I'm reviving and reportioning some restaurant recipes of the 50's and 60's that I've had the good luck to get some scans of. There's a lot of foodservice products that no longer exist or no longer appear to be the same thing. In some cases, a simple thing like an entry of "grated American cheese" you take for granted and then realize there's a bit of ambiguity of just what it was back then. Searching on the net, there appears to be quite a bit of folks that are asking the same question and the routine answer is substitute mild cheddar. American cheese nowadays appears to imply the processed singles that you find individually wrapped in packages or a Velveta like product called American cheese food. Neither of the major supermarkets carries anything labled as American cheese in the dairy case either in brick form, individual, premium slices or shredded. The deli's carry a white American in blocks. I had to go to a latin market to find a yellow American that I bought a pound and a half of and grated it myself. It wasn't easy and was quite soft. I'm not sure this what I remember as a kid that was called American cheese that had the consistancy of cheddar or colby and quite firm, brittle, and broke easily.
In the timeframe of the 50's and 60's, what would a foodservice recipe call American? Was it white or yellow? Was it a firm or soft product? What are these old recipes actually calling for?