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Thursday, August 11

Gapers Block

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I hate Velveeta cheese with a passion. I really don't like cream of mushroom soup, and cheap-ass beer doesn't exactly turn me on. Yet somehow, when all of the above are melted together with salsa, a creamy, spicy, shockingly delicious chip dip is created. It doesn't make sense to my brain, but it makes hella sense to my mouth. Every batch of queso is a miniature stove-top miracle. It's kitchen alchemy at its finest.


Start with a jar of Pace picante sauce, a medium-sized loaf of Velveeta cheese, a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, and a can of the cheapest beer you can find (I used High Life, but Schlitz, Old Style, and PBR are all fine choices, too.)

Dump the salsa, the soup, and the "cheese" into a saucepan over medium heat. Crack open the beer and pour in about half the can. At this point you might notice that the mixture in the pan looks a lot like vomit. Chill out, it's gonna be fine. Drink the rest of the beer while you give the glop in the saucepan an occasional stir. By the time you've finished the beer, the Velveeta will be mostly liquified. Stir a little more until everything is evenly melted together.


Now that you've got a whole saucepan brimming with cheesy goodness, gather some friends around, pop open a bag of Tostitos, and dig in. At home we have special little round table for the pot of queso. Whenever queso time rolls around, we spread the chips out on the vintage 1970s shag carpeting around the low table, arrange ourselves in a tight circle around the chips, and worship at the temple of cheese.


Please, don't attempt to make queso alone. The powerful addictive properties will make it impossible to resist grotesquely overeating, which could result in, at best, a case of queso-belly, or at worst, coronary heart failure. Eating queso is an intrinsically social experience. Eating queso alone perverts the true nature of the food and destroys its magical ability to turn enemies into friends, friends into lovers, and lovers into sexy naked lovers covered in bright-orange cheese dip.

Dip safely, dip with friends.

*Noten: Yo se que "queso" significa "cheese." Sin embargo, en Minnesota, y por contexto de esta receta "queso" significa "dip for chips."**

**(For English speakers:) Note: I know that "queso" means "cheese." However, in Minnesota and therefore in the context of this recipe, "queso" means "dip for chips."

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Naz / November 18, 2003 12:28 AM

Holy shit, I can only imagine how bored you were/out of interesting food to make this, only because I've done this sort of thing before. It looks pretty damn good in that last photo and indeed, vomit-like and inducing in that second one. Does the beer really add to it?

My concoction: scramble some eggs, throw in a can of baked beans and then add a few slices of whatever cheese you have handy. Oh yeah, breakfast food of the gods and champions. Mop it up with toast.

parker / November 18, 2003 12:29 AM

queso should definitely be eaten with more than a few people. once, ruthie made some just for the two of us and i ended up eating way more than i should have and ruining my appetite for anything else. i try not to make a habit of just eating velveeta and beer for dinner.

Paul / November 18, 2003 8:50 AM

Mmmm, midwest fondue.

I admit to using cans of soup for quick kitchen improv, I made a salmon pot pie this weekend with a can of salmon, a can of New England clam chowder and some Bisquick.

However I can not condone the use of Velveeta for any reason. I wouldn't use it as bait. And to call it cheese, even in quotes, puts you at litigation risk from all the other cheeses.

If you have an extra half hour next time you need some dip, try this: roast some tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers and mushrooms for 20 minutes, blend them up as chunky as you want 'em, heat it all up in a saute pan, add a few ozs. of apple cider vinegar for tang, and melt in 3-4 ozs. of goat cheese. Your guests will be willing to pay per dip.

Alex / November 18, 2003 1:21 PM

Ummm.... I'm sorry if this is a rude question, but is this meant to be a parody?

SuzyC / November 18, 2003 1:43 PM

Okay, so tell me: what does a girl have to do to get invited to one of them queso parties?

lena / November 18, 2003 8:19 PM

midwest?!?! puleeze. i grew up on the arizona/mexico border and my husband is half mexican and queso is an intergral part of our social scene. only we would never dare put such "salsa" as pace in it. sorry, but that stuff is just plain disgusting.

Paul / November 19, 2003 9:49 AM

I didn't realize cans of soup and velveeta were a Mexican tradition. I stand corrected.

lena / November 19, 2003 11:39 AM

not a mexican tradition, paul, just a little farther west than the prairie. ;)

lena / November 19, 2003 11:40 AM

that is, don't tell my husband's grandmother...

Shannon / November 19, 2003 2:56 PM

I happen to know that Ruthie's queso is a real treat when you've been lifting canoes all day! It is a great midwest snack, it ranks up there with the great Minnesota tator tot hot dish! :) Great Job Ruthie!

annie o. / November 20, 2003 12:08 AM

Queso is a delicious, but distant memory. Thank god you've posted the recipe for all to enjoy.
Thanks roofie. love,

mac / November 21, 2003 10:06 AM

i like cheez

Ruthie / November 22, 2003 6:48 PM

Wow, it's great to see so many familiar names here. To those who doubt: give queso a try sometime. And yes, Naz, the beer does matter. :)

Bo Fagin / November 22, 2003 10:00 PM

I remember you from the Sawbill store, years ago Ruthie. I only wish that I was in college again and could eat such a wonderfully awful thing and live to see the sunrise. :)


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