When Mathias Barnaby, founder of the famous Cheese-Whip factory, opened his original North Falls dairy in in 1899, even he couldn’t have realized how much his enterprise would eventually mean to the city. Since Cheese-Whip’s invention and introduction in 1927, the semi-solid pasteurized cheese food product has been one of the major cornerstones of the city’s economy for over eighty years. More than 1000 of our citizens have Cheese Whip to thank for the financial well-being of their families and their neighborhoods.
But even more than a source of income, the factory has also been a source of pride. Signs of America’s second-best selling quasi-dairy topping are everywhere throughout the city, from the historic Cheese-Whip sign on the scoreboard at County Stadium, home of the Mighty Elms, to the old Barnaby Gardens roller coaster park on the outskirts of town, to the generous Mattieu Barnaby scholarship fund at Watson University and even to well-attended tours of the factory itself. More and more over the years, the identity of the city and one of its most well-known staples have become intertwined.
All this explains the outrage and devastation wrought in the hearts and minds of the populace when it was announced last week that the company’s board of directors agreed to sell the company to EuroForm, a global food products concern based in France.
Craig Leotardo, a capping supervisor, has worked in the Cheese-Whip factory for more than 25 years. “We all feel totally betrayed,” said Leotardo. “I’ve been breaking my back my whole career, knowing my effort was putting American dollars into American wallets. Now all my work will be putting francs or pounds or whatever into man purses, or whatever [expletive referring to homosexuals] thing Frenchies use to carry their Monopoly money around in.”
Leotardo’s sentiments are being echoed by many. Several people have even advocated a boycott, refusing to purchase Cheese-Whip or Cheese-Whip Lite. Among them is Abe Silvers, proprietor of a vendor cart specializing in Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks near Courthouse Square. “Just two weeks ago, there wasn’t a more American thing a person could do than slop a couple ladles of Cheese-Whip on a half-pound of boiled beef, and wolf it down between two slices of white bread,” lamented Silvers. “Now, as far as I’m concerned, that same act would make you a traitor. They may as well make Cheese-Whip green, because it’s gonna be cooked up by a bunch of frogs.”
“Actually,” said EuroForm VP of American Operations Rene Talbot, “Cheese-Whip will be made by the same Americans and in the same city as it always has been. We have no plans to lay anyone off. Anyone who boycotted our products would only be hurting themselves. The only changes we plan on making will be the introduction of gourmet flavors to the CW family, including Muenster, Brie de Meaux, and Camembert.”
“Feh,” barked Leotardo upon hearing this. “It ain’t about taste. It’s about tradition. You can’t trust a foreigner not to change stuff up.”
Leotardo may be right. Yesterday, in spite of EuroForm’s assurances that no Cheese-Whip employees would be laid off, one head did find its way to the chopping block. According to ESPN, Dick Judd, driver of the iconic bright yellow Cheese-Whip sponsored number 09 NASCAR vehicle, would be fired and replaced with Formula 1 circuit driver Emile Francour.
Like it or not, the EuroForm deal is here to stay. Says Talbot, “We are sure the citizens of this town, as well as the United States, will be open-minded and adaptive enough to handle the situation with the tolerance and moral fortitude that made America great.”
– Ray Ingraham