Friday, September 19, 2008

Forget financial armageddon, I wanna talk about cheese

This week's volatility has been extremely weird. The Dow swinging up and down 400-500 points in a day, the nation's hugest financial institutions and companies dying before our eyes, Russia's stock market crashing, United Bank of Switzerland tanking...all compelling. I know it all affects me even if I don't have money markets and structured whatevers and fancy accounts. We all pay, especially because of the Fannie and Freddie bailout. Not to mention AIG bailout, which isn't even a bank.

All that aside, let's talk about cheese! Namely my love for cheese. I love exotic cheese. I have been blessed with an interested palate all my life, and even when I was little exotic cheese was served in my house. I grew up knowing what Edam and Gouda were. How wonderful.

My favorite is goat cheese. I fondly recall sultry dinners on sidewalks cafes of Paris with goat cheese salads or goat cheese appetizers. France seemed synonymous with cheese. You know, the simple things of life like French bread and fresh cheese and cool wine. Whole shops dedicated to cheese, my kind of city.

I recall another cheese incident that occurred as I was traveling on the Italian train from Florence to Rome. I met a European Union Dignitary, and she and I were discussing food (after having had a lively discussion about the new European Union, just formed). I said I liked cheese. She was highly amused and corrected me immediately.

"Che-eese?! Che-eese?! Formaggi? No. No!" She went on to say that one must always say the cheese's specific name. Mozzarella, Pecorino, etc., they each have a name and a specific role in an Italian meal. Good to know.

When the local gentleman's farm opened up in New Gloucester, Maine, it wasn't long before they started tapping locals and local products to produce, and happily, one of them was cheese. They opened a creamery and I went on a tour. The interior of the dairy by necessity was spotless and antiseptic, with gleaming large stainless steel vats, and men in white lab coats and paper nets on their hair. Not much to take a photo of, so I looked inside one of the vats and saw the cheese paddles. Snap! I love this pic. After the dairy got up and running they made great cheese and it won awards almost right away. I'm glad the folks of Gray and New Gloucester have access to locally produced dairy products as well as meat and veggies.

And here's Monty Python's ode to cheese in the famous "Cheese Shop Sketch"

So that's my cheese story and I'm stickin' to it!


Anonymous said...

My roommate can't understand why I pay the extra $$ for Gruyere when I'm so cheap about other things.

Elizabeth Prata said...

I understand completely ;)