Welcome Peggy. That is a great idea to add cheese!
To answer your concern about missing the “old” materials palette, you can still get it. I still use it. You can set it under File > Preferences > General Program Preferences and under the Palette tab on the left, click on it and you will see a checkbox for “Use Classic Material Properties”. You can find other “old” settings listed in this article:
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. We are all here to help.