Do you Sprinkle Sawdust on your Pasta Dishes?

by Ramona Werst on March 9, 2016

No Gravatar

2016-03-01 18.06.15Did you know your Parmesan Product might contain sawdust?

As a cook, I like to use fresh ingredients.  The prep time takes a little longer than using processed ingredients, but I have always used my cooking and chopping as therapy and the end result is delicious.

I have been really getting into Italian cooking and am studying all about Pastas and Noodles; How to Make Homemade Pasta; Using Parmesan Cheeses and Homemade Pasta Sauces.

In my studies I have learned the history of Parmesan Cheese.

Naming foods after their place of origin has been dated all the way back to the Roman Empire.  The Monks in an area around Parma made a distinctive hard cheese.  The name Parmesan was first recorded by a noble woman who traded her house for the guarantee of an annual supply of 53 pounds of cheese produced in Parma.  By the 1530’s the Italians referred to the cheese as Parmesano, in translation means ‘of or from Parma’, and the French shortened the name to Parmesan.  Then in 1954 the pioneering allegiance of Cheese Makers renamed their group the Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano. In choosing this name, members acknowledged the historic role played by Parma and Reggio producers in defining the character of the cheese and the methods for making it properly.

2016-02-17 10.12.59From that point on, the official name of the cheese has been Parmigiano Reggiano, as indicated by the pin dots imprinted on the rind of each wheel.

With all of this said, Parmigiano Reggiano  is protected and the different names of the Parmesan Cheese you see in the deli sections of the grocery stores indicate the region the cheese came from.

I always purchase a wedge and grate it myself fresh for my recipes, but it’s expensive!  And I use a lot!

I found it at a reasonable price at Trader Joe’s, but it wasn’t always available.

2016-02-17 12.25.28The best price I have found the cheese is at Sam’s Club and it’s a pretty decent size wedge.

It keeps very well in the cheese drawer in my fridge and I even keep the rinds to use in my homemade pasta sauce.

In my recipes I try to use fresh ingredients homecooks can easily find, and of course can afford to take the chance on my delicious recipe.

I was asked if you could substitute the expensive hard Parmigiano Reggiano cheese with the less expensive Parmesan Cheese that you find in the shaker bottles that is in the cheese section.

2016-03-02 15.16.27I have recently learned that you really need to read the ingredients on the labels to see what is in our food.  I picked up a bottle of  the shaker cheese and looked at the ingredients.

I saw Powdered Cellulose (anti-caking) and had no idea what this was, so I researched it.  The results that I found were horrible!  It’s WOOD PULP!!! Aka Sawdust!!!

Manufactures are adding what they call fiber, lol, to foods to give more air or in this case anti-caking effect.  So the little amount of cheese won’t stick together!

This is a product that I used to use for my pasta dishes!

When David and I first met, I wanted to impress him with my homemade spaghetti sauce.  I’m not so sure it would have impressed him if he knew he was sprinkling saw dust on top of his spaghetti!

The lesson to learn is pay a little more money to get the real thing and leave the saw dust on the shop floor….always check your labels.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jim McCoyNo Gravatar March 10, 2016 at 3:13 pm

Thanks for that enlightenment, Ramona.

I don’t use parmesan… I partially melt some longhorn cheese in the sauce before pouring it over the spaghetti (tossed with olive oil, cayenne, and salt. 🙂


Leave a Comment