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Now You’re Cooking With Creme


Ok, now they’ve gone too far. I’ve marveled more than few times over Kraft’s aggressively marketed Philadelphia Cream Cheese. All sorts of recipes have been developed to put cream cheese in places where it has no business being. And I like cream cheese–there’s a mostly eaten block of Philly in the fridge as I type.

Food companies creating uses for their products is hardly a new concept. Just a casual skim through my random collection of cooking pamphlets, brought numerous examples from the past.


A 15-page 1963 7-Up missive contains a recipe for Tuna Chow Mein, which in addition to canned tuna, mushrooms, water chestnuts and beansprouts, includes soy sauce and two bottles (7 ounces each) of everyone’s favorite uncola.

MeadeI’m not familiar with Martha Meade nor Sperry Flour, which seems to be a General Mills brand per this flimsy booklet from 1940. She certainly does come up with many creative uses for the starch, though. Mexican Pancakes (from a 1939 edition), for one, made Mexican from Sperry Yellow Corn Meal, I would suppose, not the bacon or “snappy cheese sauce” made from the company’s Drifted Snow “Home-Perfected” Flour. Upside-Down Dinner is a savory take on an upside-down cake that uses both flours above plus ham, tomatoes and green peppers and a ketchup-bouillon sauce.

Carnations Carnation’s Easy-Does-It Cookbook, a 176-page paperback from 1958 contains a recipe for “Aloha” Pick Ups in the chafing dish section. Just as interesting as creating a sauce from Carnation sour cream, corn starch, pineapple syrup, brown sugar and vinegar, is their suggestion that Carnation sour cream be used to season just about anything from fruit toppings to your favorite snacks.

What they didn’t do—and what Kraft has essentially gone and done—is to create a seasoned sour cream and sell it specifically as a dish-enhancer. Kraft has a new product, Philadelphia Cooking Creme, available in four flavors. Yes, seasoned cream cheese, for cooking.

Sour cream

Use a tub of Santa Fe Blend in the Tex-Mex Beef & Rice Casserole or 10 ounces of Original (not sure how that’s different from soft cream cheese) with Ritz crackers and Kraft grated parmesan to make Coquilles St. Jacques.

The only similar example I can think of offhand is Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup being commonly used as a sauce component rather than eaten straight from a bowl (though it was one of my favorite canned soups as a child, probably because it’s fatty and salty). But it’s still called a soup, not a sauce enhancer.

Jif, for one, could add ginger and soy sauce and make Chinese peanut sauce, chile and lime could be Thai peanut sauce, cumin and cayenne could Latin-up a blend. All would fit into savory recipes they’ve already published. Parkay and Yoplait could also get on board–the possibilities are practically limitless.

Carnation and 7-Up covers from Old

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