On Plastic Cheese and Crockpots

*WARNING: This post has its disgusting moments, and after reading it, you may think less of me.

This morning my folks took me to the Waffle House, where I ordered my standard Cheese-N-Eggs and coffee. When I asked our waitress to “hold the yolks” on my eggs, she looked at me and said, “So you’re telling me  you want me to take out the protein so you can have more of our plastic cheese?” Even though it was embarrassing when she put it like that, “more plastic cheese” was exactly what I was asking for.

It’s no secret to those who know me well that my eating habits are occasionally gross. Fast food and vending-machine snacks make up a larger portion of my diet than I’d like to admit. But I must say that the “experiment” I’m about to describe has made me think just a little bit harder about the garbage I’ve been consuming lately.

It’s February 2010. Super-Bowl Sunday, to be exact, and I made Rotel dip in the crockpot (1 brick of Velveeta + 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes). I guess the crockpot got too hot by the end of the night, so the dip got a bit dry and thick. Instead of cleaning up the crockpot that night, I turned it off and left it until the next day.

I didn’t clean it the next day, either. Nor the next day, nor the next year.

The crockpot became this disgusting experiment in my house, as my roommate Nancy and I vowed to see how long it would take for the thing to grow mold. Several people offered to clean it for us, but I guess the disgusting part of me was amazed at the cheese’s refusal to change from the exact same form it took that night of the Super Bowl party. I thought that surely it would eventually sprout something or, I don’t know, implode? Rip a hole in the space-time continuum?

It became clear after the one-year anniversary of the crockpot that the plastic cheese was never, ever, going to turn into anything other than the hardened mass of plastic that it was. So, we agreed to let Petey, Nancy’s dad, take on the challenge of cleaning the crockpot.

So, this May—an entire fifteen months after Super Bowl 2010—Petey attacked the crockpot with a knife, a screwdriver, and the courage of a tiger.

I expected Petey to find a fungi forest hiding underneath all of this. We’d taken care to leave the science experiment completely alone, so even the cheap plastic spoon stayed put. Lo and behold, it only took a couple shakes of the spoon to dislodge the mess.

Blammo! A fifteen-month-old piece of plastic cheese. We think Petey was disappointed that his task wasn’t more challenging than it was.

I guess the moral of the story is that some foods aren’t really foods. Velveeta, for example, even when infused with canned tomatoes, will exist like a fossil on your kitchen counter forever, so there’s no telling what kind of misery the body goes through to digest it.

We scrubbed and bleached the crockpot back to life, so I thought it would be fitting to re-christen it with another cheesy dish after its fifteen-month break. But this time, I made sure to use the kind of cheese that wasn’t 50% wax, as well as ingredients that—although not entirely healthy—are at least perishable.

Easy Crockpot Mac-N-Cheese (adapted from Paula’s Home Cooking)


  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 10-oz. bag of grated cheddar cheese (or, grate your own)
  • 1 can cheese soup
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • S&P

Boil the macaroni until al dente, then drain. Meanwhile, in a saucepan or whatever-you’ve-got, melt the butter and the cheese together.

Stir everything together in the crockpot, and set the temperature on Low. Make sure everything is incorporated well before leaving it alone to do its crockpot thing.

Cover, and let sit for 2 hours. I stirred it once or twice over the course, but this recipe is supposed to be low-maintenance. By dinnertime, you’ll have a hearty side dish.

I never said it was healthy, but at least it’s not that blasted plastic cheese.

How about you all? Any foods that gross you out as concepts, but you just can’t resist?

In the name of transparency, I’ll admit that I ate some Cheetos during the making of this post.



8 responses to “On Plastic Cheese and Crockpots

  1. Mozzarella sticks. Canned chicken. Gummy worms. Doritos. Diet Dr. Pepper. The mysterious oil the Wa-Ho cooks dip out of a crock and pour all over the griddle.

  2. Love it!

    Oh, I have many a culinary guilty pleasure. By coincidence only, it happens to be pump cheese (aka nacho cheese). I love that stuff! I also like McDonald’s Filet-o-Fish.

  3. Despite your efforts. Ro*tel dip is still on my list. The hubs and I eat it for dinner sometimes. We do it less now than a couple months ago, but I can’t promise it won’t happen again.
    Doritos, I also love doritos.

  4. Awesome. Doritos and Cheetos I think are going to someday be found to have a for-real addictive agent in them. I like Coffee Mate and I think that’ s all made up stuff.

    • Oh Bethany, you’re so right about the coffee mate. I hadn’t even thought of that. I easily drink and entire one of those in a week. But it’s SOOO GOOD! (and I believe you’re right about the addictive orange cheesy powder too)

  5. I’m pretty sure you just turned me off of making my favorite chili cheese dip ever again … that is with plastic cheese as an ingredient. I’ll modify it so I can use real cheese!

    I am so glad you blogged about this science experiment!

  6. There’s a lot of talk about the plastic cheese, but I’m intrigued about the tomatoes — what happened to them? Shouldn’t tomatoes mold? Or are there enough preservatives in a can of Rotel to make them plastic too? Fascinating.

    Also, for this pregnancy, one of the only things I can stomach are McDonald’s cheeseburgers. And we all know those aren’t real.

    • Sarah, I am mystified about the tomatoes. It’s like the plastic cheese turned everything else to plastic too, because after I posted this, I began to wonder if I hadn’t added sour cream to the mixture at some point (as I often have with rotel dip). Sour cream or no, the tomatoes did not mold, which is nuts.

      By the way, I would like to thank you all for still being my friends after this confessional, because this was a truly, truly disgusting thing I did here.


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