Meet whipped cheese
Firm cheeses are challenging to schmear on toast. And woe to the vegetable lover who tries to dip her celery stick in a block of feta. But blending cheese with heavy cream, cream cheese or yogurt, usually in a food processor, produces a soft, malleable spread that’s good for all kinds of things.
Salty, tangy goat cheeses are popular starting points for whipping projects, but as whipped cheese becomes a restaurant fixture, more chefs are experimenting with localized adaptations: Parade Magazine last month featured Churchill Downs’ recipe for whipped charred onion pimento cheese.
Learn its backstory
Whipped cheese isn’t just a spread: It’s a symbol. “How can they whip cheese?” Willy Loman asks in Arthur Miller’s "Death of a Salesman." According to scholars of the play (and authors of high school term papers), Loman’s question about the “American-type cheese” on the middle shelf is really his way of expressing dismay about beaten-down dreams.
Metaphors aside, Loman wasn’t wondering about the kind of whipped cheese that graces the menus at Butcher & Bee and Poogan’s Porch. “Whipped cheese” recipes calling for shredded Cheddar and margarine occasionally turned up in 1950s newspaper columns about baked potatoes, published a few years after "Death of a Salesman" was written. And during that same era, Kraft was keen to suggest “whipped cheese,” meaning Philadelphia Cream Cheese mixed with milk, as a waffle topping.
Still, Loman’s wife had probably purchased “cheese whip,” a 1940s sandwich filling made from American cheese, eggs and butter.
And order it here
Spero, 616 Meeting St., sperocharleston.com, 843-203-3255 (English peas with Cipollini onions, bacon, mushrooms and whipped cheese, $7.50 or braised beef with whipped blue cheese, $10)