I always enjoy having myself a nice piece of cheese on the right occasion... a nice piece of real cheese that is. What I mean by real is that it has been through the proper steps in which it is supposed to go through and comes out as a nice and delicious end result. This doesn't mean going through a process in which the cheese is made in order to have a better shelf life. While keeping your cheese fresh is supposed to be a good thing, the most important thing is that the cheese tastes good and you're getting a good experience while eating your cheese. The best way to do this is by buying the cheeses that actually demonstrate and real experience. It may be costly, but it's worth it.
Two of the most commonly used cheeses in America are American and Parmesan in a shaker. They may do their purpose in representing cheese in the household, but they do not represent very well. Let's start with American cheese, which I like to called "processed cheese" or "square cheese." It's the cheese that families use the most in America, but it's far from being the real deal. American cheese does not meet the requirements of being a real cheese and thus has to be considered something along the lines as "processed cheese." Due to the process of being made by cheese by-products, salt, additives, preservatives, and coloring, American cheese can very well be considered the "hot dog of the cheese family." Also, as real cheese begins to mold when it goes bad, American cheese simply shrivels up. Processed cheeses such as this made it big when James L. Kraft began his line of processed cheeses. One of the most famous is Velveeta, which is a block of "cheese" that is easy and convenient and makes for a delicious meal, yum-yum! Well that is if you don't mind eating "cheese" in the place of cheese, then have a ball. Some people don't mind, it's just not my cup of tea.
Parmesan in the shaker... I remember the green shaker and to me, I have no interest in any shaker. I always had the impression that the cheese in the shaker was Parmesan cheese. The cheese tasted like sand, in my opinion, and thus I never bothered having it. I would always have Pecorino Romano on my pasta, which is a sheep's milk cheese that starts an orchestra of tastiness in your mouth as you eat it. I later found out about Parmigiano Reggiano, which is the original Parmesan cheese. It happens to also be the king of all cheese, and it turns out to be a much better treat as opposed to Parmesan in a shaker. It's just like Swiss cheese being an offspring of the Swiss cheese known as Emmentaler.
I would find it to be a ridiculous experience if you went into a cheese shop or a place in which people take their cheeses seriously and ask "would you be able to tell me where you keep the American cheese?" or "where would you happen to keep that grated cheese in the shaker?" If I were the expert, I would be laughing on the inside. I wouldn't tell them to try the local supermarket, because then I would just be hurting my business. The best option would be to open them to a bunch of the other cheeses that are out there. With Parmesan, I would suggest Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is hard, but nice and nutty for a good experience. American would be a bit harder to compare another cheese to, or would want to compare another cheese to. Cheddar is probably the closest thing to it, while it doesn't even belong in that family. I do believe that those who enjoy American cheese would also enjoy a much better Cheddar cheese.
I also find the best place to shop for your cheese is in the imported section or a designated section, as oppose to your dairy section. The dairy section offers cheaper cheese, but the tight wrapping is not good for the cheese. In order to keep the cheese clean, yet still able to breathe (yes, it houses bacteria, so it can very well be considered "living"), it should be wrapped as loosely as possible. When you take it home, it should immediately be unwrapped and placed in a bag or something along those lines.
Eating cheese is meant to be a good experience. It could be considered a hobby, pastime, or a way to eat and be happy. Everybody, or most everybody, likes themselves a good selection of cheese. I know I surely do!