un-CAN-ny

ChrisatBedfordCheese / May 23, 2011, 11pm

So this blog is going to be about cheese that comes in a can. Yes, yes, I know. The headline is unabashedly cheesy(<——SEE WHAT I DID THERE?! The fun never ends.) but I can’t apologize for every piece of innuendo I stumble across out there.

Currently, in the late May era of 2011, I’ve noticed a customer trend. I’m not sure where it started or how (but I have my suspicions…) but there has been a huge influx of visitors to the shop that all pose a similar question: “Hey, have you guys heard of that one cheese. You know. That cheese that comes in a can?!” Yes, customer, I have. Do I know or care to know anything about it? No. But, alas, when researching the term “world news cheese,” this can-cheese popped up over and over again. So, I decided to get down to the bottom of it and learn EVERYTHING I COULD ABOUT IT. That’ll show you and your questions.

The cheese in question? This little baby:


Washington State University Creamery’s Cougar Gold. Yessir. No longer is the term cougar relegated to older women pursuing younger men, it now encompasses an entire genre of can-cheese. A product that will be shelf stable in this post-rapture world we live in (and when the apocalypse comes, you know I’ll be cackling with greedy delight as I crack open another can of cheese while warding off zombie hoards of condo-living Brooklynites.)

Produced in a creamery owned by Washington State University (of which there is eerily little information) in Pullman, Washington, Cougar Gold is actually one of several cheese produced the University. Coming in a trademark 30 oz. can, it’s described as a “rich, white cheddar with a smooth, firm texture that becomes more sharp and crumbly with age” and has been aged for at least a year before ready for purchase.

Apparently, back in the late 1930′s or early 1940′s, WSU was approached by the US Government to begin producing cheese as a way to ship a dense, nutrient rich food to soldiers fighting in World War II. What’s the best way to ship things long distance with low spoilage rates? In a can!

Mmmmm....coon gravy.  I like how this possum is crawling into a can.  Or is that a drainage ditch?  All I know is that this animal looks so shamed and miserable that you are almost glad it got crammed into a can with assorted tuber mush...

Mmmmm....coon gravy. I like how this possum is crawling into a can. Or is that a drainage ditch? All I know is that this animal looks so shamed and miserable that you almost are glad it got crammed into a can with assorted tuber mush...

Unfortunately, the idea of cheese in a can never took off. Cans started exploding due to gasses released by cheese bacteria, and despite being sealed in a can, it still needed to be refrigerated until it’s opened. Supposedly, these suckers will last forever, as long as you keep them refrigerated. (Like I said, my bomb shelter is full of these. Cougar Gold and Mini Hot Dog Lunchables…)

A crazy statistic about this cheese is that the University sells more than 250,000 cans of their cheeses a year (most of which is Cougar Gold.) And at $18 a pop, that’s a ridiculous return. (It’s like $4,500,000 gross profit. No, seriously. For real. Annually.) In addition to Cougar Gold, WSU produces 7 other cheeses. A couple variations on Cougar Gold, something called “Natural Viking” (which I’m pretty sure is the name of a mid-90′s, softcore, gay porn? But, details…) which is likened to Monterey Jack. You can also get Natural Viking with all kinds of fun things added to it, like basil…and peppers…or even dill and garlic!

Nom nom nom.

Nom nom nom.

Amazingly, this cheese has also won all sorts of awards. It got a blue ribbon at the American Cheese Society in 1993 and a gold medal at the World Cheese Awards in 2006. It’s also gotten all sorts of silver medals. I mean….the more I read, the more impressed I am. If you do a google search on the cheese to see what it tastes like, most people describe it as crumbly, milky, sweet, fruity, and nutty. It’s even rumored that Beecher’s Flagship is based on this cheese (Ha. Oh man, Beecher’s. You try so hard.) Some have suggested pairing it with domestic IPA’s or Merlot. Huh. The person who writes cheesemonger.wordpress.com even gave it “4 paws out of 4 paws (cause that’s all I got).” Despite the serious zoomorphic delusions going on here, that’s a pretty rave review.

Woahhhhhh...

So go out there and order this stuff! And then send me one! Because I want to invite over 25 of my closest and dearest pals and force them all to eat canned cheese. You know you want to.

I have a cold.  Thats my excuse.

I have a cold. That's my excuse.

Ok! That’s all! And also! Go here and vote for me! Do it nowwwww.

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