Welcome to Actually, a safe space for us to share our deeply held but likely unpopular opinions about food and drinks.
People like to think of string cheese as a relatively innocuous snack. In the office where I work, it tends to function as a sort of easy, inoffensive supplement—ever faithful, sitting there in the communal fridge between the Chobani yogurts and the cans of La Croix. As cheeses go, the soft mozzarella that constitutes most string cheese sits on the milder end of the spectrum. It’s the sort of thing that feels fundamentally immune to controversy, almost designed to ward it off; to argue about string cheese is almost antithetical to the whole concept.
But ask someone whether or not they actually “string” their string cheese, and you might not get a straight answer. You might find them calling you things like “psychotic,” or “a monster.” The question of whether to “string” string cheese, rather than simply biting into it, isn’t something most people even think about as a choice. After all, it’s right there in the name. There’s something graceful about the act of peeling away strings, and something markedly less so in the dull, unceremonious bite.
The discourse surrounding string cheese has come to embody a kind of cruel, oppressive rigidity, wherein there’s only one “correct” way to eat string cheese. There’s a danger, though, in engaging with the world according to custom, or as prescribed by tradition. Biting into string cheese can feel like a violation of some great, unspoken rule about how we’re meant to engage with our pocketable dairy-adjacent snacks. It feels a little wrong, and a little unsettling. There’s a parallel to be drawn with Allison Williams’ character in Get Out, eating Froot Loops with one hand and periodically sipping milk through a straw, or with that picture of NYC mayor Bill De Blasio eating pizza with a knife and fork.
But must string cheese actually “string?” Obviously not, because that shit is for children. Stringing string cheese makes me feel like a toddler, and is significantly less practical than simply taking a bite. Doing away with the ridiculous ceremony of separating individual cheese fibers opens up a world of possibilities. Biting string cheese only requires one hand! Awesome. And less time peeling means more time for cheese! Amazing.
Still, people love to police the way string cheese is consumed. The following Tweet is no exception to the standard:
But even Scorpion67Photo can recognize a certain “adult” quality in biting that stringing simply doesn’t afford. What’s so “savage” about being “adult”? Why don’t we just go back to eating baby food out of jars?
Among the more inane criticisms of biting is the idea that stringing is somehow more “fun,” which plays into the idea that we should revert to childhood eating habits.
The problem here is not that biting actually removes any “fun,” but the assumption that there’s any “fun” to be had in playing with your food. Grow up!
Biting through the bullshit, directly into the cheese stick, feels like transgression. Knowing that people find it so unnerving is part of the appeal. Far from being an unobjectionable snack, string cheese makes for a highly volatile topic of conversation, likely to explode at the suggestion of an alternative mode of consumption. It should be noted, too, that these string cheese fundamentalists seem to have no problem with biting when the stick is coated with breadcrumbs and fried.
There’s no point in going out of your way to make eating cheese any harder than it needs to be. Why live your life according to someone else’s rules? Take control of your life, bite into your destiny, and experience that little thrill that comes from ritual transgression on the most minute level.