps could kill you. Like puffer fish. It probably took like a hundred tries to figure out which bits you could eat. Why wouldn’t any reasonable culture give up trying after the third?

  • P J Evans

     Pretzels and some varieties of bagel get a bath in food-grade lye (or something safer, like water with baking soda). It’s what makes that lovely shiny crust.

    I’ve always suspected that someone accidentally confused the boiling water with the boiling lye that was about to be used for making soap. And then discovered that the resulting bread was even better.

  • Neotoma

    Almost as desperate as you’d need to be to figure out that Greenland shark is edible if it’s allowed to ferment for three months?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2CUJHSQSQYTYT4DPZSKTVESYNQ B

    Of course there’s always “whole wheat bread” and “whole grain bread” which generally has lots of white flour in it: if you want 100% whole wheat bread, you have to look for bread that specifically says “100% whole wheat”.

    Now in the US at least “No sugar added”  also precludes adding things like fruit juice concentrate as a sweetener, but I think something that says “no refined sugar, no HFCS” can still be sweetened with concentrated fruit juice, which typically has more fructose than either table sugar or HFCS if you’re concerned about such things.

    When I started my final cutback on soda, getting rid of the can I was drinking every day at lunch and sometimes at dinner, I started by switching from soda to fruit juice and was discouraged to realize that fruit juice may be sugar water with a few vitamins and antioxidants… but, sadly, it’s still  sugar water.

  • Münchner Kindl


    Now in the US at least “No sugar added”  also precludes adding things
    like fruit juice concentrate as a sweetener, but I think something that
    says “no refined sugar, no HFCS” can still be sweetened with
    concentrated fruit juice, which typically has more fructose than either
    table sugar or HFCS if you’re concerned about such things.

    US labeling laws are that precise regarding sugar? Here, “sugar” refers to precisly one of several compounds* of the sugar family: kitchen sugar. If you add glucosesirup or fruit sugar, you can still label “no sugar”.

    * I’ve forgotten the exact details from my intro chem class, but there’s a five-carbon ring and a six-carbon ring which combine to form several sugars that are known under altogether a dozen different names. For your body and teeth, it’s all sugar.

    I started by switching from soda to fruit juice and was discouraged to
    realize that fruit juice may be sugar water with a few vitamins and
    antioxidants… but, sadly, it’s still  sugar water.

    Try the “schorle” variant: half of pure fruit juice, half of carbonated / tap water. If you have real mineral water (true labelling, not bottled tap water), the ratio of 2/5 apple juice and 3/5 mineral water is a cheap but good isotonic substitute.

    I always buy pure fruit juice and dilute, because why should I pay for tap water?

  • MaryKaye

    “No added sugar” means I won’t even pick it up from the shelf to look, because it is so often aspartame, and aspartame makes me violently ill.  It is quite difficult to read the fine print labels–last time I got sick, the label was additionally in Portuguese and printed in silver on yellow.  Nowadays when traveling I stick to water and unsweetened tea. 

  • redsixwing

    Oh little fishies, I love pickled herring. (In sour cream, for preference, though the wine kind is good too.) Actually getting to eat some is a rare treat, as most people I know dislike it and can’t stand the smell.

    I’ve never gotten up the guts to try lutefisk, though.

      I particularly like the coastal area’s
    sweet rye bread made with syrup and spices in the dough…

    That sounds delightful!

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I always see these uber-cheap frozen-concentrate “Orange” juices, and then I look closer at the containers, and they’re some kind of bizarre combination of what is surely mostly orange extract, but mixed in with a cocktail of other juice flavors with no rhyme nor reason.

    How it can be cheaper to make these things than straight-up frozen OJ is beyond me.

  • P J Evans

    The world’s largest mozzarella factory is in California. They turn several hundred thousand pounds of milk (cow, not buffalo) into cheese every day. It’s going to businesses, not directly to markets.

    (Mozzarella di bufala is a real treat on pizza, if you can get it. It’s better than cow’s-milk mozzarella.)

  • MaryKaye

    Dear gods, how do you milk a buffalo?

    There is a scene in _Buffalo for the Broken Heart_ where the narrator has bought his first dozen buffalo, and they are staring at him from inside the delivery truck and won’t move.  His hired hand helpfully says, “Don’t worry.  They may kill you, but they won’t eat you. They’re vegetarians.”

    (This is a really fine book about a guy who switched his ranch from cattle to buffalo.  The process was rocky but the story ends well.)

  • Münchner Kindl

    Buffalo does not automatically mean “male animal” – they come in male and female type, because Buffalo is a species. (Just as cow can be group name).

    And since Mozzarella is an Italian cheese, they used not American bison buffalo, but water buffalo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_buffalo