Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hello, my name is Judi, and I’m a turophile...

I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I admit I love a certain type of dark chocolate with chipotle, and I love dark chocolate covered orange peel...but other than occasionally craving dark chocolate in one of those manifestations, I seldom crave sweets. I love salty things, and that said, it’s no surprise that I love cheese. Kath loves cheese too, and has from the get go: at age 2, one sunny fall afternoon, she helped me devour half a wheel of Stilton, brought back to me from England by my father-in-law. We downed that crumbly, sharp, blue-veined cheese with slices of crisp, Granny Smith apples. We’ve shared a love of cheese ever since.

A couple of weeks ago, Kath told me that she took a survey on My Space in which one of the questions was, “What do you like best about the place you’re living now?” She said, “I answered honestly: the thing I like best is all the great cheeses I get to eat”.

It’s true; there are nights that I’ve come home and we’ve happily, mutually, spontaneously decided that a small wheel of Cravanzina, with a little sourdough or some Bremner wafers, a bunch of grapes, and a glass of wine is the absolutely perfect meal.

I’ve been thinking that my love of cheese was a good thing, from a medical standpoint (because of the calcium). However, my doctor didn’t share my rosy view of the importance of cheese. Last visit, as I sat on the table waiting for her to make an appearance, I admit I may have been sort of smiling to myself, thinking of the block of white stilton with lemon that sat in my refrigerator even as I sat in my doctor’s office. Dr. G stormed into the room, her face almost apoplectic with anger. “WHAT have you been eating?!?!?!” she asked.

“Nothing, those were fasting labs, and I fasted!” I stammered, defensively.

She waved a piece of paper with my lab results in my face. “Look at your cholesterol!” she snapped. “It’s off the charts! Unless you can lower this dramatically in the next 6 weeks, we’ll be talking meds!” she threatened.

“Must be all that great cheese,” I muttered.

“No more cheese!” she ordered. “From now on, start each day with OATMEAL,” she commanded. In response to my less than enthusiastic look, she said, “Well, you can add some raisins...”

I shuddered at the thought. I don’t like raisins in most things, and certainly not in my oatmeal. However, I ate oatmeal (McCann's steel cut oats, slow cooked), religiously for 6 weeks. It did the trick, and lowered my cholesterol dramatically, after which I happily reverted to my old cheese eating ways. In the past few weeks, in addition to the Cravanzina (with which Kath and I have indulged ourselves regularly), we’ve had hard Pecorinos, soft Bries, smooth, sharp cheddars, creamy swisses...these are only a few. I’m 6 weeks away from having my cholesterol measured again, and frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn...

Or thought I didn’t...

This morning, driving to work at the crack of dawn and flipping stations on the radio, I almost spewed my cappuccino and had a stroke when I heard the announcer say, in the stained glass voice of early morning talk show hosts: “Ted, some tragic news today from North Dallas, where two more people have died after eating Cheese...” This sober announcement was followed by wildly incongruous music, after which a voice said cheerily: “That story and more after these messages from our sponsors...”

I felt my heart racing. What did he mean, two MORE people have died after eating cheese? Have people been dropping like flies from cheese and I didn’t know about it? I thought my doctor was nuts: a brainy, driven woman who happens to have no taste in food, but maybe I underestimated her. Was it the Cravanzina? Oh, PLEASE don’t let it be the Cravanzina, I thought, listening intently, waiting breathlessly for the announcer to come back on with the whole story...which he did...

Uh-huh. Seems there’s now a recreational drug guessed it...cheese.


They shouldn’t be allowed to call it that.

Oh well. As RosannaRosanna-Danna used to say...Nevermind!


Lisa :-] said...

Tee-hee. For me, cheese is a very necessary food group. I did without a lot of things on Weight Watchers--pasta, bread, pizza... but a world without cheese is a world I just don't want to inhabit...

The Curmudgeon said...

If it weren't for the old Monty Python sketch I might not even know that cheese comes in varieties other than Mozzarella, Parmesan, Swiss, American... and Velveeta!

Alex said...

It must be genetic.
Last night at the local bar some friends and I were discussing the lack of adequate grocery shopping in the neighborhood, and when asked where we shop, I described the rather elaborate circuit we travel on to get our "necessities." As the other people’s eyes started to get a little wider than is generally considered polite, I realized that 3 out of our 6 regular stops were there either primarily or exclusively for cheese and another whole stop was for beer and wine (although, of course, this particular liquor store also has a very nice selection of cheese!).

Rhea said...

I got into cheese a few years ago and took an adult ed class here in Boston with an expert in cheese. We tried 14 cheeses in one night. It was great!

dreaminglily said...

Oh dear lord you scared me! I looooove cheese... With a passion. Cheese being deadly would destroy me lol There's a reason dad called me a rat when I was little lol

There's a place here that makes their own Tilsit, soooo gooooood... But it's an hour drive just to get it, thankfully near my grandma or I'd never have it lol

Maybe I should send you cheese :oP

Tammy said...

You're killing me! EAT your oats :)

TJ said...

We LOVE cheese.
I remember when Susan Summers made that public statemnt that cheese went straight to the hips.
I thought to myself, you will have to do much better then that to make an impact here.
Great entry.
Love TJ

Erin said...

What a well-written entry! I enjoyed it immensely. I like cheese, but not with your passion. I think I could write a similar entry about chocolate ... (cliche, but you can't help what you love!)