As a vegetarian of at least 15 years maturation (not smoked or barrelled, but occasionally waxed), I have a very healthy (i.e. unhealthy) relationship with cheese. It is the finishing flourish to most of my hot meals, a vital component to the humble sandwich, and even an exciting element to many of my favourite non-gelatinous desserts. Cheese, I love you.
It is also the sole reason I could never be vegan, as anyone who has ever tried vegan ‘cheese’ will fully relate to (it’s like vegetarian bacon, which means it’s as if an alien who has no taste buds or sense of smell has interpreted the original, having seen it once from a great distance in its early infancy, although now it comes to think of it, perhaps it was just a dream it once had..?).
Bacon cravings and bitterness aside, let us celebrate the marvel that is cheese by exploring all things cheese.
1) Novelty cheeses:
I don’t know about you, but the pick and mix cheese counter at Sainsburies was always much more enticing than the sweet version. For starters it had Babybels which, let’s face it, are more about the peeling and resculpting than the eating. It also had all sorts of miniature versions of the bigger kinds (I just like that concept when applied to cheese) and you got to select them in smelling distance of the bakery so you could actually imagine exactly how each one would taste in a sandwich.
2) Smelly cheeses:
Not only do some cheeses smell absolutely awful (and I have known them used as weapons against an irritating housemate) in the stilton sort of way, but you can even find smelly things to put in them to make them even whiffier! It’s marvellous fun. Mum stopped letting me choose the cheese around the time that I discovered the Mexicana variety. It was sheer peppery, garlicky, cheesy goodness and the fridge almost had to be thrown away when six weeks later it still held the essence.
Cheesiness bought us Hanson, S Club 7 and all the other bands that we secretly still have on our ipods but are too ashamed to mention… A bit of cheesiness goes a long way, but without cheese, where would the music scene be today? (That’s rhetorical, thanks)
4) Cheese sports:
Ok, so that’s pretty much just cheese rolling, but I have also heard that the participants of the Cheddar Challenge bike event all get cheese party bags, and during the Marathon du Medoc I was given the holey kind at about mile 10. There are links. And there’s room for more.
Cheese is amazing. It will pack a flavourful punch to anything it touches, give you zee healsy bones and teess (or perhaps that’s just a specific brand of yoghurt), and it will help you get rid of unwanted acquaintances, do more sport, and overall live a happier life. According to Wikipedia (so it’s got to be true, right?) it can even be used instead of truth serum. Children in Penrith would challenge a person that they thought were lying to say cheese ten times without laughing. If you laugh, you’re blatantly lying. Well that settles it. Cheese is officially the best food ever.