While today you may only think of American cheese as those individually-wrapped packets you find at the grocery store, American cheese has a long history and has had many variations. In fact, the story of American cheese goes all the way back to the arrival of the Mayflower.

When the pilgrims came to America, they brought with them the European culture of cheese-making, but the new climate could not support the production of every type of cheese they ate in Europe. While some European cheeses continued to be made in small amounts, the only one that could really hold up to the East Coast's extreme weather swings was unyielding cheddar. And from this stubborn breed, American cheese was born.

Check out the slideshow above to learn how American cheese came to be what it is today.

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