Who likes cheese? Stupid question, most people like cheese. Even though it is really just milk that has gone manky we eat it by the bucket load. I had a health check this week and the nurse told me my cholesterol was slightly high, nothing to worry about but maybe I should cut down on my cheese intake a little. As she put it 'cheese is the devil'.
When I was growing up I would happily eat any old processed cheese, Dairylea cheese triangles, Kraft cheese slices stuck between two slices of white bread and cheap supermarket brand cheese spread lathered on cream crackers.
When I worked as a labourer in my teens we would finish work on Friday and go to the pub every Friday for a few pints before going home. The pub was called The Union Cross and they would put bowls pickled onions, peanuts and cubes of cheddar cheese on the bar for the drinkers to help themselves.
We would pick these out of the bowls and eat them while we talked and drank, never once thinking about all the people going to the toilet, not bothering to wash their hands and then eating more of the bar snacks. They must have been crawling with germs.
These days I am no longer a labourer and instead of going to the pub after work I like a nice bottle of wine now and again and get invited to dinner parties thrown by friends. At these the hosts prepare all their own food and very nice it is too.
Usually after dessert the hosts will serve up cheese and crackers with coffee. There are never Dairylea triangles or bright orange processed cheese slices served. There is usually a local cheese like Wensleydale along with Stilton and a soft Brie.
And there is always blue cheese. It sits on the board, festering away like something you would find under a wet log. It stinks to high heaven yet people smear great lumps of it onto crackers and talk about its piquancy and tanginess.
I always end up trying some even though I hate it. It’s covered in mould for goodness sake, you wouldn’t eat mouldy bread so why is this stuff considered a food. Yet I always try some. I tell myself that I am doing so just to reacquaint myself with how bad it is, as though I can’t believe that people have been duped into eating it.
But the real reason is that I have become a middle class snob. Bog standard Cheddar and processed cheese slices are now considered cheap and fattening. Now I must embrace the exotic and sophisticated world of really smelly cheese, because the class system demands that we strive for the better things in life.
There is nothing wrong with striving to better myself, it is our instinct to make ourselves as successful as we can be. But when I find myself looking down my nose at cheese I realise how ridiculous I am being.
I don't like blue cheese and I'm not going to waste my time trying to educate my palate into tolerating the horrible sweaty stuff. I was much happier eating the cheap, processed cheddar in the pub with my work mates, even though it had piss on it.