John Kass

One of the popular brands of Greek yogurt is made by Turks. Now, I've been to Turkey. I loved the country, and I have friends who are Turkish.

But calling it Greek yogurt -- when it's not Greek -- is more than diplomatically unsound.

It is an assault on a NATO ally that fought against all odds, slowing the Nazi advance into Russia so the good guys could win the war.

It's Greek feta. It's Italian Parmesan.

If American cheese dealers want to use those names, I have a compromise. Put ISH next to the feta, in large capital letters, like this:


The same with that stuff in a plastic can -- Parmesan-ISH.

I'm not saying Americans don't make scrumptious cheese. There are many excellent cheeses from Wisconsin, for example, and New York.

Maytag Blue cheese from Iowa is a symphony on your tongue. It's an American symphony, and it goes great with wine, and sweet grapes after dinner, or on toast for breakfast.

But angry American cheese merchants brook no dissent, and that anger boiled over Thursday on my WLS-AM morning show.

Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president of trade policy with the U.S. Dairy Export Council, was our guest. I declared my cheese allegiance.

"Based on your premise, I think that perhaps you should go and give your name back to the English," Castaneda said. "You shouldn't be using 'John.'"

Really, I thought? I can't use my name because you're angry about the politics of cheese? Naturally, I took it to DEFCON 4.

"Why not go up into the mountain to our village and tell it to my cousins?" I said. "Then see if you can make it back down the mountain."

"You're in America, you're in America, right?" he asked. "Why are you using an English name?"

See how things escalate? It's a good thing we didn't have nukes.

"It is impossible to rename our cheeses," he said.

No, it's not impossible. Wisconsin cheeses with European names should be renamed after great Green Bay Packers of old.

And the finest of Wisconsin cheeses could be called "Vince."

One cheese America doesn't have to rename is Velveeta, the American standard, a block of yellow fats called "cheese food." It is so long-lasting that it just might end up in your granddaughter's asparagus casserole in 2032.

And Cheez Whiz, another American favorite, is a spread from a jar or squirted out of a can. You can't make a real Philly cheesesteak sanguich without Cheez Whiz. And if you don't like Philly steaks, you can't call yourself an American.

But that's the American way. And the Europeans have their own way.

We've spent many years meddling in other nations' affairs. It's high time for the Europeans to become the cheese police of the world.