Accidental Success! [NOT 1/4/21]

Hi, friends! I accidentally figured out a super lazy way to cook spinach.

Backstory, if you have a dislike of Provel cheese, just stop reading.

St. Louis has this popular processed cheese called Provel. It’s a mix of provolone, swiss, and cheddar. It melts super easily but doesn’t get stringy like mozzarella, so it’s on pizzas, pastas, salads, etc here.

I had a craving for creamed spinach. But did I have anything useful here like cream cheese, heavy cream, milk, half&half? No, of course not. I couldn’t do the shortcut version (cream cheese) or make a béchamel sauce.

Friends, what did I have? I had a bag of shredded Provel. Turns out you can sauté your fresh spinach to get it all cooked down and then throw a handful of shredded Provel in there and mix it all together and hells yeah you’re done.



  1. Provel is news to me. There is a local cheese called cup cheese that is unique to this area (looks like mucus, smells like body odor), can’t recommend…


    • I looked up cup cheese and I kinda feel like I shouldn’t have.

      It reminds me too much of mayonnaise in texture. I have a very very strong aversion to mayonnaise. 

      Provel is great! Highly recommend. Just shreds like a softer Italian cheese despite not being Italian. 

      • I have definitely heard provel before and just figured it was people saying provelone weird (like saying parm instead of parmesan). I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten it, but sounds like it’d be fine.
        I can’t do cooked spinach though. Raw yes, barely wilted into a pasta dish sure, but just sauteed cooked down spinach? Nooope. It basically triggers my gag reflex, and I’m not sure I could say why. I think it’s a textural nightmare to start. It’s a shame because my husband adores it. 

    • Ew. I’ve heard of provel, there’s a supermarket here that sells it, but they call it something generic, like “cheese blend” or something. I bet it can come in handy for cooking, because there are umpteen recipes where you grate two (or more) cheeses, and prove would do the work for you!
      I have never heard of cup cheese and will not investigate, I won’t even clock on your YouTube link. What do you do with it? Do you cook with it? Sauce things with it? Is it like a snack dip?
      Have you ever heard of head cheese? Of those two words only one is accurate and one is not. And yes, aspic is often involved. 

      • It’s almost like WordPress spellcheck is sentient and creating its own dialect, in the same way that Latin devolved across Western Europe into many Romance languages, and within those languages dialects. “I won’t even clock on your YouTube link.” Post-posting, I was reminded of reading (at an inappropriately young age) A Clockwork Orange.  That was filled with slang, much of it Russian-derived. I recommend neither the book nor the movie, and if you thought the movie was disturbing the book is even worse. 

    • …so I’ll ramble on about cheese I used to like.

    • Marble
      Mild Cheddar
    • …all other cheeses always pissed me off. The smell of some cheese has always made me gag which pissed me off more than the cheeses that merely pissed me off without gagging.

      I think people who use parmesan cheese within 100 foot radius of other, NORMAL, human beings are EVIL and are in dire need of lessons in manner. I’ve read some arguments about the death penalty and Dylan Roof today and I stand with those morally against the death penalty…but as it pertains to those who have the audacity to use parmesan cheese in restaurants/patios/within 100 feet of others, I’m on the fence.

      Sidenote: There was a very small cheese factory (about the size of a small barn) in “Harold” Ontario from which I used to get THE BEST cheese curd EVER when I was a kid. The owner ended up burning it down for insurance money. I found this out long after I had become vegan, but it still upsets me to this day. If anyone is willing to embark upon the mundane journey that is the drive between Marmora and Stirling, surely they deserve some delicious cheese curd along the way.

      • When I was a kid, my grandma would keep the really stinky parmesan in the refrigerator in the basement, wrapped in cloth because it stank so much like dirty socks.  My friends and I would come in from smoking weed to watch old movies on the black and white TV down there and somebody would inevitably open the fridge and nearly pass out from the smell.  But man that stuff tasted good.  Like, really good.  We were all munched out and we’d end up with slices of parmesan while we were watching Goldiggers and noir flicks on WGN-TV.  I still crave really smelly cheese.  Most store-bought parm is way too mild for me.

      • This is really none of my business, and feel free to ignore, but did you become vegan because over time you had or developed food aversions, like to cheese? As a committed omnivore I find food aversions fascinating. Lots of people don’t like stinky cheeses and many are grossed out by bleu cheeses. I have a friend who won’t eat tomatoes; they make him queasy. I have another friend who’s allergic to onions. Can you imagine what that is like? Onion, at least trace amounts, is found in many foods you wouldn’t expect. It is to this sufferer what gelatin and chicken stock is to vegetarians/vegans: almost impossible to get away from. 

        • I have very lengthy answers to this. Short version: I guess you could say that it’s a combination of every reason people choose to be vegan.

          My tastes in food have pretty much been consistent. Butter and most cheese, sour cream, etc. always grossed me out. I always hated fish (except fish & chips). I liked pretty much everything else.

          I tried snow crab legs once and ended up LOVING them and eating them whenever I vould. And salmon. Those were the last two meats I ate prior to going all out veggie. The other meats I had already been long over. I think because it was too expensive when I first moved out on my own. I would go so long between meat binges that it all started to taste gross. Around that same time my brother lived on a farm. The cows were separated from the calves and any time you walked by a calf, its mother would moo in fear and be powerless. It gave me that feeling you all have about the Trump admin’s child separation policy.

          After a few years of being veggie I realised I was simply eggs and cheese from vegan while also thinking I was being a hypoctite at least to myself/ideals. And I have been vegan ever since.

          I’m not going to preach about environmental impacts or higher than thou bs because like many people, I can’t stand vegans. I have been vegan for 17 years and I have never met another one, at least on purpose.

          I don’t go out of my way to tell people I am vegan unless I am in a situation that I have to (like on a site with recipe posts) and I rarely answer the “why are you vegan?” question as most people ask as a way to cast judgement. Sometimes it puts me off enough to reply “why are you a carcass eater? If anyone should be justifying their actions, it’s you.” Usually it throws them off. I don’t actually feel that way though.

          I don’t need to be told what my ideals should be. I live by my own set of ideals the best I can in society the way it is structured and respect people who live by theirs. Just because they are my ideals doesn’t make me right. My experience with holier than thou vegans online has turned me off to the point that I’m careful not to be lumped in with them in the vegan category.

          • I rarely answer the “why are you vegan?” question as most people ask as a way to cast judgement.

            Ugh I feel you so hard on this. I get that on both the “why are you vegetarian” and actually more so “why don’t you drink” (mostly back when I completely didn’t, but even now when I do drink but not regularly and not every time it’s offered). I don’t know why people ask if they’re going to act like I’m insulting them with my answer. 

            • Yeah, exactly.

              There is a difference between random asking and genuine interest as @matthewcrawley showed. Especially when the very first bit was

              This is really none of my business, and feel free to ignore

              which indicated that perhaps CousinM understands how annoying it can be to be asked certain questions.

              Not only was I NOT annoyed by the question, I wanted to answer CousinM. That is rarely the case when asked…for above stated reasons…so it’s not the question that is annoying, but the usual intent behind the question.

              Every time I talk about it, I feel compelled to make it clear that I’m not a pretentious *vegan* vegan. 

              I mean that in a way that even if I were high on my ideal horse and wanted to change others (which I don’t) I wouldn’t go about it by telling others how they should be. I’d simply share my thoughts on what I feel is best for me, and why, to those who are genuinely interested in knowing…even if it is a “get to know you” question rather than a “I might become a pretentious vegan like you some day…so hit me up with some deets” question.

              • I wrote out a whole rambling response to you but I canceled the reply, because even the most dedicated Deadsplinters must be getting a little tired of my “insights.” The gist of it was that I do not question or judge others’ food, but there are two things I can’t make, a kosher meal or a vegan meal. Kosher because I don’t have a kosher kitchen, and you have to be very careful about the food you serve even if you have one.
                The other is vegan. I make vegetarian food all the time, often without realizing it, but also because I have friends with whom I’m very close.
                When we were allowed to socialize, if the kosher or vegan friends wanted to eat something they’d either have me/us for dinner or we’d go to a restaurant of their choosing. I was always happy with all of it, being the omnivore, and also curious about food and how you could make certain foods in a certain way. 
                “Hello, Mattie? A group of us are going to [vegan and/or kosher restaurant] on Sunday night. Do you want to come along? It’ll be fun.”
                “Would I !?! Of course. So what time?”

                  • …seconded on the in-no-way-tired thing…although being approximately as far from a vegetarian as is possible without dying of scurvy that is one of the few things I can say that about without some sort of disclaimer where the subject of this thread is concerned

                    …so much as I might joke that I’d starve if I tried to be vegetarian I know a little more than I’d like to about the extent to which my diet is unsustainable if it were extrapolated to the level of *most people”…(iirc) were the population of china to adopt the diet (mostly in terms of meat consumption) of the “average american” there wouldn’t be enough fresh water in the world to raise the amount of crops required to in turn raise the necessary quantity of livestock

                    …all in all I’m inclined to think pythagoras was right about vegetarians being essentially more moral than I…but it turns out I’m ok with being morally inferior…if I still get to eat steak?

              • Yep yep. I don’t mind talking about it at all when the questions are genuine, and I think after over two decades of vegetarianism, I’ve gotten pretty good at feeling out what kind of question I’m really being asked, and targeting my answer (or non-answer) appropriately.
                It’s funny how things have changed over the years though. Vegans get most of the heat now for pretentiousness, and vegetarians don’t tend to have the same bad rap anymore. And online (especially on reddit), aggressive vegans seem to particularly like attacking vegetarians. I frequent r/vegetarian for recipe ideas, and it is a regular occurrence for vegans to come storming in there insulting us all. r/vegan is basically a cesspool. Don’t know why the environment encourages that, because nearly all the vegans I know in real life are perfectly lovely. 

        • This question was not directed at me, but I’d love to pipe in too. I became a vegetarian first and foremost because of food aversions. Meat always grossed me out as a kid. My older sister went vegetarian at age 3, as soon as she made the connection between animals and meat, so I grew up with her shaming me about meat-eating. I’m sure that influenced my psyche. (She’s a perfectly lovely, fairly non-judgmental grown-up, but this was when we were young.) I would eat meat put in front of me at meals, but I would never choose it. Steak and burgers in particular really grossed me out. I would only eat them very well done, preferably charred. Less meat-like that way. I finally went veggie at 12 when I started being more autonomous about my food choices.
          The environmental and ethical stuff kinda came later, but they were not the drivers for my initial choice. And ethically, I don’t really have a problem with small (non-factory) farms that care about their animals, or with hunting. 

          • I am a little too obsessed with food and people’s food choices, so I don’t judge.
            I’m almost certain I’ve been served at least once cat and dog, and several times horsemeat. Never willingly, it was passed off as something more palatable to a modern western sensibility. I would imagine horsemeat would be more difficult and expensive to procure than more common livestock but I guess abroad this isn’t the case. 
            Oh God, maybe I should become at least a vegetarian.

      • Myo, as a someone who grew up the child of a milk-truck driver, and also someone whose earliest memories involve riding along with my dad on his route hauling milk from farms to the creamery (and who also grew up *always*having longhorn Colby & longhorn Sharp Cheddar in the fridge, it alllllways made me wonder–how folks could make the switch to veganism.
        Because for me, although I could manage without the meats,it’s the cheese that I’d miss too much.
        And NOW I get it! At least in your case!😉😁💖) 
        And since I’m a the better part of a country or so away, there’s probably enough distance that you won’t smell any parm😉
        But if you ever *did* end up visiting someplace southward/midwesterly, and ever decided you wanted to try some curds again, go with the Door County ones from WI, not the Ellsworth ones (the Ellsworth ones are completely overrated, lousy texture-wise, and just not as good!)

        • Eta, and thanks to both you, Myo, and BDH😉💖, for sharing your *whys* even though you didn’t need to!💖
          And thanks, TOO, for all the awesome recipes you guys have shared, over on FYCE!😁🤗😃💞

        • I will say, as much as I love cheese, vegan cheese has come a looooong way. It used to be totally nasty, but now there are brands that are pretty good. We get them sometimes because my husband is lactose intolerant. 

          • I concur. Dairy-free cheese used to have casein. Now, I can order the best Italian pizza with no animal products!

            I’ll say this for kicks to @matthewcrawley and @luigi-vuoto because of my “personality” there is nothing I love more than going to Chicago and telling people that NYC has the best deep-dish pizza or going to NYC and saying that Chicago has the best deep-dish pizza.

            When the outpouring of hate comes in, I say “I’m vegan, what do I know?”

            • You come to New York? Not recently, probably, the border is still closed, as far as I know, but once this all over you can stay with us!
              I hope you like dogs, our Faithful Hound is extremely friendly, to the point of obnoxiousness if you’re not in the mood.
              Are you very gym-obsessed? When Emperor Andreos Maximus started issuing his Diktats I said to my gym-rat Unicdicted Co-Conspirator, “You know, it’s only a matter of days or weeks when he’s going to close down gyms.” I thought he would (God, this was at least a year ago) get some weights but he managed to get…Anyway, our guest room now doubles as our gym. Not that I’ve ever used it, although I will, soon enough, when I move into the physical therapy phase of this seemingly interminable surgery recovery. There’s still a pullout sofa in there but it’s very slippery, it’s treated leather, to sleep on it you’re supposed to pull out the mattress part of it.
              To make this even less attractive, we have this beautiful sort of Vietnamese-French Colonial cabinet or sideboard I guess, and in there are hundreds of CDs and DVDs (no porn, sadly) but it doesn’t matter, because we no longer have a CD or DVD player. Might be time to cull the herd,
              The apartment is large enough that we have private and public spaces. That gym is a recent convert from public to private, so if you’d prefer you could stay in our midcentury-modern Design Within Reach showroom.
              That’s our living room, but that too features a pullout couch. It is pristine and has floor-to-ceiling windows on many sides, I can’t describe this but the corner apartments were reconstructed and the corner units, like the one we bought, have hexagonal southern and western views. 
              Your NYC vacation getaway awaits!. As for food though, you might be a little on your own. 
              Now that I think about it, tons of people have stayed in this apartment, because we’re pretty gregarious, but we knew them all and never charged them, so we don’t have any negative Yelp or Airbnb reviews, as far as I know. Since the only reason they’re here is because I know them we (and The Faithful Hound) are here with them, maybe that’s it.

    • I’m not a big fan of sautéed spinach without dairy. I love raw spinach, and I enjoy it in baked dishes or tossed into eggs, but like just a scoop of cooked spinach? Not so much. 

  2. i discovered i shouldnt change up my morning routine.. (wake up..grab whatever clothes i can reach stumble downstairs for a coffee and smoke and then stumble back up stairs to have a shower get dressed again this time in work clothes and head back down for moar coffee)
    nooo..this morning i was efficient… woke up..had a shower…got dressed in my work clothes then headed downstairs for coffee and smoke
    spent 10 minutes trying to find my phone as the alarm was going off and following me around the living room..getting ever louder…probably coz it was in my pocket the whole time
    i hate that alarm

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