Missing: American Cheese

February 8, 2012


Food shopping. I went to the deli counter.

Me: “May I please have a half of a pound of American Cheese sliced thin?” (Ok, so that’s probably a tad more proper and polite than I actually said it, but I definitely said please.)

Deli girl: “Yellow or White?”

Me: “White.” I am slightly concerned as I have never in my life been asked such a thing when requesting American Cheese at the deli counter.

Deli girl: “We only have regular slices. Was that a half pound?”

Me: “What do you mean ‘regular slices’?” Now, not only am I concerned, I am also a cheese moron.

Deli girl: “Like the pre-packaged slices right there.” Points – no lie – to a pack of like Kraft singles packaged similarly to a regular brick of American Cheese in the deli display case.

Me: “Huh. You don’t slice it like you do, say – that cheese right there?” (I point to a brick of cheddar that looks just like a brick of good old fashioned American Cheese.)

Deli girl (holding back a chuckle): “No, we only have it pre-packaged. I have never seen it any other way.”

Me (in my head): “REALLY? Is this fo’ reaaaaal? They don’t have fresh sliced American Cheese here? The one night I plan and have time to cook, I pick Cheese Round Steak and they don’t have normal American Cheese.”

Me (out loud): “Really? That’s interesting. We just moved here from Philadelphia and it’s a regular deli item there. I didn’t know it wasn’t like “a thing” that was offered everywhere. Sorry about that.” (Because it’s AMERICAN CHEESE.)

Deli girl: “Hmmm. Keep shopping at different stores – we all have different stuff, so you may be able to find it. I could get you like Provolone or Swiss instead?”

At this point I am now questioning if this gal has ever eaten a slice of American Cheese because neither of those options are remotely similar in taste.

Me: “I’ll take some Provolone. Thanks.” There was no way I was having her put 10 slices of  off-brand Kraft singles in a plastic deli bag and handing it to me over the counter after weighing them and putting a sticker on them. (Plus, strangely, I don’t really like the pre-packaged ones.) I also can’t get my head around why I would have her do that when I can just walk back by the milk and grab them myself?!

In any case, I now have a mission – to find fresh-sliced American Cheese. And since I’ll probably have to talk to a ton of deli workers to find it, maybe I will up my Portland friend tally as a bonus. And if that happens, I will invite them over for dinner. What will I serve? Cheese Round Steak, of course.

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