It’s a cliché now: Thrill-kill millennials have ruined another beloved part of American culture. They’re relentless! They have no pity. You almost wish they would take requests.
“Hey, young tech-savvy cohort, could you do something about those salad bags that can’t be opened without tearing them across the middle, resulting in all the lettuce falling on the floor?”
“We’re on it, Pops.”
Two months later, there would be a headline: “Bagged salad sales fall as millennials decide to hand-shred their own arugula.” Wait, no, I didn’t want you to kill the bags, just make them easier to open.
“Sorry, Pops, you weren’t that specific. Besides, we don’t have time to go back and change things. We have to eliminate bank tellers by noon tomorrow.”
The millennials’ newest victim, according to Bloomberg News, is American cheese. Processed cheese sales have been down for four years. “The product, made famous by the greatest generation, has met its match with millennials demanding nourishment from ingredients that are both recognizable and pronounceable.”
Those are peculiar criterion. “What’s in this cheese?” “Cyanide, dog hair, chlorine, lark sputum and melted Legos.” “Oh, I know those, and can pronounce them all! I’ll take a pound.”
You might be thinking this is madness, and treason. Everyone loves American cheese. Noooo; everyone loves the memory of when they didn’t know any better.
A nice memory of a grilled-cheese-on-white-bread sandwich on a cool fall day, right? It was basically toasted grain-fluff with hot goo. Its primary attribute was texture.
Sure, half an inch of American cheese, slightly melted, draped over a hamburger like a quilt — that’s nice, because it’s a cheese that gets out of the way of everything else, from the meat to the mayo. Some cooks like it because it melts evenly, but you could say the same about pantyhose and candle wax.
Why don’t millennials want it? Some suspect the name puts them off because they got that whole global-citizen thing in their heads. They’re ashamed of America. They go to Europe, and people ask them what kind of cheese they had growing up, and they say, “Canadian cheese.”
What sort of ahistoric self-loathing is this? American cheese fed the boys who beat Hitler, and you can be darned sure there were starving kids in Europe who were happy to see bricks of American cheese tossed out of the trucks as the GIs drove past. Mostly because it was soft. If a wheel of European cheese hits you in the head, the lights go out. But you take a slab of Yank cheese in the noggin, and it’s a love tap.
Maybe the millennials are just ungrateful! I mean, literally; American cheese is too soft to grate.
Hmm. No. Don’t think that’s it. They have rejected it because: A) it’s processed, which suggests an industrial facility has applied a patented technique to extract all flavor and nutrition, and B) it’s as bland as flat Hamm’s.
Stores today carry a wide variety of cheeses that are far more interesting. Compare and contrast.
American cheese: Tastes like pliable salty linoleum. Pairs well with Ritz crackers and beer that costs less per 12-pack than an eight-pack of LaCroix water.
Typical cheese in the hoity and/or toity grocery: Belgian Goat Cave Emmenthaler. This nutty, fragrant, slightly angry cheese is made from the milk of grass-fed blind goats who live in a moss-lined cave. Pairs well with the red wine someone brought to your party and apologized for the twist-off top but then explained that the clerk at the liquor store said those tops are actually better than cork, and did you know there’s a cork shortage? Also goes well with flavorless white English crackers that signify your good taste, even though they make communion wafers seem like Taco Flavor Doritos in comparison.
Then there’s the packaging. Millennials don’t like things that have wasteful packaging, and American slices, as they’re known, are individually wrapped.
Once this seemed like a great labor-saver: Mrs. Homemaker need not waste time slicing the cheese, risking the slipped knife and sundered flesh. Each slice was scientifically pre-sliced to exacting specifications, because the food scientists at the Institute of Applied Kitchenry — sober men in white coats and clipboards — had deduced the optimum thickness and wrapped each slice in a sanitary, hygienic wrapper.
Millennials can make the argument that it’s wasteful, but if you spent $4.73 on a macchiato, you might want to sit this one out. Besides, we have another request to make: Could you add pointless coffee to the kill list? Thanks k bye