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Cheese zombie
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Credit: KUOW Photo / Noel Gasca

For Yakima Valley residents, a ‘zombie’ sandwich represents childhood nostalgia

Back to school means the return of a lot of kids' favorite part of the day: lunchtime. And in the Yakima Valley, there's one lunchtime staple that reigns supreme: the cheese zombie.

If you grew up on the west side of the state, you've probably never heard of this doughy delight.

And even folks who know and love the cheese zombie don't always agree on its origin story.

But according to a 2020 Yakima Herald-Republic story, the first cheese zombies can be traced back to the early 1960s, in Grandview, Wash.

The school district there had a problem: how were they going to use up all of the commodity cheese the federal government had sent them?

The school cooks got to work and created a recipe that became such a hit with kids, they're still putting their own twist on the dish years later.

Soundside producer Noel Gasca spoke to a few people on the east side about their connection to the Yakima-valley culinary creation.