American Cheese Was Invented By a Canadian

Illustration for article titled American Cheese Was Invented By a Canadian

It's like learning that French fries aren't from France. Or that apple pie isn't from the United States. Well, here's another food origin story that might shock you: American cheese was invented by a Canadian.


That's right, the most American of possible food products, American cheese actually owes its existence to a canuck. James Lewis Kraft was born in Canada in 1874 and in 1903 moved to Chicago where he started a food company — a little operation called J.L. Kraft and Brothers that would eventually become known as Kraft Foods.

Kraft patented a method for making pasteurized cheese product in 1916 that was then manufactured for the U.S. government during World War I. By 1917 the Army bought 6 million pounds of the stuff, prized for its ability to not spoil on the battlefield.


During the early 1920s Kraft's American cheese was further fine-tuned into the foiled-wrapped blocks we know today as Velveeta. And the rest is history. Only in America. Or I guess, only in Canada, eh? [NPR]

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Incorrect, the most American food ever is fried bald eagle eggs with a side of ketchup and freedom!