The Other Orange Thing

Totally ganked from the Kraft site.

If you’re from the American Midwest, you know what I’m talkin’ about: an item essential to the USA’s mid-twentieth-century cooking: fluorescent orange process cheese food.


Yes, Velveeta! This gummy block of unlikely color was introduced in America and Canada in 1928. It has the American Medical Association’s seal of approval–as what, its web site didn’t specify, but I’m assuming as food.

It melts beautifully, has a rich creamy texture when warm, tastes like salt and, if the box that once sat in my refrigerator for six months is anything to judge by, is imperishable.

This was what every woman in my family used to make pimiento cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, or to enrich tomato soup (from a can). I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I first tasted cheese that didn’t go squish.

Still, nothing can replace it for me on a rainy day when a grilled cheese sandwich would hit the spot. As my mother says, “There’s nothing like it. Plenty BETTER, but nothing LIKE it.”

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: What’s your main character’s guilty pleasure comfort food from childhood?




I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “The Other Orange Thing

  1. Joey

    September 28, 2016 at 8:10am

    I almost never use it, but when I do, it’s to make that chile, salsa, and ground beef infused concoction we call queso, probably much to the despair of actual Mexicans. lol It’s almost queso weather 🙂

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  2. Holly

    September 28, 2016 at 8:45am

    Staple of college dorm life: Velveeta and Rotel. And chips, of course, too convey it to the mouth.

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      September 28, 2016 at 9:51am

      We didn’t do that. Would have been better for us if we had. We lived on rice and ramen until we got scurvy and had to sell a textbook and splurge on lasagna at the Italian place.

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  3. Jane

    September 28, 2016 at 9:32am

    Your Mom’s quote has me larfing it up!! Thank her for me, willya?

    My guilty pleasure as a kid was (stolen) lettuce sandwiches. You heard that right. You take two pieces of the real fresh bread from the store (white), peel off some lettuce for the middle part, and chow down.

    What can I say? I just craved them. (Crunchy, too)

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      September 28, 2016 at 9:53am

      Charlie LOVES lettuce sammiches! He puts Miracle Whip (yuck!) on his.

      Yeah, Mom’s still a hoot. I’ll tell her you enjoyed her “sayin’.”

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      • Jane

        September 29, 2016 at 8:03am

        Quick Miracle Whip story. Bub got tired of A’s MW sitting around unused in his fridge, so he opened it up and set it out back for critters to sample. A year later, it was still there, INTACT! Nothing had eaten it, and nothing had grown on it! It hadn’t settled out into component layers. Apparently unaltered by months of weather and…obviously not eaten by any living critter, large or microscopic!

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  4. Dan Antion

    September 28, 2016 at 11:26am

    I don’t think I could get my wife to buy it. She does endulge my medical need for Kraft Mac&Cheese, (seriously, I need it, Doc). But I think she draws the line at keeping that box in th fridge.

    “Processed pastureised cheese food product” How much more real does it need to be?

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    • Holly Jahangiri

      September 28, 2016 at 12:29pm

      @Dan Antion – my parents owned a cheese and wine store when I was a teen. I concluded that “pasteurized, processed cheese food” is what they feed real cheese to make it grow stronger. You want weird cheese? Feed it the potted, pasteurized, port-wine-infused cheese food. Or just roll that stuff into a ball, coat it in nuts or Bowlby Bits, and call it a holiday treat. (Or throw it out as a pitch at a softball match, if you’re feeling sadistic.)

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      September 28, 2016 at 1:27pm

      I know, right? Close enough for folk music. And it melts really really well. It’s sooooooo melty!

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