Some time ago, in a fit of starved desperation, I unwrapped a Slim Jimâ„¢ Chili n’ Cheese stick, and could not believe how terrible it was. I had eaten Slim Jims before, so I knew they were bad, but the cheese, man…the cheese. It was oily, brittle, chalky, and tasted nothing like cheese–in short, it showed no signs of actually being what the wrapper said it was.

I resolved to put it through a series of scientific tests to determine: IS IT CHEESE?

Here’s the offending product in its wrapper. Imagine how hungry you’d have to be in order to eat that. I was that hungry when I ate it. Don’t you feel bad for me?

Here’s what happened when I took the first stick of alleged cheese out of the wrapper. This is the first thing I noticed about Slim Jim üncheese–you can’t bend it. Outside of cooked pasta, actual cheese is some of the most pliant food you’re likely to enjoy eating, especially when it’s processed in convenient stick form. So far, the signs point to: NOT CHEESE!

Test One: Grating. Now, I’m not Iron Chef , but it seems to me that you can grate pretty much any cheese there is, so this seemed to be a pretty good way of determining some kind of baseline cheese content. I grated three sticks. Because this crap is so oily and prone to breaking apart, I also grated half of my left thumb, but no sacrifice in the name of science is too great. (Now I know how Jonas Salk must have felt.) As you might be able to see in this picture, the üncheese retained its crayon-like consistency even after grating. Signs still point to: NOT CHEESE!

Note: Performing Test One left my hand covered with Slim Jimâ„¢ Chili n’ Cheese residue. It stinks. Further experiments should not be performed without gloves. And bleach.

Test Two: Melting. Again, Iron Chef might correct me on this, but I’m pretty sure that one ought to be able to make a nice fondue out of whatever cheese one wishes–so I dumped my plate o’ gratings in a saucepan and waited for the magic to happen. Two results took place almost immediately:

  1. 1. The üncheese gratings started hissing.
  2. 2. A really, really bad smell filled my kitchen.

It was awful. It smelled like a cooler full of old hot dog water that had been left out in the yard for a year. I’m not normally squeamish about smells, but wow. I had to lean back or hold my breath as I stirred the pot, and it became apparent fairly quickly that no matter how long I stirred, I was never going to get rid of all the lumps of solid üncheese. Definitely: NOT CHEESE!

Note: Test Two needs to be performed in an extremely well-ventilated area. Tester should be wearing clothes that do not need to be worn again.

Test Three: Cooling. This really doesn’t have much to do with cheese, really–I just wanted to see what would happen after I let the stuff sit for awhile. I sort of expected it to separate from itself, or eat through the glass, but mostly it just got grosser. It developed a thick, lumpy skin moments after being transferred out of the saucepan. The terrible smell did not go away.

Here’s the üncheese, fully cooled, after being dumped from the glass onto a plate. As you can see, it retained its shape pretty well. This is something ordinary cheese would do. However, I think it would take longer than ten minutes of letting it cool before you could get real cheese to do this.

Note: The terrible smell was still overpowering at this point in the experiment. All doors and windows were open. In the future, testers should be equipped with, at minimum, a paper breathing mask.

Test Four: Mutilating. Our last test was motivated by un-scientific concerns; namely, anger, revulsion, and a desire to inflict harm. The üncheese was pierced and split with a steak knife, then dumped into an outside garbage bin.

I love cheese–it’s my favorite food group. This stuff, aside from being crappy, is an insult to cheese lovers everywhere. All signs point to: definitely NOT CHEESE! In fact, in all probability, this is NOT FOOD! Don’t let your friends or loved ones eat it!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a sink full of üncheese-covered dishes that need to be bleached and set on fire…

About the Author

Jeff Giles

Jeff Giles is the founder and editor-in-chief of Popdose and Dadnabbit, as well as an entertainment writer whose work can be seen at Rotten Tomatoes and a number of other sites. Hey, why not follow him at Twitter while you're at it?

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