Velveeta Cheesepocalypse Causes Queso Contemplation
When you hear the word "queso," what do you picture?
Photo courtesy Velveeta Everyone knows the Egyptians invented queso.
If you live anywhere outside of South Texas, you probably see cheese, possibly a Mexican cheese like queso fresco or cotija.
If you grew up with Tex-Mex in your life like I did, you hear queso and think of a warm, soothing bowl of melted yellow cheese with chunks of red and green peppers
Of course, the shorthand queso actually refers to chile con queso, a Tex-Mex staple that doesn't contain that much cheese if it's made properly. And by "made properly," I mean with a log of Velveeta and a can of Ro*Tel.
Kraft Foods, the makers of Velveeta, admitted to Advertising Age magazine on Tuesday that consumers may have difficulty finding Velveeta on shelves due to its popularity during football season. This came after Ad Age received reports of shortages at grocery stores in New York and reached out to the company. In spite of one employee explaining that the store wasn't expecting any more shipments until February, spokespeople for Kraft declined to point to any specific issues, leaving the explanation at "a combination of factors."
Photo courtesy Ro*Tel Velveeta + Ro*Tel = Simple perfection
When I learned this, I immediately panicked, which is exactly what Kraft Foods is hoping we don't do. I can't help it though. Unlike football fans readying for the Superbowl in New Jersey by making cheese dip and wings and other heart attack-inducing seasonal snacks, I eat queso year-round. It's not a special-occasion food for me. I was born in south Texas. Queso is a staple of my diet. And it must be made with Velveeta.
Since news broke of the possible shortage, two big things have happened. First, the Twitterverse coined the term "Cheesepocalypse" (preceded by a hashtag, of course), and second, websites began to aggregate recipes for alternatives to queso or even (gasp) queso made without Velveeta. As far as I'm concerned, aside from the Spanish word for cheese, there is only one kind of queso.
Non-natives don't always understand this distinction. I recall the confused looks on my friends' faces when, in college in Missouri, I announced I was bringing queso to a party.
"What kind of queso?" someone asked.
"What do you mean, what kind of queso? Velveeta and Ro*Tel. Or maybe off-brand peppers if I can't find Ro*Tel here. I guess it doesn't have to be Ro*Tel. Or I could make white queso if you want, but I prefer the regular kind."
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