How to get a free plate of spaghetti.

Below is perhaps my favorite sign from the state of Oregon:

Wash your hands...
Sure, sure, perhaps I’ve altered it slightly by adding the caption, but wow, what a result you can have from just washing your hands well!

Uh, Bryce; cheese?

Right you are, “Inner-Cheese Voice”, what is missing from the spaghetti is some Parmesan. Now don’t think for a moment that I would use something like the pictured Kraft Grated Parmesan, since despite Kraft’s claim that the product is; Kraft Grated Parmesean “KRAFT 100% GRATED PARMESAN Cheese”, it is not actual Parmesan. Is it grated? 100% grated? Why yes, it certain is, but that does not mean it is Parmesan. Confused? Well, first of all, it’s about the name its self. Parmesan (and/or Parmigiano Reggiano) is a name of specific cheese(s) which are made in the northern area of Italy (in/near the towns of  Parma and Reggio Emilia). In Europe, the name is legally protected, but since those specific laws don’t make it to our shores, Kraft calls their product by  the name Parmesan (in Europe they call it; Pamesello Italiano; their own trademarked invented name for the product).

Secondly, let’s talk about the ingredients. Here’s the ingredients of Kraft’s product: “Parmesan Cheese (Pasteurized Part-Skim Milk, Salt, Less than 2% of Enzymes, Cheese Culture, Cellulose Powder to Prevent Caking, Potassium Sorbate to Protect Flavor).” Do you notice any ingredients which aren’t typically added/specifically part of Parmesan? If your answer was Cellulose Powder and Potassium Sorbate; you’re correct. Now I’m not going to spend time here vilifying Kraft, I have definitive opinions on the matter, but instead will suggest that if you do happen to have any of Kraft’s product (or similar American-made grated Parmesan), go buy yourself a small piece of actual Parmesan, from Italy, at a cheese counter (there’s a large variety, and at different amounts of aging; buy one which fits your budget and is recomended by the cheesemonger), bring it home, grate it fresh (grate it fine, similar to the Kraft stuff if you happen to have a grater that can do this), and try a fourth-teaspoon of each. If you are a cheese-novice, this is/can/should be an eye-opening, taste-bud awakening experience which may change your life (or at least make you more aware of what Kraft loosely based their product on).  …then (or preferably before) if you wash your hands really well, and just in the right way, you may just get your very own magical plate of spaghetti to put the cheese on!

Oh; p.s. also try shaving thin curls of your Italian Parmesan with a cheese planer if you have one; this is another great way to serve actual Parmesan and have it retain a certain taste and feel that grating does not always allow for.

July 31st, 2010 11:07 pm

I moved to Oregon less than a year ago, and every time I saw the “wash your hands” poster in a bathroom, I would laugh and think the caption you have put on the poster yourself, so much so that I thought, okay, tonight, I am going to find that poster online and put a caption on it and send it to my friends! But in my search, I found you have already done so. So, just wanted to say — you are NOT the only one that has thought this! That means great minds think alike… or something.