Chowhounds celebrate food in all its glorious variety, no matter how strange or obscure. So a recent thread praising mass-market grated Parmesan cheese in the green shaker was hardly surprising.

Traditional Parmigiano-Reggiano comes in large wheels—cheesemongers sell chunks, from which you grate the amount you need. But for many Chowhounds growing up, Parmesan was the powdery supermarket thing. Even those who enjoy freshly grated Reggiano as adults have the occasional nostalgic longing for the American factory stuff.

That includes jjjrfoodie, who keeps fresh chunks of Italian Parmesan in the fridge, but also proudly keeps a green shaker of pregrated stuff for sprinkling on pizza. Likewise mpjmph, who grates fresh Parmesan over pasta, but shakes pregrated Parm on popcorn late at night. And juster likes the taste of green-shaker cheese on a favorite dish from childhood: buttered hot dog buns, set under the broiler until bubbly and starting to brown.

For those who’ve never tried freshly grated Parmesan, once you do, you may never be able to go back to the supermarket product, says Bryan Pepperseed, who suggests buying a block of real Parmesan and grating it yourself. A cheaper alternative, emu48 says, is Italian Pecorino Romano—very flavorful, and saltier than Parmesan.

Discuss: That stuff in the green can?

Photo from Flickr member isfullofcrap under Creative Commons

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