Grocery Guide

Kraft-Crayola String Cheese Sticks

I don't know why I can spend an inordinate amount of time examining nutrition labels but I can't take 30 seconds to look more closely at a package of cheese.

Ever susceptible to the lure of special-edition products, I noticed what appeared to be a package of string cheese sticks colored and shaped like crayons. I figured it was some sort of joint marketing ploy between Kraft and Crayola for back-to-school, so I grabbed a package with vague thought of making some really weird, psychedelic fried cheese sticks. Or maybe even pretending to color with cheese? Additionally enticing was the offer of a coupon for $3 off Crayola products, a boon for me since I'm forever amassing art supplies.

I threw the cheese-cum-crayons into my fridge and only upon closer (okay, ANY) inspection the following day, I discovered there's nothing at all colorful about this cheese. Okay, the sticks do boast a barbershop pole twist orange and yellow-white design because they're a mix of cheddar and mozzarella varieties, but there's nothing even vaguely in the shape or color of a Crayola crayon. WTF.

I did, indeed, find a coupon inside, but now I'm too embarrassed to use it, as it is apparent from my ability to be fooled by the color outline of a crayon on plastic that my perception skills are as advanced as a two-year-old's. Which makes buying crayons particularly poignant. But maybe I'll get this instead.

Anyway, so as not to waste my "cheese crayons," I attempted to make panko cheese sticks using this recipe from Tasty Kitchen. But my vision continued to fail. Although delightful photos accompanied each part of the instructions, I missed one key step: place your tray of breaded cheese sticks into the freezer for 20-30 minutes before pan frying them.

What thus emerged when I attempted to fry my breaded cheese crayons was disgusting puddles of partially burned cheese and bread crumbs. A result so offensive, in fact, that I do not believe a photograph of it would be suitable for children. Or anyone, really, who takes pride in a good fried cheese stick.

Sometime, I'll give homemade fried cheese sticks another go, and in the meantime, I'm gonna invest in some art supplies and maybe a pair of reading glasses.

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Joanna O'Leary