Friday, 25 January 2013

Aspirational Cheese.




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.

23 comments:

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Ah, but bleu cheese is divine!

YeamieWaffles said...

I'm with you when it comes to just normal standard cheese Tony. I can not stand any cheese that's mouldy or anything like that even when that's the point, it's just weird to be honest. Still though, I'm surprised that cheese is apparently the devil, that spells bad news for me as well buddy!

Dana said...

I feel the same way about bleu cheese. Why would anyone want to eat mold?

Happy weekend! :)

Jimmy Fungus said...

To show how low on the socioeconomic scale I am... I think that cheese whiz is too expensive. Perhaps if they cut down on the whiz a bit, I could afford it.

Rob Z Tobor said...

I like almost all cheese from over ripe blue cheese to those little processed cheese triangles, my main complaint about them was getting into them they were hard work and my friends idea of cut the point off and squash it was rather messy; not an ideal trick for a sophisticated dinner party with friends.

Anyway the blue cheese is worse than just mould put it under a microscope and you will see that it is full of tiny critters running about. It might be cheese to us but it’s a small critters entire world.

Janie Junebug said...

I won't have anything to do with blue cheese. Moldy food should be tossed in the garbage. I like cheese, but not in great quantities. My mother hated cheese, but I suspect she was lactose intolerant and didn't know it.

Love,
Janie

Pat Hatt said...

I won't eat cheese at all, so safe from such a devil at my hall haha but yeah what works works, no since in curling your nose up if it is good to you.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Jerry: Well someone has to eat it.

Matthew: I was surprised myself.

Dana: Well said.

Jimmy: Cheese Whiz, what is that?

Rob: I couldn't eat their little world.

Janie: Best place for it.

Pat: Are you intolerant of lactose.

Al Penwasser said...

I don't know why, but this reminded me of the Monty Python cheese shop sketch.
And I paraphrase....
"Very well then, I'll have cheddar."
"Not much call for it around here, sir."
"Not much call for it....!? It's the single most popular cheese in the world!"
"Not 'round here, though."
I love me some cheese.
Although I will now avoid cubes of cheese left on the bar.

Paige Kellerman said...

Ahh, the great moldy cheese sitting on the cutting board. That stuff scares the crap out of me. I'll try an upscale cheese, as long as something blue isn't growing where I can see it. I think my taste in cheese may fall somewhere in the lower middle class. That's where the packaged Colby jack and mild cheddar blocks live.

Bart said...

most cheese is delicious. and what a classy pub, pubs around here never do anything like that. as for blue cheese. it smells like feet... and tastes even worst. cheers

Al Penwasser said...

Oh, by the way, I plan on adding the word 'wanky' to my personal vocabulary.
Question....etymologically speaking, does 'wanky' have anything to do with 'wanking?'
I can see where cheese might be confused with that other (non-edible. I hope) cheese.
But, I have sometimes been accused of having a dirty mind.

SkippyMom said...

Ah, my friend, thank you so much for the mental pic' of piss laden cheese. yikes! :P
This is why I never touch "Bar fly" food. I used to work in a restaurant, I knooooow too much. heehee

And cheese? Glorious cheese. Although I don't have high cholesterol, I am SUPPOSED to limit my cheese intake because of the sodium content [screamingly high] and you know what? I have given up a lot of things, including that little salt shaker, cut back on lovely breads and rolls that I adore, crackers, cereals, you name it - but cheese? I draw the line. There are too many ways to eat really nice cheese and I refuse to skimp or even eliminate it.
You can't halve the amount of it on, say, enchiladas and hope they taste the same, can you? I say nay.
A grilled cheese sandwich, a steak and cheese, and PIZZA for goodness sakes, have to have cheese and a mound of it to make it as I like it - droolingly good. Oh, and bacon on a hamburger is naked without the cheese, right? Can't have one without the other. We put cheese on darn near everything come to think of it. [And the good stuff too -although the best comfort food grilled cheese made is prepared with Kraft American cheese "food" - the processed stuff. That and a cup of Campbell's tomato soup is the stuff childhood memories are made of for me.]
And I am sorry - but I refuse to live without cheese fondue with a warm, freshly made baguette. That would be anarchy, pure and simple. giggle

So yep, I like me some cheese. That drawer in that fridge that is supposed to hold meats and such? In our home it is entirely dedicated to the fromage we purchase weekly. I have created quite a few lovers of the stuff in our home too. Vermont Extra Sharp White Cheddar is our everyday go to, but if we want a splurge it's a nice Gouda or brie served with fruit, nuts and crostini. Sometimes I will just put a big hunk of cheddar, grapes, apples, nuts and crackers in the family's lunches, instead of a boring sandwich and chips. They prefer it.

I just realized I have been rambling for a bit, sorry - but I am with you on loving the better cheeses now we are [supposedly ::wink::] all grown up, but I will close by saying I also enjoy homemade blue cheese salad dressing, but refuse to eat it spread on a cracker. I can't get past the big chunks of furry blue stuff. giggle

Okay, sorry again that I hijack comments. I always like talking with you and enjoy your posts so much. I have a bit of catching up to do, I imagine. I'll be around, just might not comment on them all.

Hugs to you my friend. xo Skip

SkippyMom said...

Do I get some sort of reward for writing what is probably the longest comment in the history of your [or my] blog? heehee

I kid. I kid.

Have a great weekend.

Brigitta Huegel said...

I like Cheddar with oatcakes - nothing wrong with that. And England has a lot of lovely cheeses. I don't like blue cheese (except 'Bavaria Blue') and I don't like too ripe cheese that stinks. As to health risks: maybe oatcakes help to reduce the risk (I mean it!) - and otherwise: just in moderation it will do no harm (if one isn't allergic or something like that)

Vapid Vixen said...

That last paragraph made me simultaneously shudder and laugh.

I am the exact same way with sushi. I don't know why, but I keep on trying it thinking this time, just maybe THIS time, I'll like it.

It NEVER works.

Margaret said...

Cheese is, indeed, the devil, but so is almost everything that is good.

Padded Cell Princess said...

Apparently goose fat or duck fat is supposed to help lower cholesterol as it contains 'healthy' fats...I haven't started using it yet though ;) As for cheese, I am a blue cheese fan. Heck, I'm just a cheese fan as long as it's not the processed cheese slices...so now we can look down our cheese noses at each other!

altadenahiker said...

I believe, by law, your Kraft slices are labeled "Cheese-like food" in the states, though its resemblance to anything remotely like cheese escapes me.

Pk Hrezo said...

Oh no way can i do processed cheese anymore. Bleh. I really love the yummy goodness, but funny story... just the other day in talking to my neighbor learned he had part of his heart removed and he said it was from eating too much cheese. lol Srsly. He lived in Israel for 22 years and apparently they don't have good cheese. So when he moved back to the states, he ate cheese like mad, and ended up having a major heart attack. True story. All cuz of the cheese.

Nicki Elson said...

Was the purpose in your vivid cheese descriptions (and what clings to it) to help the rest of us cut back on our cheese intake? Cuz you did a really good job at that. Thank you.

EC Stilson said...

Cheap cheese and crackers with Folger's coffee--that is livin'. :0)

Amy said...

Back in the day I used to go clubbing with a group of friends, which included a tall black man named Evan. When we go to a friend's house after dancing all night, Evan would take his shoes off. It was the most rank thing I've ever smelled. The first time I ever smelled Blue Cheese, I remarked, "Oh my God! That smells like Evan's feet!" I vowed never to put that in my mouth, and I'm happy to say I have upheld my vow.