White Trash Wednesday…..Velveeta

There are some foods that get no public respect.  I am not saying that they should, only that they don’t.  Meanwhile, many Goat-ropin, cedar-chopping Rednecks and other Human-American subspecies often referred to as White Trash secretly can’t get enough of them. Don’t be offended, people.  I am referring also to myself as I recall Hanibal Lector in “The Silence of The Lambs” saying to Clarice “you’re not more than a generation away from poor, white trash….”  OUCH!  The sting of his accuracy was palpable. 

In the South, this would include “foods” such as Velveeta, Miracle Whip and marshmallow fluff.  In many households inhabited by older ladies, Jello makes the short list.

So even though most people would not publicly admit to enjoying, or even consuming some of these “foods”, they have remained an intrinsic part of the foodscape on many tables for generations, and as such they cannot be ignored when discussing food culture and traditions. 

Therefore, I bring you Whitetrash Wednesdays, wherein we will explore the history, the uses, and the cultlike following some of these foods enjoy, along with some traditional and not so traditional recipes.  I hope you enjoy!

White Trash Wednesdays 11/28/2012—Velveeta

I have discussed Velveeta and my feelings about it before, in “The Great Cheese Betrayal”, but today we will examine, since we already know it isn’t really cheese, what exactly it is and how it got here.  On Earth, I mean.

Let me start by saying that if you love Velveeta, I am not judging you.  You can’t help it.  You were conditioned since early childhood that it was the only way to make cheese dip.  It may have even been melted and poured over your broccoli to hide the green.  If your family was irreparably under its bright orange plastic-y spell, it may have been employed to make grilled-cheese sandwiches. 

But we do need to discuss what cheese is, and why Velveeta isn’t it.  Because that’s we do here. We learn.

Cheese is made, very generally, by introducing acidic compounds and salt to milk.  The milk then curdles, and the curds are pressed to remove the watery whey.  The pressed curds may be colored or flavored additionally before being placed into molds and aged or processed in other ways.  Generally, very fresh cheese is mild and soft, while older cheeses become harder and more sharp in flavor.

The US Food and Drug Administration classifies Velveeta as “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product”, rather than actual cheese.   According to its packaging, Velveeta contains the following: Milk, water, milkfat, whey, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, sodium phosphate, contains less than 2% of salt, calcium phosphate, lactic acid, sorbic acid as a preservative, sodium alginate, sodium citrate, enzymes, apocarotenal (color), annatto (color), cheese culture….

As you can see, it contains more “stuff” of unpronounceable genus than cheese does.  Also, since the whey that is extracted early in the cheese-making process is reincorporated into Velveeta, the texture is much softer and smoother than real cheeses.  It is this soft, velvety texture and smooth melt-ability that make the product so appealing to so many people.

It is melted and poured over a wide array of vegetables, and incorporated into many and varied pastas.  It is drizzled over baked, fried, and roasted potatoes. The number of dips, spreads and sauces that start with Velveeta is more than the stars.  And I have never been to a BBQ or Super Bowl gathering yet that didn’t have at least one crock full of Velveeta and Ro-Tel cheese dip.  You know the one.  Yeah, you do.

But to make it more interesting, I pimped this recipe out. 

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Dip

Kitchen Sink Dip

  • 1 pound bulk breakfast sausage, hot or mild
  • 3 pounds Velveeta (1 1/2 bricks)
  • 1 14 oz can diced Ro-Tel ,  not drained
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 8 oz can sliced mushrooms
  • 1 2.5 oz can sliced black olives
  • 1 10 oz box frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
  • ¾ cup corn kernels
  • 8 green onions, chopped (including green parts)

In a large dutch oven or skillet, cook sausage until browned….Drain fat.  Reduce heat to medium-low (or place in crockpot set on low). Add cheese, milk, and Ro-Tel, and cook until mostly melted.  Add remaining ingredients and continue to cook until melted.  Add more milk, if necessary to reach desired consistency.  Serve with corn chips such as Fritos or Tostitos.

Next, I want to introduce you to Velveeta Fudge. Yes. Fudge. Made with Velveeta.  This will be new to me too, so let’s see what happens.  I reviewed a bunch of recipe variations, and of course came up with one of my own….I’ll review it at the end.

Velveeta Fudge. Yes, it really is a thing.

Velveeta Rocky Road Fudge

  • 1 pound Velveeta, or 2% Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 4 (16-ounce) boxes confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder

Melt Velveeta and butter in a large heavy bottomed pot (5-6 qrt).  Add vanilla and almonds and stir well.  Mix in marshmallows, sugar and cocoa, and beat until well mixed.  Press into a 13×9 pan that has been lined with buttered waxed paper or plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for a few hours until firm.  Cut into cubes, and store in a cool place for up to a week.

Okay, there was a big surprise here. The surprise was that it was edible. Decent even.  I don’t think they’ll ever be selling it along the Embarcadero or anything, but it is certainly comparable to fudeg made with marshmallow fluff.  The texture is nice…Fudgy but firm enough not to get gooey.  The flavor is all chocolate and butter.  No cheese. No kidding.  Give it a try!

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58 Comments on “White Trash Wednesday…..Velveeta”

  1. 2012/11/28 at 11:43 am #

    Velveeta fudge … who woulda thunk?

  2. 2012/11/28 at 11:47 am #

    Who knew? Velveeta rocky road fudge! Love it!

  3. 2012/11/28 at 11:53 am #

    So, Velveeta with BBQ sauce is not really a Southern dish, huh?

    • 2012/11/28 at 1:56 pm #

      you mean, together?

      • 2012/11/28 at 2:09 pm #

        Together? Of course, Microwave them together and throw it on some pulled pork.

      • 2012/11/28 at 3:05 pm #

        Never heard of such a thing….Are these real southerners we are talking about?

  4. 2012/11/28 at 12:16 pm #

    Michael is all about his velveeta. I’ve never been a fan (even before I started disliking processed stuff) so I won’t let him have any. He whines about it any time he is served mac n cheese that is apparently sorely lacking some velveeta :P

  5. 2012/11/28 at 12:17 pm #

    I have nothing but sympathy for folks who are too “ashamed” to say how much they like Velveeta. More for people that haven’t even tried it. That being said. VELVEETA FUDGE! !BRILLIANT!

  6. 2012/11/28 at 12:21 pm #

    I do not like the ‘foods’ this post is about. That being said, I WILL eat the queso. But that’s because queso is the bomb. I love that you pimped it out. The only thing I would do is maybe remove the broccoli and add jalapenos or something else quit spicy. However, you probably did that and it jacked up the flavor. That being said, I have a moral objection to eating cheese fudge. Pure, unadulterated chocolate for me.

  7. Mia
    2012/11/28 at 12:35 pm #

    Oh my! A surprise indeed!

  8. 2012/11/28 at 12:50 pm #

    The dip sounds good, but as a northern Californian, what isd “Ro-Tel”? Do I need it to make it?

    • 2012/11/28 at 2:16 pm #

      Ro-Tel is the can of Diced Tomatoes and green chilies…..They should be available nationwide….try a Wal Mart if your grocer doesn’t have them….

  9. 2012/11/28 at 1:25 pm #

    I want velveeta. I don’t know what it is but I want it. We don’t get it over here, but that just makes me want it more.

    • 2012/11/28 at 2:17 pm #

      In some countries (I know in Australia) it is marketed as Kraft American Cheddar

      • 2012/11/28 at 2:41 pm #

        As a proud American, I take offense at that.

      • 2012/11/28 at 3:03 pm #

        at which part…I try to offend all groups equally!

      • 2012/11/28 at 4:39 pm #

        Thats it. Its Dairylea. It must be.

      • 2012/12/01 at 6:53 pm #

        They have a lot of nerve calling is “American cheddar.” That’s like calling Fosters beer.

      • 2012/12/01 at 7:31 pm #

        Heh heh

  10. 2012/11/28 at 1:41 pm #

    Sign me up in the white trash club! Love velveeta hot clam dip, and rice a roni chicken casserole. I call it Cindy’s Unsophisticated Casserole. It is GOOD! These 2 recipes look great. I am not a food snob. Here’s what food needs to do, for me, taste GOOD! You have great recipes & I love this post!

  11. 2012/11/28 at 2:18 pm #

    When you say “white trash,” I just want to make sure than bologna sandwiches and Little Debbie snacks aren’t included. Also, try not to mess with fried chicken gizzards. You can trash Budweiser and deer jerky all you want.

    • 2012/11/28 at 2:22 pm #

      Little Debbi is beyond the pale of even White Trash….Sorry, but I DO bake.

      Otherwise, I really really hope I don’t disappoint you. You haven’t made it easy. :)

    • 2012/11/29 at 6:48 am #

      Sorry Adam, bologna is sooo white trash. That being said, making home made bologna is on my list of sausages to conquer (along with hot dogs).

  12. deadmousediaries
    2012/11/28 at 2:38 pm #

    You are definitely the Queen of Dollar Store cuisine! (In addition to all your other fabulous talents as a writer and foodie!) Thanks for another yummy post!

  13. 2012/11/28 at 2:42 pm #

    That all looks good. My aunt made something called white trash mix. It was pretzels and m&ms with chex mix. It was really good

  14. 2012/11/28 at 2:45 pm #

    I hope you’ll discuss dirt-eating.

  15. 2012/11/28 at 2:56 pm #

    I love velveeta fudge, it is one of those guilty securets that I have not yet warned my husband about… OMG thank you for the recipe!

  16. deadmousediaries
    2012/11/28 at 3:55 pm #

    LOL! Agree with your assessment about $$ and taste of Velveeta; I was actually thinking more about the availability of it as the “cheese of choice” in my nearby “mall.” We don’t get much gruyere or neufchatel at Dollar General!

    • 2012/11/28 at 5:37 pm #

      ahahaha! You probably don’t get Velveeta, either…I think Dollar General sells Velveta, or some similar sounding knock off from China…HAHA

  17. 2012/11/28 at 4:59 pm #

    I am not a fan of velveta myself, but I had no idea Miracle Whip was considered white trash food. A sandwich is not a sandwich without Miracle Whip! I like to eat a saltine cracker smeared with Miracle Whip and a slice of hoop cheese as a fancy horderves. I call that being classy, well at least in Arkansas it is.

  18. 2012/11/28 at 6:01 pm #

    I honestly think people whatever is before them. I don’t agree with these types of class assessments, but found your post humorous. :)

  19. 2012/11/28 at 9:22 pm #

    Love your pimp-out version, but nothing can beat the simple classic queso with Velveeta (which, by the way, spellcheck doesn’t recognize – what??) and Ro-Tel (which spellcheck does.) And, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Kraft cheddar in blocks that they sell overseas is not the same as Velveeta. It doesn’t melt like it or taste like it. Believe me, I’ve tried to make it work for queso. It just doesn’t. (Instead, I haul Velveeta from home.)

  20. 2012/11/28 at 11:58 pm #

    Velveeta is good for dips, mainly because of the melting properties. I am surprised at the Velveeta fudge recipe. No cheese taste and no orange color. It is interesting enough that I may need to try it :-).

  21. 2012/11/29 at 1:33 am #

    send me some here in Australia and I will let you know how it goes! I’ve read about it so many times on wordpress and feel that I must try this! :)

  22. 2012/11/29 at 5:51 am #

    eewww. velveeta! I am not American so have fortunately not experienced this ‘cheese’. Why do you guys eat this stuff? What’s wrong with just eating cheese? the real stuff I mean!

    • 2012/11/29 at 10:05 am #

      I can only speculate why people eat Velveeta. I am not a regular partaker of it myself. Most people seem to use it becuase of it’s supremely smooth melting qualities. Some people actually seem to enjoy the flavor. I am not one of them. It is wayyyyyyy too salty and squishy.

  23. 2012/11/29 at 6:47 am #

    Love the concept of White Trash Wednesdays!! I hope you continue it. I gotta admit it we use Velveeta from time to time, especially in queso. So what are your thoughts on Velveeta Queso Blanco? White trash or the Mexican equivalent?

    • 2012/11/29 at 10:07 am #

      I will definitely keep it up! It makes it super simple and inexpensive to add a second weekly post! I do like the Queso Blanco….Mostly because I prefer white queso in the first place. I don’t make the queso witht he Velveeta and the rotel, but I do admit that I add some Velveeta to my recipe for queso, which includes Asadero and Queso Quesadilla….Just to enhance the smooth melty texture.

  24. 2012/11/29 at 2:56 pm #

    Love this post! I grew up with “cheese” from the big yellow box. Mom covered a lot of kitchen mishaps with oozes of Velveeta. The dip you included looks good, especially for a Super Bowl Party! Thanks! http://ohtheplaceswesee.com

  25. 2012/11/29 at 4:42 pm #

    Sounds interesting… I put it in my pinterest.. Thanks for the idea! :D

  26. Marsha M. SOCAL
    2012/11/29 at 4:58 pm #

    I remember my mother making my sister and me grilled cheese sandwiches out of Velveeta cheese. It was so good, all melty and gooey!! YUM!! Haven’t had one in years, maybe it’s time to revisit it again.

  27. 2012/11/29 at 7:52 pm #

    My dad was of second generation German descent–don’t know if that has anything to do with this –He was born in 1909 so from a very different generation than that of today. He always made velveeta and jelly sandwiches for his lunch. When I got my first job he packed my lunch with the same sandwich. I haven’t had one in years so don’t know if I’d even like it today but it seemed perfectly natural back then.

  28. 2012/11/29 at 8:23 pm #

    Your fudge recipe reminded me of some fudge I tasted years ago at Cracker Barrel (that was before they had a restaurant)–it was so rich and good! I’ll have to give your recipe a whirl–maybe it will bring back fond memories of being young, lol!

  29. 2012/12/02 at 2:23 pm #

    Good blog,
    My father was a genius chef, so when I plopped a bowl of Footballdip(velvet a and chili con carme, microwave, stir) he was in heaven, he continued to demand it yearly for Thanksgiving afternoon, until he died, of an unrelated problem……
    We always make football dip and think of Dad!
    Velveeta,
    a family tradition.

  30. 2012/12/03 at 9:36 am #

    I’ll admit we are a fan of velveeta, but I don’t know about the fudge. I guess I shouldn’t judge with out trying. And I sure don’t have to say there is velveeta in it. I love velveeta as a dip, we can chow down on a big bowl with no regrets at all.

  31. 2012/12/04 at 9:00 pm #

    In your honor, we had seared wild pork backstrap with steamed broccoli and VELVEETA CHEESE SAUCE! We happened to have a brick in the freezer (it freezes nicely). We hacked off a smidge,(about a quarter of a brick), added hot milk on the stove then some mustard powder and cayenne. Whisked it together. Went over very well. Later this week, we try the fudge! I suppose today is trailer trash Tuesday.

  32. 2012/12/06 at 10:43 pm #

    Your writing is always very entertaining to read. I love how you bring to light some of those “guilty pleasure” recipes that few us are willing to talk about.

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