— Noted.

American cheese slice.


The last time I was in Korea, my cousin took me to a restaurant that was popular for budae-jigae, which is a stew that came to be during the Korean war, because army soldiers would make it with all the bits that they had on hand. It’s pretty delicious, because it can have any of the amazing non-perishable foods such as ramen, spam and/or hot dogs, all alongside veggies, tofu, rice cake and kimchi in a spicy broth. So, we’re eating this delicious stew, and my cousin tells me that this restaurant’s secret to the amazing flavor is that they add in American cheese slices.


And this cousin, who spoke near perfect English but wanted to be clear, confirmed that it was The American Cheese, the kind that is wrapped in those individual plastic sleeves.

Fast-forward to this past weekend, and it’s blizzarding, and I rationalized that I deserved to try this ramen recipe by Roy Choi:

Recipe: Perfect Instant Ramen

I will tell you that ONE of those yellow plastic wrapped slices was PLENTY, and I did not add the pat of butter. I did fold in a dropped egg (which I normally do when making ramen at home), when it is still boiling and slightly more mixed in so it’s a bit more like egg-drop soup. I used the Korean Jin Ramen brand (which is nice and spicy), and also topped it with some Kimchi.

This is definitely not an everyday meal, but a very special treat.

Being that I am trying my best to stop eating processed foods [Roy Choi is to blame!], I did a little poking around to find the story behind American cheese. The FDA actually banned Kraft from calling it cheese, since it was less than 50% cheese. That’s why the package came to say “Kraft Singles.” The story of its invention is summed up in this article.

I bought my package from TJ’s, where the organic slices do seem slightly more legitimately made of cheese, even though it is still labeled as “Pasteurized Process Cheese Product.” As a (reluctant) sidenote, this is also lovely on toast with a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey. 

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