Cheese Thoughts Category

My dear friend, Kathleen, The Goddess, informed me of the following horrible, unspeakable tragedy:

Blaze toasts cheese and the semi it was in

PROVO — A truck laden with cheese burst into flame early Friday morning after a mechanical malfunction, said Utah Highway Patrol officials.

Just after 7:30 a.m. Friday, as a semi more than half filled with aged dairy product rounded a bend on U.S. Route 189 in Provo Canyon near mile marker 14, a fire broke out near the axle, said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Cameron Roden.

The driver pulled off the road. He was not injured.

Both lanes of traffic were shut down for about half an hour, then opened to one controlled lane while fire crews cleaned up the charred cheese and melted truck .

— from the Deseret Morning News, published: Oct. 20, 2007 12:08 a.m. MDT.

I cannot even comment because I must sit and weep awhile. OHHHHH – charred CHEESE, melted TRUCK! And this was near the Heber Valley – the Dairy Eden of Utah; what must the poor cows be thinking?

It’s Time for the CHEESEMAN!

17 Oct 2007 In: Celebrate!, Cheese Thoughts

The day my Holiday catalog from The Wisconsin Cheeseman® arrives is a festive one, indeed. Unfortunately, when I was perusing this inspiring tome last night I had an immediate and unquenchable desire for cheese. I HAD TO HAVE CHEESE RIGHT THEN AND THERE. We only have “lite” Jarlsberg (not so bad as it sounds) and a mild cheddar in the house. But a little bit of each seemed to assuage my desperate need.

Then, back to the brightly coloured pages of the catalog. I must be very honest with you. The Wisconsin Cheeseman® Holiday catalog has a myriad of “corporate” style gift packs – overwhelming displays of cheeses, sausages, crackers and spreads in cheerfully decorated boxes. They often contain, to the chagrin of the true turophile, quite a few cheese “spreads” in lovely foil with misleadingly foreign names that are actually comprised of “pasteurized process cheese food.” Cheese food? That’s just wrong.

One must ignore the “mega-gift-pack” route and take a look at the natural cheese that they make or buy. This is the tantalizing part. Aged cheddar, Longhorn Colby, Country white cheddar, award-winning Provolone, aged cheddar, an aged bleu cheddar (I lust after this one),baby Swiss, ball Gouda, an aged Parrano, artisan rosemary-flavoured white cheddar, REAL brick cheese (made by the ONLY company that still makes authentic brick cheese – they use third generation bricks for pressing), cranberry white cheddar – I could go on and on. They do make some of their own spreads, which I’m guessing are lovely. They also peddle some scrumptious-looking baked goods, including petits fours (I LOVE petits fours). They even carry St. Dalfour’s Conserves (fruit preserves sweetened only with fruit juice – DELICIOUS and JUST FRUIT – P.S. you can buy them locally at a lower price).

There was, however, an artisan cheese that initially gave me pause:
Cheese filled with BUTTER

This is Manteche Artisan Cheese. Here’s an excerpt of the catalog description:

Artisans hand-shape warm whole-milk Provolone around a half pound block of unsalted butter. The mild cheese and butter share their flavors as this delicacy ripens.

Cheese filled with BUTTER? Is this excessive decadence? Is this dairy ostentatiousness?

Then I thought about it for a bit. A thin slice of this cheese on an excellent bread? Now that sounds decadently DELICIOUS.

Cheese in the Time of War

7 Oct 2007 In: Cheese Thoughts

Everyone (worth knowing) recognizes that cheese has enjoyed a very long and storied history. For century upon century cheese has blessed the lives of the citizens of the World. All lauds and honours on CHEESE!

Notwithstanding, I thought it was likely that in bleak times – perhaps WORLD WAR II – cheese might have gone the way of rubber and sugar and stockings. But I wandered upon something that confirmed to me that cheese is always and forever important.

Here is a blurb from The Stars and Stripes, Volume 3, Number 8, Page 2 dated Tuesday, November 10, 1942. I’ll put it in historical perspective a little later:

This is HISTORY!

Let me give you a transcription of this item, as the scans I was researching are deliberately crap so that you’ll order pricey originals. Not ME; I will just read more carefully. Anyhoo, here is the text:

Mrs. Anna Juchs won an uncontested divorce after testifying that her husband kept Limburger cheese under their bed.

While, as a noted turophile, I agree that it is inappropriate to keep ANY cheese under one’s bed, particularly – uhm – really strong-smelling cheese (it’s also inharmonious in terms of Feng Shui), I don’t see how funky cheese in the boudoir is grounds for an uncontested divorce. But what do I know.

This little bon mot, incidentally, was found in the Hush Marks section (gotta love that name) of the paper. If you’d like to see it in it’s original context, you can download the whole edition for Tuesday, November 10, 1942 right here.

My favourite thing about this whole cheese tidbit is that Sunday, November 8, 1942 marked the beginning of “Operation Torch” (part of Operation Blackstone), Patton’s convoy assault on the Algerian coast (my Grandfather was a military intelligence expert on Patton’s staff; he certainly had a bunch of near misses during this time). Consequently, The Stars and Stripes broke the news concerning this important offensive in the November 9, 1942 edition (and for the rest of the week).

What sort of interesting serendipity led me to a cheese item during the investigation of World War II campaigns? The cheese faeries move in mysterious ways.

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Surviving Kate

20 Aug 2007 In: Cheese Thoughts, If I Don't Look Is It Still There?

I had plans – and I’m not talking in the earth-shattering sense – I meant blog plans. First, I have sadly neglected to cover the 2007 Cheese Rolling at Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire.

And then there’s my new-born fascination with the idea that I might have Amish Ancestors (because in my Euro-mutt mix there are ancestors with the right type of names who emigrated from Europe at just the right time and came to precisely the right county in Pennsylvania…). Perhaps the fact that I’d just finished reading Plain Truth had something to do with it. OR it was performing in the Amish musical in high school oh-so-many years ago (Plain and Fancy).

THEN I became very interested in seeing if I could figure out which of my ancestors died of the “Black Death” – well, and obviously somebody survived, too, so I thought I’d try and figure out who those hardy folks were. Maybe the fact that I’m reading a book about the medieval plague has something to do with that.

Yes, I purchased this book on purpose. I like variety. For instance, I packed Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and the well-known Elie Wiesel (Founding Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) Trilogy – Night, Dawn and Day – for the Park City Short Course.

But I have realized that there was a much more pressing issue. There should and must be a handbook for any and all interactions with me – Crazy Kate, Kate the Safety Dog, Crazy Heathen Aunt Kate, plain Kate, And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst – any and all variations of Kate (don’t forget Jessica Biel). It might prove very helpful to the few people I encounter when I manage to leave the house. Because I feel great pity for them. Oh – I feel very sorry for them indeed.

This comprehension was hastened by painful realizations I’ve been having over time culminating into an epiphany of grand proportions on Friday. That night I subjected an old friend who I had not seen in well over a decade to what could only be described as a protracted stream-of-consciousness epic nightmare complete with sweeping hand gestures (dangerously close to poking out his eyes) and many “Uh – thanks for sharing” moments.

I’ll use great restraint and make these instructions short and sweet. Okay, I’ll TRY to use great restraint and make these instructions short and sweet:

  1. When the stream-of-consciousness has starts to look like a scenically transcontinental – NOT express – train that is derailing (which it WON’T – I must assure you that despite all appearances it will keep going even though by all rights it should dive right off the track and explode into a conflagration of unequaled proportions – it is the LITTLE TRAIN OF THOUGHT (thought?) that COULD), please feel free to use a gently halting phrase. I suggest, “Shut up, Kate.” It needn’t be shouted, just stated in a resolute and firm tone. “Shut up, Kate.” It’s not mean, I promise you; it’s a matter of self-preservation.
  2. There’s also, “Get out of the car, Kate.” Same thing – not yelled, not desperate – just a firm, resolute, “Get out of the car, Kate.” Throw in a “please” for fun if you’re so inclined, but strictly speaking, in these emergency situations it is not compulsory.
  3. No excuses are necessary. I understand what I’m like right now (though I prefer to delude myself into thinking that this was not ALWAYS so) and I’d rather everyone just told it like it was. You needn’t say, “My bladder might explode if I don’t get to a bathroom very soon,” unless, of course, it’s the truth. I’ll even take, “My head might explode if I don’t get some rest VERY SOON.”
  4. A fun change of pace could be a finger to my lips à la Dianne Wiest in Bullets Over Broadway with a, “No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak…”

That’s all. I’m open to suggestions if I’ve neglected anything.

It occurs to me that this entry should be dedicated to Grettir, who, more than anyone else (I’m not disregarding my family, I just seem to be more deranged when I leave the house), has patiently suffered through, well, about twenty years of my day-to-day type lunacy and has, even more admirably, had the forbearance to still associate with me during what I might label my non compos mentis epoch. Thank you, Grettir.

The last first. Frenchy McFrench has spoken. I made the du a de, made plans to, as the FRENCH do, eschew capitalization in my blog title, and then I find that my syntax is altogether wrong.

But, from mes experts français well – rather mon cher expert français I have the final word(s). So, as you can see, I have AT LAST (I hope) correctly molded my title to make the French happy (I say as though “The French” are a key demographic who give a damn about my writing). We’ll just see what Google makes of this.

Now on to SCIENCE! I explained that Shirleen had been implanted with a spinal stimulating device so that we can direct her every move by remote control so that she can control her pain with a remote control. Unfortunately, this is one of those procedures that results in horrific pain in order to eventually control chronic, wretched, debilitating pain. They cannot actually switch on the device until her surgical recovery is complete. In the meantime, she is, “Lumpy, stripy and bruised.” (And SHE, being a sophisticate, pronounced BOTH syllables of “bruised” when she gave me the report over the phone. Well done.)

At least while she was in the hospital she was entertained and tutored in life by her “EIGHTY-EIGHT-YEAR-OLD” roommate (who either sang that information or related it in an extremely adamant manner – I’m not sure which). She did sing songs, regaled Shirleen with sage advice and stories, and made her laugh (which was painful, unfortunately).

The most amazing tidbit was, I think, this life-changing advice about relationships:

If you really love a man you give him an enema.

I, for one, am stupefied. Shirleen and I both concluded that the fact we never knew about this dictum, and therefore had never followed it as a guideline, explained a great deal about our lives in general. If only we had known. HOW COULD WE HAVE KNOWN?

We’ll just have to move forward now, armed with this crucial knowledge. I’m just wondering how one infuses the willingness to administer this essential (I guess?) medical procedure – as a sign of affection – into a computer dating bio. And people wonder why I don’t leave the house that much. Don’t you see? I have very grave matters to ponder.

Wouldn't this be a cool tattoo?Oooooh – back to the science. Once the nice doctors do turn Shirleen on (DON’T GO THERE, YOU KNOW VERY WELL WHAT I MEAN) she gets to control her device with a wireless Bluetooth® remote. Oh yes, she has Bluetooth® connectivity. That certainly gives new meaning to the slogan, “Experience hands-free in so many ways.”

I’m already trying to decide what I might do with my Bluetooth® headset (find out what one’s crazy spine sound like?). And I have a Bluetooth® mouse. I LOVE the idea that I could somehow incite funky chicken dances or the the like with that implement. My dad’s PDA has Bluetooth® connectivity. Perhaps we could upload data directly into her spinal column. The possibilities are ENDLESS!

Your suggestions would be appreciated.

Robot In Disguise

7 Aug 2007 In: Blood is Thicker..., Cheese Thoughts

Today Shirleen was surgically implanted with her robot components. She isn’t aiming for this, at least as far as I know:

Optimus Prime*

Instead, she wants some much-needed relief from the constant back and neck pain, as well as the substantial discomfort from the nerve damage resulting from having an emergency diskectomy and then having her lumbar vertebrae fused (she has a cage in there – sounds a tad kinky). As it is, I envision her spine comprised wholly of a hodgepodge of crumbly cheese. That would be an interesting diagnosis: “I’m so sorry, Miss Appropriation, but you have crumbly cheese hodgepodge spine; it’s quite tasty yet unfortunately rather debilitating.”

No one deserves liberation from the constant torment more than Shirleen; she has the highest pain threshold of any human being I’ve ever met. Therefore, when she admits to a high level of “discomfort,” shall we say, you know it must hurt like HELL.

I believe this is the implant she received:

Spinal Cord Stimulating Device

Some of these apparatuses have JOYSTICKS; that’s too cool. Part of the device is affixed into a small nook of painstakingly scraped-out bone somewhere above Shirleen’s lumbar fusion (and I didn’t think she had any more bone in her spine – I guess I was mistaken). The other portion is placed in her “flank” (their phrase, not mine). There are leads that extend from the device that help stimulate the key pain-causing nerves. They determine this placement with a trial run device (which she already had implanted and removed).

Once the surgical wounds heal, the joystick or controller is used to tune in specific frequencies that cancel the pain impulses. Oh, YES – this is superlative SCIENCE.

Hearty congratulations on finally jumping through all the hoops to receive your robot implant, Shirleen (I should inform everyone that there has been no actual jumping, per se – this would have not only been ill-advised in terms of increasing potential physical damage, but prohibitively and excruciatingly torturous). No one could be more deserving.

And, just in case, please keep us apprised of any possible super-powers. There’s got to be a SLIGHT chance, right?

*I only know this “Optimus Prime” crap because of the TRUTH – the inside scoop about the Transformers. This film has been ostensibly marketed in conjunction with the sales of children’s toys. Rubbish.

The target demographic for this movie is MEN IN THEIR THIRTIES! They know everything about the “epic battle” between “the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons.” And while they are bathing in the nostalgic glow of childhood reminiscences, their spouses, partners and/or girlfriends sit baffled – trying to figure out which robots are the “bad guys” or the “good guys.” I’ve had first-hand reports of this phenomenon from trusted sources.

Afflicted by Affiliations

29 Mar 2007 In: A Little HELP HERE?, Cheese Thoughts

If you have, perchance, glanced over at my ever overpopulated sidebar, you might have noticed some new banners. I must admit, I’ve gone a little “affiliate” crazy. And it’s INSANITY for certain, as I’ve not made a single penny off any affiliation thus far.

Yet, before you think my current obsession is TOO loony cuckoo-bananas, please bear in mind that it’s at least THEMATIC. In fact, it’s cheese themed. If that’s not appropriate for this site, I don’t know what it (I really DON’T know what is, but let us ignore that fact for the moment).

I shall further explain (“You SHALL?” they ask, their mouths agape in incredulity). Oh, SHUT UP. Here’s the thought process: I am already an affiliate of CheeseSupply.com, where you can fill all your exotic cheese fantasies (NOTE: I’m not putting links for the sites for which I’m affiliate because I want you to use the SIDEBAR BANNERS; they are not just aesthetically pleasing, they are FUNCTIONAL). I am also an affiliate at BarnesandNoble.com, where you can purchase cheese tomes and cheese music and cheese films to your heart’s content (and if you think that I cannot suggest cheese music and films, you are sorely mistaken).

Now I’ve added some affiliations to make your fromage reference library complete. You see, if you visit my History Channel link (which also links to other A.&E. Channels, including the Discovery Channel) you could choose films or merchandise related to the world of cheese and cheese history. Very cool.

Then, at Sur La Table you can provide for all you cheese appliance and utensil needs that aren’t fulfilled at CheeseSupply.com. They have a wondrous and extensive collection of slicers and knives and plates and guides and fondue pots and more, MORE, MORE (wow – blast from the past that I shall not endeavor to explain just now). Lastly, I must provide information for your travel needs; there are so many prime cheese destinations! Until I instigate my “Tour of the World Through Cheese,” which would entail me getting my first passport and everything, we’ll stick to the more holistic but reliable travel guide – Zagat. For a low, LOW price you can get approximately a trillion reviews and recommendations (I am, perhaps, misquoting just a tad) for a blissful travel experience. Now you are all set!

I feel I should now mention the one negative experience in my recent affiliation bender. Harry & David TURNED MY APPLICATION DOWN. Nope – they did not want ME as their affiliate. I am, apparently, not posh enough for their tastes (this vendor who sells a product called “MOOSETRACKS” at greatly inflated prices). I was loathe to provide a link to their site, but I am a good web citizen – SO THERE.

Come ON, Harry & David; you have an OUTLET STORE. I have been there. AND I have been to your full-price posh mall store, too. AND I get your catalog.

Well, you’ll just have to get someone ELSE to feature your “Deluxe Pearsnapples and Cheese” gift collection. By the way, H & D, “Pearsnapples” is a STUPID term. It makes it sound like you’ve come up with some fancy new genetic hybrid and you’ve named it BADLY; IF you had a hybrid I think that “Apears,” “Pearpples,” “Papples,” “Applears,” or even “Pearapple” would be far superior monikers. As it is, you are evidently too POSH to accept me as an affiliate, and you are too fancy-schmancy to follow through and use the label “Pears n’ Apples.” Snots.

All noted turophiles know that it’s YOUR loss, H & D.

Officially Affiliated

16 Mar 2007 In: A Little HELP HERE?, Cheese Thoughts

Thank you Ashley, for providing the PERFECT segue into a shameless self-promotion. Ashely asked:

Hey KAte-

Can you find me some place to buy blueberry bluecheese? I have had no luck. We had it that one time at the Juhl house, but haven’t ever seen it since.

The untimely demise of the Juhl Haus was a tragedy, indeed. Nonetheless, Smash, I CAN help you find that very product. Moreover, if you purchase it THROUGH me, I will get a cut of the profits!

WHAAAAT??? One may ask? Well, as any self-respecting TUROPHILE blogger would do, I have become a CHEESE affiliate. Oh yes. No Amazon affiliation for ME (it’s so DONE – sorry, My Friends). OKAY – so I am a Barnes and Noble Affiliate (not that I’m not an Amazon and everywhere else shopper), but I think the interface at Barnes and Noble is much prettier.

Back to the CHEESE, of course. I am a CheeseSupply.com affiliate (and YES, please use my affiliate links from my right-hand sidebar if you’d like to buy some CHEESE or Cheese supplies or even books and Barnes and Noble).

CheeseSupply.com has a HUGE and varied selection (the largest I’ve seen), which impressed me, and they always have something on sale. The thing that REALLY impressed me, though, was that when I had difficulty obtaining their “raw datafeed” – I’m actually considering my own Cheese Shoppe storefront – I sent an email to them. And what do you know, THEY CALLED ME! I didn’t catch the call, so they LEFT A MESSAGE. How’s that for service? That was a while ago. Hmmm. I should RETURN that call.

Anyhoo, YES, Smash, I can help you find a lovely blueberry blue-cheese. I think what we had at Juhl Haus was a Blueberry Stilton. Ah ha! What do you know? If you click on of the links in my right-hand sidebar (either the moving banner for CheeseSupply.com OR one of the three cheeses on special right now) you will get to the webpage. There, if you search by “blueberry” you will find that they carry “White Stilton with Blueberry Truckle” – essentially the same thing we had. And it looks just DELICIOUS. It is an English cheese, which surely, is the ONLY kind of Stilton one should trust, as it’s named after an English village – where, ironically, it has never been made. It is produced nearby in three local counties and is only licensed to be produced IN THOSE COUNTIES by one of six strictly-audited dairies.

So, if you NEED cheese (and one does not “want” cheese, one NEEDS cheese), PLEASE purchase your cheese through me!

A Fromage SAVANT

9 Feb 2007 In: Cheese Thoughts

Paisley, what goes well with a lovely, Sage Derby?
Wonder® Bread or a Carr’s Water Cracker?

Ah, yes. That’s SMASHING.

That reminds me; thank you,Smashly! I only steal from the best.

He Has the Right Idea

28 Nov 2006 In: Cheese Thoughts

Not only did he use the term “herewith,” which one just HAS to love, the Gentleman Author of bumppo.net managed a parade of FOURTEEN different cheeses through his kitchen in only a few days time. This is a turophile triumph.

My only criticism is that his cheese selection is a little pedestrian. Oh – my second criticism (only one, TWO criticisms of the Fourteen-Entry Cheese Parade) is that “those little cheese rounds that come wrapped in red wax,” which he eventually identified as edam – with a link to DUTCH edam – are a version of FRENCH edam from The Laughing Cow Company® – a French company, naturally. The small rounds are from their “Babybel®” line. “Original” Babybel® comes covered in the familiar red wax. In my opinion (as a NOTED Turophile), Babybel® “edam” doesn’t have the extra “bite” of Dutch edam. I think it tastes more like gouda (originally Dutch as well) – which, ironically, they also make, but shroud in uglier wax so that everyone buys the RED WAX kind so that they don’t taste the “gouda” and have to decide that it tastes more like… Okay, I haven’t had THEIR gouda, only the “original” Babybel® rounds, so I could not, in all honestly, render an expert opinion.

In conclusion, THIS is the Wikipedia link he should have used. But anyone who can hold a cheese cavalcade of FOURTEEN cheeses in just a few days should be lauded and honoured.

Hence, a vast Huzzah to the CHEESE PAGEANT WINNER FOR NOVEMBER! All fitting lauds and honours are duly conferred upon you.

Many thanks to Grettir for the “heads up.” I’ve had some reason to doubt his existence at the moment, but who else would be thoughtful enough to forward me great cheese links from his email address. A most clever body-snatcher THEY’D have to be.

Cheese Wisdom

“Clifton Fadiman wrote that cheese is like milk's leap toward immortality, which is witty, but untrue. Velveeta is immortal, but it is not cheese; cheese is milk's leap toward a life of its own.”
— John Thorne

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