Once upon a time in a kingdom way far away known as Upstate New York, local cheesemongers had a hankering in their hearts to upstage those French cheese makers across the sea. And so these men of curds, whey, and daring do set about crafting their own version of Neufchâtel, a spreadable soft and delicious unripened cheese that had been made by Norman monks since the Middle Ages. Lo and behold, these late 19th century cheesemongers succeeded – even improved upon it some say, by adding cream to the mix. Unlike its French cousin, this cheese was mild rather than mushroomy and more creamy than crumbly. “American Neufchâtel,” as it came to be called, was sold in little cakes, and the people loved it.
Meantime, the convergence of the Industrial Age and the advent of home economics encouraged local pantries, larders, and dinner tables to further flourish. New means of processing and transporting food from other parts of the world ushered in an exciting era of readily available, seemingly exotic foreign foodstuffs. Among them, pimiento peppers. In this Golden Age of industrial canning and food science, the unassuming little Spanish pepper, processed and imported in tins, became the subject of much ooh-ing and ah-ing by leaders in the arena of domestic science.