Yesterday I saw my brother for the first time in a few months, and what was one of the first things he spoke of? A great sandwich he made with pepper jack cheese. Now, this wasn’t ordinary pepper jack. It was a pepper jack-muenster hybrid. Nonetheless, I was reminded of society’s recent addiction to pepper jack.
Wikipedia tells us that:
Pepper jack cheese is a derivative of Monterey Jack that includes spicy hot peppers for a zesty flavor. Spicy, delicate and buttery, pepper jack cheese is semi-soft and open textured with a slightly tart flavor.
Pepper jack cheese can complement most meat, especially beef. Pepper jack is often used as an alternative cheese in dishes such as quesadillas, and also eaten with bread or crackers.
I can’t even keep track of all the food establishments that advertise the cheese. They love it because it sells. Sex sells, and so does pepperjack. Americans are not inherently in love with pepperjack. They used to love the quintessential American cheese. Does this new excitement for heat result from the elimination of mundane cheese like American, Cheddar or Swiss? Yes. Does it result from the influx of Mexican food ideas? Probably.
People love simple pleasures, and this is surely one of them. I’m all about simple solutions to increasing the fun of daily living. Still, I believe that pepper jack is too frequenly substituted for other cheeses that would actually be a better fit depending on bread, meat, vegetable, and condiments. Many people, but not all, who use pepper jack do so to feel more sophisticated. There’s only one problem: pepper jack is not the most sophisticated of deli cheeses. I’m not sure what the best cheese for lunch is, but it just cannot be pepperjack. Bottom line: pepper jack is good if used in moderation.
And for the record: pepper jack’s cousin, chipotle mayo, another popular condiment that has caught fire in recent years, is just a tad better. More later on my favorite sandwich craze…