If you're not from the immediate New York City area, this titular question must seem pretty cut-and-dry. "Chopped cheese? ...it's just cheese that's been cut into smaller pieces right?"

Trust me, I thought the same thing until I dug a little deeper. As it turns out, chopped cheese isn't the same thing as the cubed cheeses you'd find on a kick ass wine and cheese board. It's a sandwich, it's a symbol, it's a phenomenon.

According to an article by online magazine First We Feast, a classic chopped cheese sandwich consists of ground beef, peppers, onions, cheese, and typical condiments like ketchup and mayo, all prepared on a flat-top grill.

The sandwich is most often found in delis and bodegas all around New York, but most commonly in Harlem. There seems to be a lot of mystery around the sandwich–there's even a documentary surrounding its origins. 

Most reports say that the original chopped cheese sandwich was made at Blue Sky Deli in Harlem, formerly known as Hajji's (check out their Instagram here). The sandwich was first, and most often enjoyed, by Harlem residents looking for a cheap meal. A typical chopped cheese sandwich retails for around $4 or $5.

But, with this hometown notoriety came controversy. According to the New York Times, with the sandwich gaining broader recognition, a heated "discussion about culture and privilege" has been sparked.

The backlash surrounding this sandwich stems from this video by Insider. The video heralds chopped cheese as a New York City secret, even though people in neighborhoods with bodegas like Hajji's have been eating the chopped cheese for years.

Insider's video garnered a video response from YouTuber Jeffrey Almonte, in which he lambasts the lackluster reporting on the chopped cheese. The white reporter often gave the sandwich backhanded compliments which identified her as an "outsider" to New York Culture: she used the term "sub roll" instead of "hero," and also stated that the sandwich was "nothing revolutionary but still delicious."

Worst of all, the reporter commented that the sandwich was a "steal" at only four dollars, as if the reporter is disregarding the fact that some people don't always view a four dollar sandwich as a cheap meal. Almonte derides the video for seven full minutes, likening the report to "Columbus Syndrome" and a form of gentrification.

But it's not just Insider Food that's getting in on the controversy, Whole Foods has also landed itself in some hot water by selling chopped cheese sandwiches for $8.

The Whole Foods version of the classic chopped cheese costs twice as much as it would in a bodega, and the fact that it is being sold in Manhattan, home to the most powerful economic center in the world, only worsens the blow.

Many feel this to be a form of consumer cultural appropriation, and to be honest, it's not that hard to see why. The fact that a sandwich that has become a popular symbol of the New York working class is the new, trendy food item definitely rubs people the wrong way.

The good news is, according to New Yorkers on Twitter, Whole Foods has stopped selling chopped cheeses:

That said, this example is just one of many of a majority population taking a piece of minority culture as their own. Only time will tell if organizations like Whole Foods and Insider Food have learned their lessons. In the meantime, Americans across the country need to be more cognizant of sharing their trendy new "foodie finds."

Because, as the chopped cheese has clearly shown, one person's unexpected treasure could have been a long-standing staple at someone else's table.