I’ve had semi-serious arguments with people I love and respect on this very subject. Most of the people I’ve sparred with object to American cheese on principle. To them, it is in a category of its own-relegated to the “kids table” of cheeses while serious adults dine on cheeses that are not individually wrapped.
American cheese alone is not my favorite. In fact it’s near the bottom of my list. The fact that one of my least favorite cheeses is my favorite on a burger points to a synergistic affect between American cheese and burger that cannot be ignored or reasoned away.
Its flavor, texture, and mouthfeel are unparalleled by any other burger cheese. Smoked Gouda is the nearest, and it’s not even close. American cheese is the ingredient that elevates a cheeseburger to a creation greater than the sum of its parts.
I have tried to find a replacement cheese so I’m not embarrassed in the presence of cultured folk when this topic inevitably arises, but I have not found one. I haven’t found one because it’s unlikely that a better cheeseburger cheese exists.
What other product has led more otherwise responsible adults to put greasy paper in their mouths? Admit it. You have done this with your cheeseburger wrapper. Either in the safe cocoon of your automobile or after a furtive glance about the room.
What's more American than a cheeseburger?
Photo Credit: Andy Tamasese. Starring: The Tamasese Venison Double Cheeseburger