What Processed Cheese Is Actually Made Of

Not that we'll stop using it to make grilled cheeses

We might pretend our palates have evolved since childhood, but we'll always have a soft, melty spot in our hearts for processed American cheese. You know, the square slices tucked into buttery griddled sandwiches and that giant brick Mom cubed up to make ethereally creamy mac and cheese. And though our love for these yellow products is unconditional, have you taken a moment to ask yourself what they're actually made of?

USDA chemist Michael Tunick tackles the topic in his latest tech video for Business Insider and uncovers what exactly is inside that plastic wrapping.

The secret? A combination of older cheeses. When processed cheese was first invented by J. L. Kraft in 1911, he was trying to get rid of his older cheese, so he mixed it in with his current batch.

The slices happily sitting in your fridge today are still made in the same way; a combo of both fresh and old cheeses is ground up with an emulsifier, which gives them their oozy characteristic when slapped between white bread and grilled in copious amounts of butter.

This month, we're going Under the Hood and into the art and science of the culinary world to find the emerging designers, independent farmers and (spoiler) major corporations creating trends from the ground up.