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18h45 UTC; FRIDAY, 10 JANUARY 2014:
Back around Thanksgiving, as some of you may recall, Butterball was making headlines with its claim that there would be a shortage of fresh turkeys and turkey breast heading into the Thanksgiving dinner (and were careful to qualify it by noting that such shortages would not affect frozen turkeys from Butterball, or from other suppliers).

No doubt generating plenty of fodder for the late-night monologues.

Now, Kraft Foods, as makes Velveeta pasteurised process cheese (and has for some 80 years now), is warning consumers of a clear and present likelihood for shortages of Velveeta in its several varieties over coming weeks, what with demand therefor expected to rise because of its use in microwave party dips (as made with tinned diced tomatoes and peppers, Ro-Tel brand in particular) as part of the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl ... and, later on, the NCAA's March Madness and Final Four period. (After all, Velveeta is essentially a blend of several different cheeses as are shredded, combined with fresh dairy milk, molten, pasteurised and formed into loaves as require no refrigeration until the inner seal is opened.)

But then again, Your Correspondent has to be among those who has doubts about such claims, and has been trained (in a way) to be wary of what amounts to disguised prolefeed. Witness where last evening, whilst doing some shopping at the Hy-Vee here in Winona for groceries, he was able to pick up a 2-lb. loaf of Velveeta Reduced Fat (made with 2% milk, in deference to my pre-diabetic diagnosis) along with some Dreamfields rotini pasta (as recommended by the hospital dietitian in the interest of controlling blood sugar spikes and urges) and Eckrich Turkey Smorked Sausage (to add a little more variety to an otherwise meaningless dish) ... as well as discerned plenty of 2-lb. loaves of Velveeta in such varieties as Original, Sharp Cheddar, Japaleno and Queso Blanco, along with the Reduced Fat. (Save for the Reduced Fat and Sharp Cheddar such, these same varieties of Velveeta were also to be had in 1-lb. loaves at the same Hy-Vee.)

In any event, perhaps Kraft needs to be reminded that creating artificial shortages to maximise profit margins is an Unfair Trade Practice and, hence, illegal. Even if you have warnings beforehand of its likelihood, taking pains all the while to avoid dropping obvious hints. (Still, though, consider that the Invisible Hand of the Marketplace does offer some alternative brands of process cheese loaf in case Velveeta may be unavailable, which may require looking around; other worthwhile options include Land O Lakes 4-Quart Cheddar and Bongards Loaf Cheese, both produced by farmer-owned cooperatives if you prefer some social responsibility.)

Meanwhile, it might be worth it to consider just once forsaking boxed macaroni-and-cheese mix (they usually contain powdered Cheddar cheese, which can be high in sodium) and going the "from-scratch" route; as Your Correspondent likes to do it, he boils up 2 cups of elbow macaroni or even rotini pasta (preferably such of whole grain or even the Dreamfields brand) according to package directions; after draining the pasta, add 4 oz. Velveeta or other process loaf cheese of choice (cut into small cubes), 2/3 to 3/4 cup milk, a drizzle of canola oil and (if desired) 4-5 sliced-up franks or half a smorked sausage or kielbasa ring (again, slicked up). Return all to the heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts and the ensuing sauce is smooth.

(It wouldn't hurt to add a few drops of hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire or Maggi Seasoning, if but to add some flavour. And don't forget to refrigerate leftovers.)

Meanwhile, do use the Comments section of this post to offer up your reports on "Velveeta shortages" in your part of the country, as well as details on any alternative brands of process loaf cheese you're resorting to as pis aller just in case.

"Another small house is finished in the next block"
(to Engrishfy the closing remarks on every episode of
Vic and Sade through the years)


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