Squid Ink blogger Jessica Ritz contacted the American Girl headquarters to get more information about the composition of Jewish American Girl doll Rebecca Rubin's school lunch. She turned up this new piece of information from a company spokesperson:
So, it's not American cheese as we may have suspected. And though cheddar cheese seems a little more palatable than Kraft singles (just a little), we still have questions.
Though we may be accustomed to the widespread availability of cheddar cheese today, was cheddar so commonly available in the early 1900s?
Would cheddar cheese -- much less a kosher version made without rennet -- even have been sold in the markets frequented by Lower East Side Jewish immigrants?
Though it may not be American cheese, even the shape of the slices seems anachronistic. When did cheddar cheese begin getting produced in such a "square" fashion? I would assume it would only have been sliced from large wheels back then, as opposed to the giant modern industrial blocks we're now used to.
Food historians, Jewish food experts, and cheese mongers and mavens, please weigh in! What are your insights into this problematic meal?