But my mom did do Italian passably well, making meatballs and sauce from scratch, even. So it's telling when things needed to get cheesy, out came the Kraft's, so much like cheese it doesn't need refrigeration. I love the photo above and its claim "the original flavor enhancer," which is vague enough to mean nothing, beyond a possible lawsuit from Accent, which I also remember in our 1970s spice cabinet. At least our kitchen appliances weren't avocado green.
So we certainly took cheese for granted, or for grated, as the case may be. Now I'm too sophisticated for that, of course, doing my cheese shopping at a proper cheese shop and brandishing my MicroPlaner with abandon at the slightest need for cheese (or zest--what handy tools). The work seems to make the food even better, somehow, or that's what I hope to think. I'm sure it's nothing about the distance I hope to make with even the smallest of choices, my childhood and its expiration date cabineted-away, hidden, I can only hope, by my way with words like Parmigiano, mise en place, risotto.