I don't understand its appeal, or the appeal of its various subsets for that matter. The quesos, the ballpark nachos, the Cheez Whiz -- none of it interests me the way it does others. Even when I was a kid I wasn't into this Gak, which may explain my present aversion. Perhaps the appeal is in the memories the mouthfeel conjures. I asked two colleagues why they like American cheese, and they confirmed my suspicions: "Reminds me of grilled cheese my mom used to make," said one. "I remember Fourth of Julys growing up, eating burgers that were basically charcoal, with a slice of American and a ton of ketchup on a potato roll," said another.
I have no such nostalgia for this, though. The only thing thing I can recall about the influence of the dairy product on my childhood are those little pretzel (or worse, breadstick) snack packs, with the little red sticks, that Eric Clark would eat. You know Eric. The kid in your third-grade class who always had a snot mustache and Oreo crumbs in the corner of his mouth? Everyone had an Eric. Heck, maybe you were the Eric! I shudder just thinking about you fingering that cheese dip, Eric.
What's to like about it as an adult? Is it the taste? Do you like the taste, Eric? Surely, any normally developed palate cannot think this stuff tastes good. The texture is gummy and the flavor is limp. It smells... sweaty. It feels sweaty. Honestly, it kind of looks sweaty. And yeah, it tastes sweaty, duh.
But I'm not just offended by the taste and the sticky, floppy texture. It's not even real cheese! Everyone should know this already, but it bears repeating: American cheese is not even real cheese. And fake stuff makes people fat. Look, I even sat on my living-room floor with a paring knife and a tripod for three hours to make this stop-motion video about it for a college design class six years ago: