Why Mozzarella Is the Worst Cheese There Is

Also, pre-grated cheese is evil

  • Share
  • Read Later
Rebecca Siegel / Flickr

Only eat mozzarella if it's fresh

According to the U.S.D.A., Americans eat over 30 pounds of cheese a year. 11.5 pounds of that is mozzarella, which has beat out cheddar (9.6 pounds) for the second year in a row. The means mozzarella is the most popular form of cheese in the United States, which it shouldn’t be, because it’s terrible.

Plain-old mozzarella comes in vaccuum-tight plastic bags stacked on grocery store shelves like white bricks, which the cheese pretty much is. Most of the mozzarella in the U.S. is desiccated, dried out until it has a better shelf life, less moisture, and less taste. The brick shape and hard texture makes mozzarella popular for grating, but much of the country’s favorite cheese comes in an even more heinous form.

Modern Farmer relates our obsession with mozzarella to the popularity of pizza and notes that “resealable bags of shredded cheddar and mozzarella” have made cheese easier to add to meals. These bags of pre-grated, fibrous strings of dairy-like substance that come dusted with preservatives are literally the devil. They make foodies cry. No one should ever be forgiven for buying them, and don’t even ask about Kraft’s green cylinders of atomized parmesan dust.

You should only be putting regular mozzarella on pizza. Eating fresh mozzarella in non-melted form is okay. That’s it. And if you feel tempted by the allure of convenient bagged cheese, get off your couch, buy a cheese grater, and use it. Your tastebuds will thank you.

The good news is that there are many other types of cheese for culinarily backward Americans to enjoy besides mozzarella and its lesser-evil cousin cheddar.

Burrata is an amazing form of mozzarella that also contains cream. Cut open the outside of the cheese, and out comes oozing a spreadable, soft substance that is ten times as delicious as any normal mozzarella. Grana Padano is a cross between parmesan and romano cheese that’s great grated or on its own. Robusto is like cheddar but better.

For those who can handle stinkier cheeses, triple cream brie is accessibly pungent. Epoisses is said to have been Napoleon’s favorite cheese. Rogue Creamery makes a line of blue cheeses that are good for beginners who don’t want too much mold.

I’m not telling all you dairy philistines to start eating Casu marzu, a maggot-filled cheese that’s illegal in the U.S., but at least try something different.

57 comments
JoaodeCarvalho
JoaodeCarvalho

I can understand the point of this article but it's terribly written. It basically says that you shouldn't buy non-traditional cheeses. Real mozzarella is "mozzarella di bufala" - that usually comes in little white soft cheese balls. Search it up. Everything else is part of those inventions that make "life easier" but are not nutritious.

dnnythms
dnnythms

Does pizza cheese fall into this stat?  If it does, you said, "You should only be putting regular mozzarella on pizza."

FrankBourgousie
FrankBourgousie

Oh, look, another arrogant food snob. It kind of reads like poor quality satire. Yawn.

AnonnaMiss
AnonnaMiss

Oh God the hipster foodie is making noise again.

MichaelO'Hara
MichaelO'Hara

"Literally" the devil? I don't think you understand what that word means.

notLostInSpace
notLostInSpace

Awful article.  Never says anything that is really bad, just the author's obnoxious opinions about frozen and preserved cheeses. Here is what should be discussed>  Ask why is pizza so popular?  Because it is cheap and within the budget of the increasingly larger poor class and shrinking middle class.  I never cared for pizza very much growing up, but I am hard pressed to buy a meal for 4 or 5 people for less.  Dough with a little sauce and a little cheese.  Great nutrition.  I'm sure there is a correlation somewhere with obesity.  

RoyShastid
RoyShastid

Next.....Why don't more people chose toe cheese ? Simple affordable locally produced by airtight shoes and artisans.

coriolanus
coriolanus

"These bags of pre-grated, fibrous strings of dairy-like substance that come dusted with preservatives": Um, I have to point out that the "preservatives" in bagged cheese are natural additives. Looking at a bag in my fridge, I find "potato starch" (nothing more than potato flour), cellulose (while this is manufactured and the idea of it is somewhat gross, it is still just wood/plant fiber), and natamycin, an anti-mold agent made from bacteria and approved for use in the much more stringent EU. It's not like they're putting Red 40 and MSG in your grated cheese. You'll have to get Cheetos for that.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

I kept reading the article to find some kind of relevance - facts, figures, surveys, links, studies,  ANYTHING - that substantiates the headline and assertions made in the article.

I found NOTHING.

Instead, what I was subjected to was some idiot's unsupported, snooty diatribe against commercial-grade cheeses because he/she/it is offended at what commercial production does to cheese.

Really?

It's one thing to rail and rant against something that's actually bad for you and prove it's bad. But it takes on a whole new level of arrogance to come out and say, "Gosh, I hate this stuff so you should too." without offering anything more than a lame opinion (not even any credentials that may explain why your opinion is any better than ours).

But the reason this reaches ten orders of magnitude more arrogant is the assumption that everyone in the world:

  1. Gives a damn about their CHEESE.
  2. Has the money and the time to hunt down something "better" on your say-so alone.
  3. Has the palate to even be able to tell the difference.
  4. Will even like what you suggest more than what they get (familiarity in taste is usually the determining factor in likes and dislikes)

For someone who is supposed to know about food, (allegedly, like I said, no credentials means you don't have any authority to speak except as a lay person), you sure as hell don't know much about people or writing to an audience.


Puck101
Puck101

I think everyone missed the the biggest mistake of all......... "For those who can handle stinkier cheeses, triple cream brie is accessibly pungent" Accessibly pungent????????????  Do not you mean excessively pungent? If you can not spell or use the grammatically correct words............ do us all a favor and STOP WRITING!!!!!!

beaelliott
beaelliott

All animal-based "cheese" is made from mammalian milk: Adult humans do not need cow's milk any more than they need goat's milk, wolf's milk, camel's milk, giraffe's milk. Unweaned infants do remarkably better on their own mother's breast milk which is what our species was intended to consume. There's absolutely nothing beneficial to the human diet in cow's milk that can't be gotten through plant based sources. 


Female cows are forcibly artificially inseminated to become pregnant and continue lactating. After 9 months, the dairy industry steals these baby calves shortly after they are born. The "worthless" males who can't make milk are either killed immediately or kept in isolation for a few months to become veal. The unfortunate females calves follow their mother's sad lot all the way to the last moments on the kill floor when they are no longer "productive". 

Thankfully there's abundant plant based alternatives that are just as nutritional, just as satisfying and just as versatile in cooking. Some even have twice the amount of calcium and vitamin D as cow's milk does. 

Dairy is also destructive to the environment and a tragic waste of resources. Perhaps it is time for "unweaned" adults to look beyond what deceptiveness and hype the dairy industry is pitching at you in order to keep their profits and their cruel practices in check.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GrbYVsK7vs

SamBinder
SamBinder

cool statements but where is your argument that backs them up, fool?

peabody3000
peabody3000

pointless and unsubstantial. something tells me the author will delight in seeing how stupid people think this article is. ah the sad state of journalism today

Foodcritic1994
Foodcritic1994

Headline: Why this article is the worst article there is.....


1. I just wasted valuable time reading this that I will never get back.

2. Starts with "heinous" dry cheese and ends with maggots??? Really??

3. I had to re-read part of it because I thought I had missed a point that clearly was not there to begin with.  I thought this was     an article on possible healthy eating choices, only to find out it is an article cranked out to meet a deadline.

4. Why did they find it important to publish what this guy likes and dislikes to eat?

5. We are all dumber for having read this condescending piece of trash.

hselrahc
hselrahc

Cheese, in general, is delicious.  It's also probably just behind red meat as the worst thing for your life expectancy.  There are plenty of healthy foods that are also tasty.  Check it out!

RachelThatcherLoveridge
RachelThatcherLoveridge

Silly writer.  I LOVE cheese.  I loved it even before I got to live in France, near the border of Italy.  I loved the fresh mozzarella there, and every type of cheese I got to try from France and Italy.  But, I still love Mozzarella.  I love to sit with a ball of American-style mozzarella and peel the layers off, then bite into them. 


I'm puzzled by the purpose of this article.  

LisaKindel
LisaKindel

Wow, this is the most hateful article I've read about food. Why? It's like getting upset at people for liking $3 olives instead of $15 gourmet olives. It's just cheese, Jack, and if we like it, then leave us alone. 


I personally get a wide variety of real cheeses from around the world, including mozzarella. My husband doesn't need those varieties of cheese in his world. He's content with those dried out blocks of cheese. I have yet to berate him or call him stupid or vilify his food choices. It's none of my business and forcing him to eat a cheese he doesn't find appealing in its texture or taste is just weird.

Why does anyone care what other people like to eat and enjoy? I certainly would not want to try various types of mozzarella based on this punitive article.

DellCousins
DellCousins

You write like an 11-year-old. Is that what TIME is looking for these days?

FinalOpinion1
FinalOpinion1

Who cares about Kyle Chayka's opinion on cheese?  Like "art is in the eye of the beholder", "taste is in the tongue of the beholder". Whatever the cheese, if I like it I eat it.

RobertoVenturini
RobertoVenturini

Being Italian, I can't refrain from suggesting an amendment to your article. 


Substitute "Mozzarella" with "The thing that n the US is called mozzarella". I can assure you that the latter has no relationship whatsoever with the former :-)

ChrisRapier
ChrisRapier

1st, The moz/provolone mix used on pizza is excellent for this application. Is it at the top of the list of great cheeses? Of course not, but for a good slice of utility pizza it really can't be beat. Yes, sometimes a fresh moz on a margarita pizza is astounding - but you don't always want that. Why is this a problem for anyone? Even the foodies I know don't turn their nose up at slice of pizza with the plastic cheese on it.

2nd, if you want a 'real' stinky cheese go with a petite munster. This has nothing to do with the orange dyed rind deli slices but is an amazing soft washed rind cheese with an incredibly complex and fascinating flavor.

Eva_fate
Eva_fate

I agree about the cheese varieties but unless you are going to sift the blood out of my cheese and clean the cheese grater, I'm going to stick to buying shredded cheeses.

DonnaGreenPilkey
DonnaGreenPilkey

I think I'll stick to eating the mozzarella I like, how I like to eat it, whenever I want.

chocofluff
chocofluff

The title says that mozzarella is "the worst cheese there is," and then you end the article with a reference to a cheese that is serve half dissolved because it's full of *live maggots*?? You're funny. 

YvonneWagner1
YvonneWagner1

Hi guys, do some research some of you, this guy speaks the sensible truth.

For goodness sake, Not being able to afford the good stuff doesn't wash. Will you be able to afford the health care needed in future for poor, if cheap food choices? Come on everyone, make good choices for your future and present health. Just cos you may not be able to afford healthy stuff doesn't mean you should eat cheap c..ap !

Cook from scatch, buying REAL food is a good place to start. Give it a go, Yvie

RockHowell
RockHowell

Get off it. Seriously, what is this garbage? This is Time Magazine?!? I had to check.

None of us are Napoleon, in case you checked.

Allow people their tastes. A good mozzarella is part of a number of dishes that "foodies" love. You know, Italians. They HATE their food.

I try to imagine him saying this to anyone who can only afford Sythetic "American cheese" until they beat him like a rented mule.

tjsands1118
tjsands1118

I'm getting sick of ingredient snobs. Cheap cheese is good for cheap dishes. Not every meal has to be a pan seared filet of obnoxious, sometimes you just want some thing easy and quick, and prepared ready to use products make that all the easier. Usually when I buy mozzarella it's for pizza, and always buy pre-shredded as I'm not going to pay twenty dollars for "fresh" mozzarella and shredding mozzarella is a nightmare (i know you aren't suppose to shred it, but I challenge you to get as consistent of a cover any other way.)

drdairy50
drdairy50

I'm glad you like cheese and various different types, I do too. I work for the dairy industry and have dedicated most of my life to dairy research, so I feel compelled to jump in here.  Cheesemakers have done a great job putting fresh, great-tasting cheese in many different shapes, sizes and varieties within our reach at both the grocery store and the pizza parlor.  Packaged, shredded mozzarella may not have the same qualities as fresh, but it’s just as wholesome and nutrient rich.  And all the home cooks I know sure appreciate that it’s ready-to-sprinkle on the salad or lasagna that they’re rushing to get on the table! I thinks it's good to encourage people to try new varieties of cheese, but let's not throw out the Mozzarella or Cheddar, for those who like it!


PaulMiller2
PaulMiller2

Sometimes, when I'm alone and caught off-guard by some particularly terrifying thought (like "Is my moustache twirly enough?" or "What if someone's already heard of my favorite band?"), I thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that there are bloggers like this to light an artisanal candle against the darkness.

FeRD
FeRD

@coriolanus In fairness, the piece (which, with apologies to commenter @FrankBourgousieabove, I chose to read as quite amusing satire) doesn't actually claim otherwise. It doesn't say the preservatives are chemical or unnatural. Only that they're "dairy-like" — which certainly applies to everything you mentioned — and that they're satanic... er, that they're satan. (That "literally the devil", that's pretty damn unforgivable. Or, still amusing, if you imagine Rob Lowe in Parks & Recreation.)

quirkygirl
quirkygirl

@Puck101  No. He meant accessibly. His word choice is perfectly correct. Also, for someone so concerned with word choice, your punctuation is abhorrent.

125goldenmane
125goldenmane

@Foodcritic1994

Have you not noticed that we are in the age of twitter, etc. and everyone thinks that all of us think it's important to know what every little thought they have and every little dislike or like they have.  Of course these people really don't realize that NO ONE cares about them.

eifg
eifg

@RachelThatcherLoveridge  I think the purpose of the article is to say that processed cheeses that come in bags from factories are not the best food choice. It recommended many fresh cheeses to eat. If you like the processed stuff then eat it.

LeeMcKay
LeeMcKay

@LisaKindel You missed the point.  The shredded stuff in bags isn't cheese at all....not by any stretch of the imagination.

Tahisha
Tahisha

@LisaKindel  "It's just cheese, Jack" 

and you worked an unintentional pun in :)  i applaud you :)

ChrisRapier
ChrisRapier

@RockHowellRock, He's not talking about fresh mozzarella cheese (which are soft balls stored in water) but the blocks of plasticine like cheese used to top many pizzas. There is a definite difference in texture and flavor between the two. Italians (like those that live in Italy) wouldn't recognize the latter as being mozzarella cheese at all. That being said, the author is being a condescending twerp. 

JodyWoodard
JodyWoodard

@drdairy50 my dad worked at a cheese factory until he retired, in Minnesota. the cheese you buy in the store is real cheese. few if any preservatives. comes in many different varieties. even the shredded stuff is real cheese. the label on it reads the same as the label on the brick. milk, salt, enzymes, artificial color. nothing more. unless you buy the real cheap stuff(certain store brands). it becomes different types depending on what kind of milk you use and the enzymes and mixing and ageing process. with you could get good cheese curds away from Minnesota and Wisconsin.