By Tobi Schwartz-Cassell
What is the most disgusting food you can think of from your 50s or 60s childhood?
Hamburger Helper? Spam? Fizzies?
According to Michael Moss, it was Kraft Foods that introduced what could easily be considered the most disgusting food from that era, and they did so in 1953. Whether you found Cheez Whiz to be yucky or yummy, the dirty little deed is that Cheez Whiz was the first entry into the processed foods market. From there, it was all downhill.
Moss, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us” says that Cheez Whiz was created to mimic a dish that was popular in the 18th century called Welsh rarebit. A retired Kraft food scientist described the dish to Moss as, “a kind of fondue sauce that people would put on toast.” But Moss explains that the dish took a long time to prepare in home kitchens, so Kraft scientists invested over a year to come up with Cheez Whiz, and promoted it as “Cheese treats quick. Spoon it, heat it, spread it.” The fact that it has a very long shelf life only added to its appeal.
Kraft’s Cheez Whiz opened the door to other such processed food phenomena as cake mixes, canned vegetables and JELL-O (also a Kraft product, but acquired).
Eventually it came to light that processed foods have also opened the door to diabetes, obesity and cancer. But we’re more enlightened now about our diets, and so, apparently, is the food industry. You may have heard that Kraft Foods is merging with Heinz Foods to create The Kraft Heinz Company. Word is they are considering cutting costs and possibly discontinuing processed foods like Cheez Whiz.
So just for kicks and giggles, what do you think you’d get if you mixed Heinz Ketchup and Kraft Cheez Whiz? I’m thinking a salty, gloppy, mess.
So what’s the most disgusting food you remember from your childhood? Please post here. And please share this blog post on Facebook! I’d love to hear your friends’ answers, too. 😀