Cheezas for my cheesy friends


Age is a funny thing.  You don’t feel old, you may not look old, but every now and then you have a flash of realisation that the world has changed so much since you were a kid that you must, to some extent, be old.  Or at least older than some people!  I look at my young nephews aged 4 and 7, and how much TV they watch (and they would watch a whole lot more if mom and dad would let them!).  If I were to tell them that there was no TV in South Africa until I was 7 years old, they would look at me with blank incomprehension.  No TV?  What did you do?!  And mentioning the fact that there were no remote controls in those days but that you had to get up and go and adjust the volume button by hand would bring waves of helpless hilarity.  Funny Aunty Jeanne!

I also remember growing up in a world where there were: no shopping malls; grocery stores that would still let you phone your order through, select and pack your goods for you, and deliver them to your door with a smile; aeroplanes where you could smoke all the way from Cape Town to Cairo; and no McDonalds until I was in my 20s (a blessing, if you ask me).  Clearly I grew up in Atlantis – or I may as well have.  The world I knew has sunk without a trace!

We finally did get our first proper shopping mall in my city when I was just entering high school, and Greenacres was conveniently located a 5 minute walk from my school.  My brother’s school finished about an hour after mine, which meant that my mom and I always had an hour or so to fill after she picked me up, and seeing as my mom would have held an Olympic medal in shopping, the mall seemed the obvious place to go.  By the time we picked up my brother at 3, he would have eaten lunch and it would be too late for us to go home and make lunch for ourselves, so more often than not, we ended up eating at the mall.  The eating options were limited in those days – a Wimpy (burgers), a second outlet that I can’t recall now, and a new place called Juicy Lucy.

I think it was the lure of freshly squeezed juices that first brought us to their take-away counter, and soon it became or regular lunch venue – to the extent that the staff knew us by name.  Juicy Lucy always used to (and still does) focus on wholesome food as opposed to burgers and chips, so my mom did not feel she was feeding me total junk.  The watermelon juice was legendary and there was little better on a hot summer afternoon.  But when it came to food, there was only one choice for me:  a Cheeza*!  This cheese-lover’s delight was a slice of rye bread topped with a mixture of grated Cheddar cheese, tangy mayonnaise, and an optional ingredient (I recall mushrooms, spring onions or salami).  The whole thing was then popped into the (super-modern and progressive!) microwave on its polystyrene plate, to be returned to you in a few minutes as a bubbling cheese duvet of deliciousness.  To me, it was perfection on a plate, and the minute my mom relented and bought a microwave for our kitchen, we started making a version of these babies at home.

Today, the world has changed unrecognisably – and not always for the better.  Port Elizabeth seems to have a shopping mall on every corner. Kids spend more time watching TV than playing outdoors.  McDonalds has colonised every suburb.  Nobody knows their grocer by name.  But I am pleased to say that Juicy Lucy is still selling their freshly squeezed juices – and still selling Cheezas*, albeit now with far more interesting toppings!

Sadly, the Juicy Lucy franchise does not extend to the UK, but that’s  no problem – I’ve been making  my own Cheezas* at home for years!  Nick and I spent this past weekend doing some Spring cleaning at home and lunch needed to be a quick and filling affair.  And when I remembered the Twitter discussion I had had earlier with my fellow #Cheesesluts Nina of My Easy Cooking, Marisa of The Creative Pot, Nicola of Wots for Lunch? and Colleen of Browniegirl, challenging us all to make something cheesy for the weekend, I realised that lunch could only be one thing:  salami Cheezas*!

For the #Cheeseslut in all of us :)

SALAMI CHEEZAS* (serves 2)


2 slices of good brown or rye bread
1 cup (or more!) grated mature Cheddar
3-4 Tbsp tangy mayonnaise (use Crosse & Blackwell if you are in South Africa)
1 spring onion (green and white parts), finely chopped
1/2 cup diced salami


In a bowl, mix the cheese, mayo, salami and spring onion well.

Spread a little butter on each slice of bread (optional, but it helps keep the topping in place as you spread it).  Spoon half the mixture onto each slice and spread as evenly as possible, ensuring that you cover the bread right to the edges.  Place the slices on individual plates and microwave separately for 1 minute each on high, or until the cheese in the centre starts to melt.

* Cheeza is a registered trademark belonging to Juicy Lucy.

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  1. says

    jeanne – yes i do not feel older than i was 16 and i hope i look the age too but when i look around at times i think “what’s happening?” but it’s refreshing being young at heart and knowing you share it with others who remain young!
    this is very similar to what we used to make when we’d come home hungry with friends. if mum was not around it would be something like this.
    TOTP, JRM, A-HA and now cheezas – i know we are sisters baby!

  2. says

    The first time I had a cheeza was in my first year at Varsity…remember I grew up in Ceres…that still has no Juicy Luicy or shopping mall!!!My kids will love this one though!!!

  3. says

    Oooh Jeanne! How old are you? And wow no tv, no shopping malls? We lived in the Dark Ages as my sons continually remind us. Oh yes, golly! But those really were the good old days! Actually, I do feel older but certainly not as old as I am! Older in a good way. As Meeta says, we are young at heart but add to that the experience and freedom that comes with age and we are all that much better! And I want a cheeza!!! (we used to take defrosted frozen bagels and smear each half with spaghetti sauce and throw on a handful of cheddar and toast it. Mmmm.

  4. says

    I remember the Cheeza! Hot cheesy volcano on toast! As a teen, this was my number-one snack at Sandton City’s Juicy Lucy. Thanks for the memories, Jeanne. I am going to have to make this for my teens.

  5. says

    and no computers or cellphones. Calculators were the big thing when I was a child – grown ups saying that they would rot our brains if we relied on them too much. After university filofaxes were the city slicker’s personal organiser… wonder where mine went…! And as a new teen, I used to try and record songs I liked from the radio by holding my cassette player next to the radio! These kids have it too easy with their MP3 players!
    I’ve never seen a Juicy Lucy round here, but those cheezas sound tempting. Cheese on toast is often our Sunday night snack, but under the grill so it bubbles and browns – haven’t tried microwaving it yet.

  6. says

    Weeping as I remember my lunchtime Cheesa, supplemented with a watermelon juice. I think I broke up with my husband once – when he was still a boyfriend – over a Cheesa.
    I don’t really eat bread and I don’t own a microwave, but Cheesas will live on in my memory forever, thanks to you Jeanne. (Maybe I should put one in my novel?)

  7. Amanda says

    Oh nostalgia! I remember delicious after school Cheezas at Juicy Lucy after school at Cresta Shopping Centre in J’burg. Thanks for the reminder. I must make myself one at the weekend.

  8. says

    Oh myyyyyyy, where were you when I need you this morning?? This would’ve gone down a treat while sitting in the queue at the traffic department for hours waiting to apply for my drivers licence renewal!! YUMYUMYUM Cheezas are the way to go at Juicy Lucy….I have to tell you that television came into SA when I was 22years old….had never seen one before I went overseas at 21. When I came back the test pattern used to play all day long haha.And then came Haas Das se Nuuskas, and Wielie Walie many more…. #cheesesluts rule!!! Cheese Domination!! Lets take over the world!! Mwah!!

  9. says

    There are very few Juicy Lucy’s left. I loved having their watermelon and strawberry smoothie when waiting for a flight or waiting to say goodbye at the airport. One of my clearest memories of Juicy Lucy was in JHB waiting for our flight to CT and my mom wanted to wait there till they called her by name…they did *shame*

  10. says

    Thanks for great trip down memory lane – I remember some (though not all) of the things you talk about. The eighties was a wonderful time to grow up – who remembers that their wasn’t even tv programmes on 24/7 on the old TV1, TV2 and TV3? That multi-coloured clock was legendary…
    We too loved Juicy Lucy and their cheezas are definitely very worthy of cheeseslut patronage.

  11. says

    To be fair, there are a few groceries (in the US and in Manila) that let you phone an order too! :) But naw, we don’t have Juicy Lucy here. But thanks to you I can have their best item on the menu anytime! 😉

  12. Sakoro says

    I think the third outlet at Greenacres was Lilwill’s– my gran used to take me there for sausage rolls.

  13. says

    Loving the flashback I got from both your Juicy Lucy (Cheezas) and your Spur posts, Ms Jeanne! I remember getting our first TV (black and white, don’t you know) and watching Haas Das se Nuuskas on Tuesdays after the “real” 6:00 news. I also remember going to Juicy Lucy with my dad right after Greenacres opened–we had mostly recovered from the nightmare of an entire-family bout of chickenpox! The Maverick Spur in the Cine Park complex was a family favorite–I even had a Chico the Clown (do they still have those) on my first trip back to SA as an adult!
    Thanks for the memories!

  14. Gill says

    I loved cheezas with a passion as a teen. I used to get my fix on our bi-weekly trip to the “big city” a.k.a Pietermaritzburg LOL! I’ve been making a version very similar to yours for years now too, I usually do mine with asparagus! Thanks for the happy flash-back :-)

  15. says

    I remember Juicy Lucy!! Mom always took us there for a treat… I had no idea it was still going – I thought it closed ages ago…

  16. maureen says

    It was good to read your post re Memory lane, but I have to say, unless I have completely lost my taste buds, Messrs. Juicy~Lucy at Midlands Mall PMB make the most awful CHEEZA I can ever recall eating. It was so bad, I absolutely could not eat it. Unfortunately I have never been back, nor will I.
    But yes, CHEEZA’s were the schizzle~nizzle back in the day. I always used to go the one in Durban, opp 320 West St.

  17. says

    Cheesesluts! I love it! And Juicy Lucy, another classic. When I was a kid, our go-to snack was a cheese quesadilla, so easy to make, used to have one practically every day after school. And yes, once we got a microwave, there was no stopping us!

  18. says

    The weapon of choice when I was a teenager was bagels with cream cheese (which is funny actually considering I lived in LA so it would have been more apt for it to be cheesy quesadillas). I think back to having 3 channels in France when I was little, and no computer and crazy cool video games like Atari when it came out and how awesome we thought it was (don’t knock the Atari) and then seeing a brick-sized memory block that held 1Mb when I was in college and marveling at it, and can’t imagine what my daughter will think about our stone age technology when she’s not much bigger than she is now. She already thinks she’s supposed to touch my computer screen because that’s how you get the iPhone to do things. Yes, age is definitely a funny thing. I still have trouble thinking of her as a person I made and feel like someone just gave me the very precious job of looking after her until they come back. 😉

  19. says

    We didn’t have a tv until I was about the same age, and it was a black and white. They didn’t get a color one until I went off to college and there were no remote controls, so my sister sat right next to it and hovered, so that she could have it on the channel she wanted when she wanted it. Plus, I remember waiting outside the store watching all my siblings while my parents were inside shopping, can you imagine? And that was in Queens, NY

  20. Gigi says

    OMG I thought I was the only one lamenting about Cheezas! Amanda…. yes… Cheezas at Cresta Centre, my fav was spring onion with a dash of coleslaw on the side and a smooth PAW PAW juice to finish! nostalgia… (wipes away a tear). Today I am as far away from Cresta Centre Cheezas as I am from my youth…. the Sex in the City era….I had my own, scaled down version of that life in the Cresta Centre Randburg area…. shopping at Woollies, Edgars, Truworths, Foschini. Dining and Coffee Shops with girlfriends and dates, giant breakfasts at Wimpy for R20.00! Dions became Game (I think) for a bit of DIY, waffles at the Milky Lane closeby….then a movie on a Saturday afternoon….sigh……..

  21. Tracy Du Toit says

    I loved this post and have been craving a Cheeza for days now with a side of coleslaw and a side salad – my favourite was the spring onion one and I cannot wait to try out the recipe. Às we now live in the UK will have to find an alternative for Crosse and Blackwell mayo x