You may have heard there’s a viral thing going around this month where people throw cheese at their kids and film it for the internet. Specifically, they throw cheese at their children’s faces. Are you confused? Okay. Here’s a clip carefully selected because the child in it is audibly laughing and looks none the worse for wear. (Though what do I know? I am not a doctor. For all I know, this kid will be lying on a couch in a therapist’s office decades from now processing why he just can’t maintain meaningful relationships when, suddenly, he’ll be overcome by emotion and scream, “The cheese!”)
The cheese thing — calling it a “prank” or “challenge” feels wrong since it’s not really prankish or challenging if you spring something on an unsuspecting baby who looks to you for everything it needs to survive — was started by a dad in Michigan named Charles Amara, Eater reports. He has since taken down his original Facebook video, likely due to flak. Maybe consider following his lead. Or, if you insist on throwing dairy products at your spawn, here’s a very official and definitely legitimate ranking of the best cheeses for the job.
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Do not throw this at a baby. I don’t care if you bought a tub of it to make some dish and you only needed 2/3 of the tub and it’s been sitting in your fridge teetering on the brink of going bad. Don’t do it. Your kid won’t like it and you will then be responsible for cleaning smeared ricotta off of them. You’ll be responsible. If you’re the kind of person throwing cheese at your baby in the first place, maybe you just won’t bother.
9. Cream Cheese
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This is not even real cheese. If you throw cream cheese at your baby, you’re just throwing food at a child and not even attempting to participate in the viral zeitgeist. Skip it. Go get yourself a bagel instead. Your child will thank you for it. Get me one too, while you’re out. Everything with cucumber and tomato and a little salt and pepper. Not toasted. Thanks.
8. Blue Cheese
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A contentious cheese among adult palates, so what makes you think your child, who eats mostly smashed, goopy foods, is going to want to be anywhere near such a funky cheese? Nope. Definitely not. Do not throw this cheese at children. Hell, do not throw this cheese at adults.
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There’s just too much work involved here. Are you scooping the cheese out of the rind entirely? Are you throwing rind at your baby? Can babies even eat soft cheese like brie or is that dangerous for their developing immune systems and gut?
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The crumbliness here could be fun. Feta likely won’t stick to your child, which doesn’t give you the satisfaction of a shot of your baby with cheese stuck to her face for the internet to like, share, and repost. On the other hand, easy cleanup. Since you’ll mostly be cleaning the floor and not your squirming child.
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Kind of wrong for the spirit of the challenge but still could be a fun twist. Plus, I imagine, if I were a baby, I’d enjoy having a gentle snow of shake cheese — is the jury still out on whether or not it’s made of wood chips? — falling down upon my head.
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Honestly, cheddar is a boring cheese, but it’ll work fine for these purposes. Just make sure it’s thinly sliced so as to give you that nice thwap sound when it hits your kid’s face and not a thunk sound indicating you may have concussed your child. Plus, it’s not terribly expensive as far as decent tasting cheeses go.
3. Kraft Singles
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I understand the appeal here. Really, I do. Chances are, if you’re raising little kids, you might have these readily at hand. The orange color — yes, I know they come in white, too — looks good on camera and on skin. And that slimy coating, the one that should remind you, an adult, to eat literally any other cheese, is great for ensuring it sticks to your baby.
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Swiss is an inherently funny cheese. It is cheese. But full of holes. Hole cheese! Look at it! It’s so silly looking. This whole thing is silly, so why not use the silliest cheese around? Plus, it seems like the holes might make it easier for your kid to breathe if the cheese lands on their mouth. Or see if it lands on their eyes.
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After long and careful deliberation and testing (I did no testing, this is a lie) it is clear that a nice, thin slice of Gouda is the winner. Excellent, vibrant color. Good on-face feel. A+ sticky factor. And, as a bonus, it tastes good for when you’re done performatively abusing your child for content and want to eat a snack.
Disclaimer: Intelligencer does not endorse throwing cheese at your baby. Make yourself a nice, melty sandwich instead and call it a day.