That’s a favorite line from Miss Wendy mainly because I foolishly once told her early in our relationship, that ‘as a child’ I hated cheese and my mother couldn’t get me to eat anything cheese-like.
Of course, as a kid the only thing I knew from cheese was crappy orange cheddar. And cheddar remains my least favorite in the whole fromage pantheon. That’s mainly because parents in those days were inclined to foist dry and unappetizing cheese sandwiches on an unsuspecting kid. For me, I’d have rather gone hungry.
As time passed and I developed more mature tastes I came to appreciate the virtues of the grilled-cheese sandwich – “Hmm, this crap isn’t bad if it’s melted,” and, of course, the cheeseburger. But, raw cheddar? Not at all.
And my childhood and youth remained largely cheeseless and I didn’t really mind. While I could tolerate the aforementioned cheese concoctions I never did, as the good old boys say, “hanker after it.” I just didn’t get why people actually ‘wanted’ it when there were so many nice things to want.
And then I became more worldly and urbane (actually I think that’s redundant) and in my early 20s I went to Europe. Europeans crave cheese and the varieties are mammoth. It has been part of European culture since the earliest days and I think it was either Rousseau or Voltaire who first posed the philosophical query: Qui a coupe la fromage?
So, on my travels an early stop was Amsterdam. Now the Dutch are absolute cheese fanatics. I mean they have great beer, too, but cheese seem to be a mainstay delight for those clog-hoppers. I mean, so much so that they even have it for breakfast. That took a little getting used to. They also boasted shops that sold nothing but cheese. Little goudas and edams all in a row on shelf-after-shelf.
After Europe I changed my views on cheese since I’d actually consumed considerable quantities and I found I could differentiate different types from different cultures. I’d come a long way since crappy old cheddar sangies by that point. I even went so far as to use various cheeses in my culinary concoctions.
Today I love such ‘confections’ in the fromage sense as brie and camembert, as well as gruyere (a particular favorite), mozzarella, havarti, and I’m brave enough to tackle Roquefort and other blue cheeses and if I’m feeling especially dauntless, I’ll even take on gorgonzola.
But, I have my limits. I unequivocally do not like feta (I detest the crumbly texture), I have never been a favorer of cheesecake – cheese as dessert doesn’t work for me – and orange cheddar is not a purchase I ever make unless it’s going into a cheese sauce or on a burger.
And so-called ‘processed cheese?’ Well, that’s only a cheese-like substance.
But, I’ll never go as far as a former partner who once suggested she’d take cheese over sex any old day. The statement spoke volumes in many respects.