For some people, the idea of vegan cheese can be a tough one to swallow. It's almost as if they take the notion of a "mozzarella" made out of soy or a palm-oil-based "Cheddar" as a personal affront.
One Facebook user recently vented his or her frustrations about a new line of vegan cheese being sold at the UK supermarket Sainsbury's, lambasting those who would dare label anything "cheese" that didn't come from an animal's udders. But be careful what you wish for.
"As a real cheese fan myself it's really annoyed me that Sainsburys (sic) have brought out a 'Vegan Cheese' made with COCONUTS," the post reads. "CHEESE IS NOT MADE WITH COCONUTS. Call it Gary or something don't call it Cheese because IT'S NOT CHEESE!!!!!!"
And thus, Gary was born.
Vegans latched on to the name and are now embracing Gary as an animal-friendly savior of the cheese world, with cries of "Long live Gary" echoing around the Internet.
The Facebook page It's not Vegan Cheese, it's Gary launched the same day that the original poster suggested the name, with a message saying, "We interrupt this broadcast to inform you that vegan cheese is now called 'GARY.'" The page is now loaded with Gary memes.
There's even a Change.org petition to "change the name of all 'vegan cheese' to Gary." Right now there are just 145 signatures, but who knows—if this thing gathers some steam, it could maybe even reach both Barack and Michelle Obama, to whom it is addressed (along with vegan cheese makers Daiya and Follow Your Heart).
"The biggest misconceptions about Gary are that it is named after Gary Yourofsky, a famous vegan activist, and that we are using Gary as something stupid to get attention, when, actually we started it as fun and people took the idea to the level it is on now," Krissy Valentine—the founder of the It's not Vegan Cheese, it's Gary Facebook account—told MUNCHIES. She recommended trying Gary on pizza, and added, "All Hail Gary!"
The original poster who ranted about non-milk cheese deleted their tirade, and followed up with another post saying he or she didn't mean to judge Gary and is really just a fan of cheese. (Unfortunately, some of the pro-Gary crowd allegedly sent death threats—some people can be very passionate about Gary.)
For those also interested in getting to know Gary, some recommended ways include Gary with crackers or even a grilled Gary sandwich.