KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Pssst! Wanna Buy Some Cheese?
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Thursday, February 16, 2006
Pssst! Wanna Buy Some Cheese?

It's starting. The conversational ellipses followed abruptly by the conversational italics.

"Give me something...unique."

"I'm in the market for something...different."

"Show me something...interesting."

All of this is accompanied by Jazzercising brow wiggles, dramatic eye bugging, and a whole lotta nudge-nudge-wink-winking. "Crap -- did someone write an article about illegal cheeses again?" a fellow cheesemonger mutters to me. You can count on it.

First of all, I have to say that "illegal" doesn't necessarily mean "better than Jesus." Sure, there are stacks of firm and oozy cheeses we can't get our sweaty little hands on for various and ridiculous FDA regs that have very little to do with safe-guarding public health and more to do with buckshot happy politics, and yes, a lot of them are delicious and different and worth it. However, it is patently ridiculous to elevate all those cheeses to such god-like heights just because they are illegal. For one thing, while you're doing that and snubbing all the legal cheeses in the meantime, man, are you missing out on something.

I'm here to give my professional and overbearing opinion that there are so many amazing legal cheeses out there that you could eat one every day of your life and still not have tasted all of them. And by "every day of your life" I mean until you keel over from acute cholesteroleosis. The cheese in this country has never been tastier, smellier, or fabulouser. My two favorite cheeses at the moment are Morbier and Harmony Blue.

Yeah, yeah, you're all "been there, done that, had it on a dessert plate" with the Morbier but no. Just no. Listen to me, the Morbier we have in is particularly happy Morbier. It's not the sullen summer stuff that gets all sweaty and has the potential to slip you a bitter tongue if you don't watch it. Don't get me wrong, with a nice spicy rosé banged in my glass, I like that Morbier just fine. I just don't like it ALL the time. This current Morbier is sweet and silky and it got me so high, I started forcing it on all my customers. "You want cheddar? No, try this Morbier!" "Chestnut honey? Honey, let me give you some Morbier!" "Cheese to take on the plane? Morbier might stink, but you'll thank me later." "The Slanted Door? Down the hall and to your right." Because some things don't change.

Harmony Blue is a perfectly gorgeous blue cheese made by a Amish Co-Op in Iowa. I'm telling you, those Amish people might drive really slow and not use zippers, but they certainly know their cheese. This cheese is buttery, luscious, and as outstanding crumbled over roasted mushrooms or in soup as it is with nothing else to dress it but your naked taste buds. Give it a lick.

So, please, treat your eyebrows to a sabbatical and stop bugging me about illegal cheeses, because one of these days I'm just going to sell you some perfectly legal and delicious brie that came without a label, because sometimes they come without a label, and you just gotta stop reading into that. And you know what? Unless you are Mr. Cheesetastic, I doubt you'll know the difference.

There's a whole country of cheese out there -- open yourself up to it. I promise you won't go hungry.


Blogger Sina Carroll said...

From a former Cowgirl: you go girl! Realistic and honest, insightful and funny. (love those amish!) And would someone Please ban importation of the perfectly legal and oh-so-lame Mimolette! ew!

2/16/2006 2:09 PM

Anonymous TiRaux said...

OMG "buckshot happy politics"? Hee. Quailgate is going to be the joke that keeps on giving, isn't it? And "those Amish people might drive really slow and not use zippers"? AND a Fantastic Four reference? LOL. You owe me a keyboard because I just spit Diet Coke all over mind! I just love your writing and now I'm craving happy morbier too. Confession time, I look forward to thursdays to read your stuff here. Food with a side of snark is my cup of tea. (I read your stuff at The Grub Report and Television Without PIty as well because you hate Sandra Lee and love Star Trek as much as I do.)

2/16/2006 2:54 PM

Anonymous breeamal said...

Why do you do this to me? 1:30 in the morning in Youngstown, OH, there's no good cheese available at this time of night! wibble wibble suffer

2/16/2006 10:39 PM

Blogger Jennifer Maiser said...

Any chance I could talk you into finding my favorite Stephanie post ever -- the one on daily bread about the customers asking dumb questions? I tried to find it myself the other day but the search there is broken.

2/17/2006 7:53 AM

Blogger Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic said...

Hey, thanks! Sina, I did write about how much Mimolette bugs me in
No, No Mimolette.

Jen, you're sweet! Here's the link:How Not to Act in a Cheeseshop

Tifaux, give me a shout over at TWOP!

Breeamal, mail order the stuff and stock your fridge, that way you'll have access to cheese, beautiful cheese day and night!

2/17/2006 11:02 AM

Blogger Dina said...

A current cowgirl, moi, just has to chime in and add, I'm so sick of snotty French people who come in and get all bent out of shape because we don't have any "REAL" (ie imported) Camenbert (brie, etc etc) and then refuse to even try one single TASTE of the US made soft-ripened cheeses! Lame! Frustrating! I sought out the job in the first place solely because of my interest in the domestic artisinal cheese movement, and I love turning people on to the great work being done out there. So stop that sniffing, y'all!

2/19/2006 8:26 AM

Blogger Dina said...

A current cowgirl, moi, just has to chime in and add, I'm so sick of snotty French people who come in and get all bent out of shape because we don't have any "REAL" (ie imported) Camenbert (brie, etc etc) and then refuse to even try one single TASTE of the US made soft-ripened cheeses! Lame! Frustrating! I sought out the job in the first place solely because of my interest in the domestic artisinal cheese movement, and I love turning people on to the great work being done out there. So stop that sniffing, y'all!

2/19/2006 8:27 AM


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