If you ask who cut the cheese in the kitchen — it might have been me

“You won’t like this dish because it has cheese in it and you hate cheese.”

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.

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17 responses to “If you ask who cut the cheese in the kitchen — it might have been me

  1. Cheese is my big weakness!

  2. I’m a cheese lover but for processed “cheese” and the nasty cheddar that you speak of…The Europeans do wonderful cheeses, many of which are unknown here unless one spends time with the manager of the cheese section of the local Whole Foods getting a lesson or two, which I have. So far, French cheeses outrank most others I’ve eaten.

    I’ve been meaning to ask, what is “man flu?”

    • I agree with you about French cheeses, by and large, though there are some nice Danish ones.
      Now for man flu, just go to YouTube and punch in either man flu or man cold and go there. It is hilarious.

  3. Well. We have a difference of opinion: I -love- feta (discovered a shop in Vic that carries several different types of feta), and I will only consume any kind of blue cheese under duress… and if it’s well-hidden! And cheesecake… It must be New York style at minimum! Some people make it better than others. You are -so- right about the plastic cheese-like substance; I hear it’s good for patching holes in the roof.

  4. Breakfast without cheese is an unfinished breakfast. Of course, I rarely have breakfast at all. Technically I guess I have it every day, but I call it lunch. I do love cheese. But not with seafood. When I hear “tuna melt” it makes me cringe. And is Feta Aversion a man thing? It’s the only cheese my husband doesn’t like. We have a running joke about Hong Kong. Whenever we see Hong Kong in a movie or featured in any way on TV he will mention what a great place that would be to visit and I always say, “I can’t visit an Asian country because they don’t have cheese.”

    • mrwriteon | January 30, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Reply | Edit
      Yeah, why are there no Asian cheeses? They must be the only culture that doesn’t have an indigenous cheese. Breakfast — no that is not a meal that make me think of cheese.

  5. Was going to be witty and erudite, but a “plate of cheesy comestibles” calls…
    (By the way, you can get smooth Feta, y’know)

  6. I miss european cheese.
    My substitute?
    Local semi matured rounds of cheese, painted with booze every day for three months.
    The first of the batch seems not too bad…like a Mizotte from the Vendee…but I’ll carry on experimenting.
    I think i’ll end up making my own.

  7. A Frog at Large

    I am not a fan of blue cheese apart from Cambozola because it’s mostly Brie with a little bit of blue in the middle.
    Friends of mine invited us to a Raclette dinner party where the cheese used was processed slices. You should have seen my face when the penny dropped this was the only cheese on the table…

  8. I’m not a big fan of cheese, I can pretty much take it or leave it. Except cheddar. Old, really strong cheddar. At breakfast. With PB on toast.
    Best. Thing. Evah!

    Actually cheddar anwhere, anytime is wonderful. I’m pulling a Pavlov just typing this.

    And I love cheesecake. Oh my, how I love cheesecake. I make a kick ass lemon cheesecake.

    Amazing, we have differing opinions on something.

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