Food & Drink

Don't Call 911 To Ask About Lasagna Cheese Substitutes

"Sir, this is not an appropriate use of 911," a dispatcher said.
Please don't expect police to help you unravel lasagna's many mysteries.
Please don't expect police to help you unravel lasagna's many mysteries.

On May 5, a man in Edina, Minnesota, was experiencing what he considered a crisis. His lasagna recipe called for cheddar cheese, and he was fresh out.

Finding none in his fridge, the unidentified man called the Edina Police Department’s emergency line.

The department eventually tweeted about the incident ― which it described as “not a good use of 911” ― while questioning why anyone would use cheddar in lasagna.

According to a transcript of the call provided to HuffPost, the man asks the dispatcher, “If I was cooking lasagna and didn’t have any cheddar cheese, what would I use as a substitute?”

“Sir, this is not an appropriate use of 911,” the dispatcher replies.

Undeterred, he tries (and fails) to explain why cheese-less lasagna constitutes a life-threatening emergency, then ends with a doozy before hanging up on the dispatcher. “When I die,” he says, “then it’s on you.”

Here’s a copy of the transcript:

To get a sense of how big a blunder it is to make lasagna with cheddar cheese, HuffPost asked the Food Network’s senior vice president of culinary, Katherine Alford.

“I have never come across a lasagna recipe that uses cheddar,” Alford wrote in an email, explaining that cheddar edges the dish toward casserole territory.

Yet individual preference also plays an important role, she wrote:

Lasagna, like any dish, should be about personal preferences. Within Italy, variations tend to be regional in nature with a traditional lasagna made from alternating layers of pasta sheets, ragu, along with béchamel and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Outside Italy, variations might also be made with ricotta and/or mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce (vs. ragu) and include meats or vegetables, in common though, all Lasagna’s are baked.

A different Food Network representative told HuffPost she was “unsure that cheddar cheese substitutions or lasagna warrant a law enforcement/911-call.”