Everything You Know About Nacho Cheese Is Wrong

Illustration for article titled Everything You Know About Nacho Cheese Is Wrong

Here's a simple question. Do you know what nacho cheese is? As it turns out, whatever it is that you use to define "nacho cheese" is probably wrong.


Yesterday, Bloomberg published a mind-blowing article about the nature of nacho cheese. Get this: nobody, not even the people who make nacho-flavored things, or people who make cheese, can actually define what "nacho cheese" is. That's because there's no set definition.

In 1943, when Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya originally created nachos it was described as "Wisconsin cheese." Cheddar, basically. But, that doesn't mean there is a consensus about what nacho cheese is. The stuff in nacho cheese-flavored Doritos, for example? That's a mix of cheddar and romano. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration can't label what nacho cheese is, even though it's their job to define stuff like that. The International Dairy Foods association says there's "no definition" of nacho cheese. The Wisconsin Milk Marketing board says there "really is not a nacho cheese per se"—and these are the people representing cheddar in the first place! Hilariously, General Mills is on the record saying that nacho cheese is "based on what consumers are used to and what they believe nacho cheese flavor is."


Nacho cheese is whatever you believe it is. Which means that anything you sprinkle on nachos can presumably be "nacho cheese." Mozarella-topped nachos are equally "nacho cheese" as is cheddar "nacho cheese." Stuff that comes out of a can can be considered "nacho cheese" even if there's zero actual cheese in it.

Essentially: nacho cheese isn't real, people.

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Essentially: nacho cheese isn't real, people.

Nachos cheese is people!