Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Thank You for Cheese.

I spend a lot of my time complaining and thinking about all the things that need to be complained about. I think, though, that I should be focusing, rather, on things that are awesome and cool and excellent. Like those books that list hundreds of small things one can be thankful for (popsicles, money found in last season’s coat, perfect spiders’ webs, etc), I should be more aware of the countless things in my life for which I should be thankful. Perhaps this should be a semi-regular assignment that I can intersperse between rants about stuff that is crap and people who need a talking to. Yes. Oprah endorses Gratitude, and therefore, so shall I.  Oh my, is that a sunbeam poking through the clouds?

Today I am grateful for cheese. 


Cheese is effing awesome.

I host small gatherings of friends that are ostensibly about doing crafts and visiting, but all of us know it’s really about getting together and gorging on cheese together so that our shame is tempered by communal guilt.

There is a wide range of cheese tastes in our little group. Myself, along with Peter and Sarah, I believe, I prefer a good solid, reliable cheddar or gouda. I don’t care for anything too nosy. Some, like Megan or Ryan, are all about the creamy cheeses, the brie, the camembert, the Boursault, the ridiculous blues. Jane’s appreciation of cheese is long standing and as a child, invented a game about cheese to educate her young friends. She seems to lean toward cheeses artisnal, made by monks, or that will make her slightly drunk. Bettina likes cheese with other stuff in it, like caramelized onions and walnuts, or that are at all Bavarian.

Sheila is in a category all by herself. Sheila will eat any kind of cheese presented. She will even eat, with gusto, the cheese that Brian calls “The Green Bin Cheese” because he says it tastes/smells like the inside of our organic waste bin. 
She can detect notes of honey, apple, citrus and smoke in cheese that would be missed by even the most sophisticated Maitre Fromager. She imagines and creates cheese pairings. She will eat brine soaked cheese, the beyond pungent epoisses, Tibetan yak milk cheese, barnacle cheese en croute. Where cheese is concerned, Sheila is the Amelia Earhart. Without the disappearing part.

Show Sheila a cookie, though, and she turns up her nose. She’s so weird and adorable.

Cheese gives me an excuse to get together with all of my friends. A siren song I set out on my coffee table, luring them to the East End with promises of salty, rind-y, gooey goodness. Cheese’s binding effects, when it comes to my friends at least, are welcome. 

So today I am grateful for cheese and all it does for me. Thank you cheese. Thank you. 


  1. i'm with jane. in fact, i would like to learn how to make my own cheese and experiment. i like hard, crunchy cheeses. someone told me once they are salt deposits. that didn't make me stop. i am currently off cheese.and pretty much everything that tastes good so i will live vicariously through you!

  2. Oh Barb, I am also trying to keep away from cheese. Those part skim cheese strings for kids' lunches are the only thing I can have these days. Life is sad and meaningless without Mimolette. I'm bereft without Beemster. Glum without gruyere.

  3. The only cheese I can eat these days (dieting, as usual) are little plastic sheets called fat free cheese slices. Sad. But when it's the only cheese you are allowed to taste, it becomes "not bad". Don't you believe it.

  4. In a gathering with my friends, we have been known to create an altar to cheese... made of cheese, of course!

  5. Smoked Gouda and Shiraz. Mmmmmmm.

  6. There's a great line in Will & Grace when Will's date cancels on him and he laments, "...and I even found a new cheese." I miss that show.