We DON’T Need No Stinking Imports

We live in an amazing world that has gotten smaller and smaller. Foods now find their way to all regions of the world.  Here in America, we are blessed with a bounty of tasty goodness that we can import from ANYWHERE.  In fact, we have gotten so spoiled with importing high-end delicacies from foreign lands, that often times we Americans are truly unpatriotic and pass up domestically produced products. When we think fine wine, our minds go to Italy. When we crave quality chocolates, Belgium or Switzerland is the first thought that arises. But while there is no denying the fact that all countries around the world have contributed some pretty amazing culinary creations, America has got some pretty damn good stuff too.  It is just that we seem to overlook , and may even look negatively upon, the stuff made just down the street.  Instead we  strive for pricy foods from worlds away, with names that are difficult to pronounce.

A little wedge of Mountaineer will more then satisfy your guests at your next dinner party. Plus you get bonus points for being patriotic and purchasing some home-grown goodness.

I recently was told a story by a person who used to work at a cheese shop that made beautiful sandwiches. After taking orders for 3 years for ‘Beecher’s Cheddar sandwiches,’ she was dumbfounded when a customer asked to substitute in ‘American cheese.’ She had no idea what to tell the customer except that Beecher’s IS made in Seattle, Washington. She had forgotten what so many people think of when they think ‘American’ cheese.
I had to laugh at this “Beecher’s Cheddar story,” and how so many Americans don’t realize the exceptional cheeses Americans produce. One day, hopefully… individually-wrapped-processed-slices will NOT be the first thing that comes to mind when people think ‘American Cheese.’ Those singles do have a place in this world and I am grateful for them, BUT America is capable of producing cheese that is so much more.

America has really gone through a culinary revolution recently, where domestic products are becoming “artisanal” and meet the high standards experienced in Europe and many other places in the world. The USA has kind of passed through the puberty stages where everything was processed, and has now matured into a producer of fine foods. Featuring quality ingredients and expert craftmanship, America has started to make gourmet foods that  need to be recognized for how truly good they are.

I am fed up with Americans forgetting they live in a country that makes some freaking amazing food.

Could ANOTHER American-made cheese compete with all the amazing international selections from Saint James Cheese Company?

I was just reminded about how good USA-made food can be, when I discovered a tasty cheese made in Virginia by Meadow Creek Dairy. After getting addicted to Meadow Creek Dairy’s Grayson cheese, I needed to know if this was just a “one-hit-wonder,” OR  can OTHER American cheeses compete with the “blue-blooded” stuff made by monks in France or the legendary cheese from the Alps?   Well, the fine folks at Meadow Creek Dairy were kind enough to let me try another one of their gems. Saint James Cheese Company, our local cheese shop here in New Orleans , was sent a nice big sample of Meadow Creek Dairy’s  Mountaineer cheese, along with their normal delivery of cheeses from this Virginia based farm.  Now Saint James Cheese Company is a model of cheese-mongering-perfection. The store is crammed with the best of the stinkiest , moldiest and tastiest cheeses from around the world. Could a humble American produced cheese really stand up against all these greats?  Well I grabbed the sample of the Mountaineer and headed home, for once not taking a single “imported” cheese with me.

Because of the unique mix of the nutty taste and the funky rind, this cheese is very versatile. Some shredded Mountaineer cheese makes a tasty addition to pretty much everything, and the little bits of rind dispersed in the shreds, are flavor packed punches that make each bite stand out.

Confession time…this morning I woke up and the Mountaineer cheese was calling my name. I HAD to try just a little before I left for work. WOW this cheese is unique. I really really liked it. It seemed to have  the nuttiness of a Gruyère or Comte but with the distinctive funk characteristic of a powerful washed-rind cheese. It was a glorious combination. I started day-dreaming of using this in a dish and experimenting with how it will hold up to other flavors that I would normally pair with an alpine style cheese (rosemary, shallots, caramelized onions, black pepper, etc). Any food that gets you day-dreaming is pretty damn impressive.

America has started to create foods that may not have the years of history like many famous French and Italian cheeses have. And American foods may not have the deep cultural roots or traditions such as  Japanese Kobe Beef has.  BUT what America lacks in decades of experience, is more than made up with ingenuity, quality, and damn good tasitness. As the Mountaineer cheese clearly demonstrates, Americans can make some mighty fine “alpine” cheese. And while Japanese Kobe beef is legendary, American farmers now produced their own version which can be just as satisfying.
Americans have gone further then just creating their own versions of famous cheese or gourmet steaks.
There are amazing American-made foods spanning every aisle of the grocery store. California now produces some wonderful wine.  And even high-end chocolates are being made in the USA (sorry Switzerland and Belgium, American has joined in on the fun).
The good-ole-US-of-A has introduced its share of cooking gadgets and techniques as well. Ok, so the French did invent the Espresso machine and many basic principles of gourmet cuisine; But America birthed the Vitamix, the George Forman Grill, the concept of deep-frying EVERYTHING and the idea that if something is over-seasoned it is not ruined, just “blackened”… Oh and yes, America even created the ‘Big Gulp.’
In all honesty, America really has started to make delicacies that deserve to be recognized for how truly amazing they are. Americans need to show a little patriotism and support their home-grown goodness.

This sign always gets me hungry and reminds me of cheese's power over me. Few other foods are capable of getting me to part with my cash so easily. But it is always worth it.

While it may be more impressive to say the gourmet h’orderves you serve at your dinner party originated from the mountains of Madagascar rather than the mud of Mississippi, your taste buds won’t lie. American farmers and food creators have really risen to sophisticated levels over the recent years. Ok, this wedge of Mountaineer cheese from Meadow Creek Dairy is never going to replace my love for a well aged Gruyère. But this Mountaineer is something new and entirely different. While it uses classic Alpine cheese concepts for its conception, Mountaineer adds its own uniquely American creativity to the mix, allowing for a truly tasty experience. It can coexist on a cheese plate and fit right in next to the fancy French stuff and the overhyped Italian options that so many people have limited their palate to. While it is easy to immediately think about importing  famous foods from overseas for those special occasions, American should now realize that we don’t always have to look to other countries for gourmet foods.

So instead of putting an American flag sticker on your car, just buy some REAL American cheese. It not only will be damn tasty, but you get to feel patriotic too. Oh, and if you are from another country, we are happy to share our cheese with you.
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Categories: Recommendations

Author:Mr. Fed Up

A guy looking for good grub. and YES....I have a website...and I am not going to bore you with one of those personal journal type of blogs. I promise. Check it out; www.FedUpFood.com

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18 Comments on “We DON’T Need No Stinking Imports”

  1. April 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    If a customer had come and asked to substitute ‘American’ Cheese, I would not have assumed he or she meant anything made in America but rather that particular type of cheese that is named “American Cheese”. I agree, there are a lot of great cheeses produced in America. But I do not think American cheese is one of them. I really dislike the flavor of it in general and its easily meltable quality does not make up for the poor flavor of it. Anytime I order a burger, I ask what cheese they use. If it is American, I ask if they have any cheddar and if I could substitute. Sometimes all they have is the shredded cheese they use on salads. Even that is preferable to me. My roommate seems to think I hate cheese. But I don’t. Mostly, I’m a bit of a purist in the sense that I think the best way to eat it is by itself in order to really get the full effect of the flavor. Then occasionally with fruit or crackers or hard meats or wine to get the nuances.

    • April 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      While I do agree, the those “American Singels” are not the best cheese, I think think they suite a culinary purpose. Their flavor is lacking, but when they are melted in a dish, they can provide tome nice creamy texture. Plus, they NEVER go bad so you can always keep them as a back up for when you find an empty fridge. But I do agree, I never use it if for its taste when there is ANY other cheese option around.

      Oh. and it is kind of funny how the “Swiss”, “Sharp Cheddar” and “American” flavor of these “American Singels” all taste the exact same.

      and…you need to educate your roommate. Introduce them to some quality stuff like this Mountaineer.

  2. April 27, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    Loving your post – ha! Have a Great Weekend!

    • April 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Thanks for reading. You also have a good weekend! And make sure to eat some quality cheese.

  3. April 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Great post. I am against air miles in food production. You have to take a balanced view though. Look at the culinary wonders you have given us over here in Ireland: McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks. I hope you do better than that at home.
    Best,
    Conor

    • April 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

      I agree it is important to consider the miles used in food production and distribution.

      I personally avoid all three of the chains you mention. And I apologize for these chains representing “American” cuisine in Ireland. We do have better, I promise. haha.

      • April 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

        I know. I have been to some of your fine cities and have been welcomed into the homes of various fine Americans. I love the place. Keep fighting for cheese production. Here in Ireland, we let it slip and many French, Dutch and other Europeans came here and revitalised the industry. We now have a fantastic artisan Irish cheese industry, if one can call artisans an industry.
        Best,
        Conor

      • April 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

        haha. I really found that funny…”calling artisans an industry”… I think it is entirely possible that atrisinal production processes can be implemented on an industrial scale. But when corners get cut to save costs, “artisinal” quality is then lost.

        Ireland makes some AMAZING cheddar. We have also tried a nice powerful Irish Ardrahan cheese that was real good.

      • April 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

        Cashel Blue. Have a look through my older posts for the Cheese Taste Test V English Stilton. I love a bit of international rivalry. Particularly against the Brits.

      • April 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

        haha.

  4. April 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    While I’m generally against the huge amount of air miles that our food travels, not just here but in Europe too, I find American cheese generally fails to cut the mustard compared to the UK and Europe. I don’t know why but I’ve never found a cheese in the US that comes close to the mature cheddar you can buy in the UK. It’s also fantastically expensive for some reason. Off topic but, can’t buy haloumi either but Walmart sells something Mexican and similar.

    • April 27, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      no good U.S. cheese??? Those are fighting words…
      Seriously though. There really are some AMAZING US-made cheese. Like the one I just wrote about. If you want an impressive goat cheese, Humbolt Fog from California is VERY good.
      But I do agree, that it is difficult to find quality US cheese when the legendary European staples are so readily available. I am always surprised to see some of the stuff WalMart (and Sams) sells. Sam’s actually has some pretty good feta cheese that is dirt cheap.

  5. April 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    I think this comic is somewhat relative to your post: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2590#comic

  6. May 1, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Man… we love cheese, and I love this post!!! I am going to have to keep giving homemade, US cheeses a try. I am trying some local MI cheese, and I am trying to convince my husband to let me try to make some homemade Ricotta and mozzarella. 😉 thanks for all the good info here!!!

    • May 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

      Good luck on the homemade cheese! My Dad keeps on telling me to get a goat so that I can make fresh goat cheese here at my house….I then have to explain to my Dad that I live in a CITY and I am pretty sure I am not allowed to keep livestock in my backyard.

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