August 23, 2011

Be Nice To Your Cheese

Once we hit forty, women only have about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate.  ~ Gina Barecca
Cheese. Even though I'm not scholarly on the topic, it is an incredibly fun world to explore. I find myself regularly purchasing cheeses just because the name sounds interesting as well as some that became early favorites. While Oregon has its share of really spectacular, award winning cheeses, there's also no better way to learn about far away places than to taste their cheeses with place-matched wines. And, while imported cheeses can be expensive, a chunk of cheese and a bottle of wine are far cheaper than plane tickets for two and can provide a lovely moment of transport.
The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton
I love the freebie cheese papers that are sometimes offered at finer cheese purveyors, and if available, always take one in which to wrap my investment. At first, I admit that I felt a little sanctimonious over using a shi-shi product like cheese paper. But, cheese stored in plastic wrap, I've learned the hard way, is a kiss of death to our fine cultured treasures.

Plastic wrap suffocates the living cheese, trapping in its exhalate (gas and moisture just like breath and sweat) thereby encouraging bacteria growth on your precious bundles of joy.  Plastic wrap then traps the off-odors that cheese produce naturally (like ammonia) from being dissipated. It doesn't take too much imagination to see where the term "cutting the cheese" comes from when you unwrap a nice cheese after a couple of days in plastic. Let's put it plainly: BO and bad breath do not a fine cheese make.
Wine and cheese are ageless companions, like aspirin and aches, or June and moon, or good people and noble ventures. ~ M. F. K. Fisher
Cheese paper can be purchased in too-large, wastefully sized sheets a dozen or 15 to a package, at the high cost of anywhere between $6 and $11 dollars. In my household ledger, this adds to the overall cost of the experience and is money I'd rather spend on yet another fine cheese or a toward a nice bottle of wine to go with it. Cheese paper that doesn't come in tear-off rolls, allowing me to properly portion a piece to fit my remaining cheese and containing the costs of my home kitchen has been something of an annoyance, and for about half a minute, even enough so to be an idea for a new business venture.
Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality. ~ Clifton Paul Fadiman 
Desperate times; desperate measures, as they say, caused me to recently rip off a sheet of baking parchment as an experimental wrap on a really nice cheese. Viola!! Parchment can be found for under $3 for a 30-square foot roll at the grocery, and I always have it around. My cheese paper dilemma has been solved. No extra clutter, no exorbitant prices, and really nice, fresh cheese.

Give the parchment wrap a try and let me know how it works for you. And I'm also interested in your comments about what cheeses are your favorites, where they come from, and what wines you prefer as pairings.
For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out.  ~ Unknown

6 comments:

  1. Will try the parchment, thanks so much-
    And I'm loving my 40's, If I knew then, what I know now...;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've been using parchment paper for quite some time now to wrap my cheeses. Its great to use something inexpensive and totally effective. Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, Sandi, aren't the 40's just wonderful?? Having just crossed the threshold of the next decade, the same can be said for the 50's too.

    Val, I'm glad to be in good company with the cheese paper idea. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Pam! You now have me off to read The Art of Eating by M. F. K. Fisher. Yet another food treasure shared.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had never even thought much about this, but it makes so much sense!

    And I love cheese, and wine, and...

    Jason

    ReplyDelete
  6. Brilliant! Connie jokes that he knew I was the one when he opened the meat and cheese drawer in my fridge and it had only cheese in it. We love trying new cheeses so this is a perfect hint for us. Kate @kateiscooking

    ReplyDelete

Quick Linker