Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cream Cheese History and Pumpkin Blatherings

Is cream cheese, "creamed cheese"? And, why do we call cream cheese "cheese" at all? Cream cheese, in fact, is essentially cream that has evaporated into a thicker substance that is no longer liquid. So it's not really "creamed" or whipped in any fashion, or, perhaps not even a cheese at all. Maybe a better name would be "cream spread" or "spreading cream".

Regardless, cream cheese has evolved to become an American staple ingredient in many treats especially around the holidays. Ah, the marketing genius of Kraft...

But is cream cheese really from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania? In fact, not at all. Cream cheese history fact: Though fresh "cream cheese" has been around since the beginning of domesticated animals, it wasn't until really 1880 that Kraft started distributing the Philadelphia brand name in tin foil wrappers, as it is still done today. Labeling their product this way conveyed "Philadelphia quality" which was a higher standard in the day. Surprisingly, the Philadelphia brand is still superior in taste and texture compared to the generic brands over 130 years later (references: The and The Food

Cream cheese gets me thinking about pumpkins, October, the holidays, cheesecake and "The Great Pumpkin Waltz". How about you? This year I'm eyeing a recipe called Pumpkin Whoopie Pies on Rachel Ray's magazine, "Everyday With Rachel Ray". They're essentially a cream cheese icing sandwiched between 2 little round pumpkin cakes. Holy YUM.

Living in developing countries for the past several years has taught me to appreciate the conveniences of wild and imaginative recipes like this. I'm not sure Americans pause to recognize how good they have it sometimes, being able to walk down the aisle of their grocery store and pick up pureed pumpkin in a can and pumpkin spices (already pre-mixed) and a just a few steps away, go to a refrigerated case replete with a variety of mass-produced dairy products like cream cheese. Who knows, you can probably buy Pumpkin Whoopie Pies already pre-made these days!

As we strive in the recession, aren't we all... remember there are many many others out there without, and be thankful for cream cheese!

1 comment:

Patty said...

Thanks very much for the history behind cream cheese! Who knew that cream cheese isn't really a cream!? Fascinating...and also, thank you for the reminder regarding our conveniences and, for many here, quality of life!