Recently, I was perusing the aisles in Ralph’s, as I do on average twice a day, with my two little angels trying to ignore their feuds over who gets to stand on the end of the shopping cart while I push (neither, as I can hardly steer it but I was too damn tired to yell). All I could focus on was getting my last five items, which were neatly written in my head, three of which were already forgotten.
Then, my ten-year old exclaims “Mama! Look! It’s cheese in a can!” Sure enough, on the top shelf (In NC it would be placed at eye level, the optimal spot) were three neat rows of aerosol cheese. How had this been an oversight all these years? “What is that? Can we get it?”, she asked in pure wonderment. Then my eight-year old said, “I don’t understand. How do you get it out?” Bless their little hearts. I forget sometimes that my children haven’t had the same wonderful childhood culinary experiences as I did where viscous cheese products such as Velveeta, Cheez Whiz, and Easy Cheese were a staple atop saltine
crackers. Those were the days when no one read ingredients, and that more was better. I remember my dad opening a can of Vienna sausages (he pronounced them vi-EENA with his thick Southern accent), and stabbing them with a toothpick and handing me one. They were snug in their short little container surrounded by a light brown flavor-packed gelatinous substance. Their tender smoked taste and mushiness was delectable. It was hot dog pate’ and I loved it! Though oddly enough I don’t care for any form of pate’ today. Go figure.
I let them each hold a golden can and marvel at the sheer oddity of it. I looked around for a second, I admit, to see if any mom from the junk food protection program witnessed this. After a few “pretty pleases” coupled with the excitement of holding a new puppy, I tossed a can under the toilet tissue and organic apples.
When we got home, they fought (of course) over who could find the golden can first, similar to the Golden Ticket in Willie Wonka, (pause….Johnny Depp flashback….deep breath…). After I pried it from their little fingers, I pulled out a box of brown rice crackers. Alas! A healthy snack! After a quick tutorial as to the right angle at which to ‘spray”, they were on their way! Quick learners, my children. They were amazed at the electric orange color and the crinkled pattern as it left the can. Even I couldn’t wait to bite into that little mountain of velvet tanginess, trying to remember the last time I did. My ten year old loved it. Her eyes opened wide and she eagerly grabbed the can to spray her second one. My eight year old? Not so much. “This isn’t cheese mommy. What is it?’, she said with a deadpan voice and languid expression. “Why honey it’s a cheese product!” I sounded like Joan Cleaver.
The remainder is in my refrigerator right now aging to perfection in its metal cylinder.
I’ll wait a while before I introduce them to SPAM, (and I don’t mean the unsolicited electronic bulk messages).
“Life is great, Cheese makes it better,” Avery Aames