I wrote a story about cheese. I was originally going to make the main character a cantankerous Mature Isle of Mull Cheddar, but to show that I have no hard feelings towards those from south of the border, I made it a story about an English cheese. This is part 1. Click here if you want to read part 2 first and have it make even less sense.
“Even back then,” laughed the Somerset Sharp Cheddar, with a coquettish lift of one eyebrow, “When I was no more than a swirl of curds, even back then, I knew I was destined for greatness.”
She scanned the display counter to check she had her audience’s attention. Two Baby Bels and a pale, eager-to-please Gouda gazed up at her. Satisfied, she continued, “I’ve always known that someday I’ll take my rightful place among the Gruyeres, the Wensleydales, the Boursins. A cheese of my pedigree,” she paused, “I was made for a cheeseboard.”
It was the first time she had allowed herself to say it out loud and the Cheddar liked what she heard. The young Gouda squeaked, unable to contain himself at the prospect of such glamour. The Cheddar smiled benevolently at the silly creamy wee thing. She cast an imperious glance at an Aged White Stilton languishing in a forgotten corner of the fridge. She noted with some displeasure that he was paying no attention to her and was instead studying pairing suggestions placed beside a recently arrived spiced apple chutney. Hrrumph, she thought, as if that mouldy old wheel could ever come close to associating with a jar of that caliber. He could hardly even expect to accompany a water biscuit, never mind be chosen as a companion to an organic compote. She cast a pitying look at his faded rind, his lopsided wax, his tattered, condensation-dampened label. No, the Cheddar preened, admiring her own glossy rind and the crisp corners of her cardboard price ticket, she was the only dairy product in this fridge destined to consort with choice chutneys, fine preserves and organic honeycombs. She smiled at the Gouda again and rested back against a bunch of ceramic grapes.
That afternoon, the Cheddar awoke from a nap. She had dreamed that she had been bought, wrapped in stiff waxed paper and carried away in a hemp/linen mix tote. Oh, the glory! She basked in memories of the dream and its expensively itchy carrying material. She saw Morag the Counter Girl’s hand reach in, pause over a coarse little block of Brocciu and then move towards her. The dream was coming true!
But… what… what was happening? Morag’s hand passed her, to stop at… no, no, it couldn’t be! The Cheddar looked on in horror as the Aged Stilton left the fridge, swiftly followed by a particularly dumpy Ricotta and, she gasped, her young Gouda protégé.
“That impudent wedge! After all I did for him!” The Cheddar was aghast. “Well, I could hardly have been seen in such company, could I?” she spluttered at an inoffensive Emmental.
The next morning, the Cheddar was still shaken, but brushed off her few drops of condensation with a determined air. Today would be the day. Yesterday’s shopper had only had a re-used Price Chopper bag. The Cheddar was clearly destined for far more stylish transport.
By mid-afternoon, the Cheddar was agitated. She’d seen a spicy Feta, a severe Romanian Urda and even a loaf of common Monterey Jack get taken away for a picnic. Yet she, a cheese like her, remained. And she was sure she’d seen the Jack give her a cheeky grin as he was removed. It was an outrage. How could this be? Her rennet came from the lushest farm in all England. Her curds were from Agnes, the finest Friesian heifer ever to graze. She was a Somerset Sharp Red Cheddar! But the Cheddar wasn’t one to let such things get to her. She knew what she was. So she straightened her shoulders and started to tell a Baby Bel about her friendship with an exquisite Gruyere. But the tiny wheel had turned her attentions to a bold red Edam and was no longer listening.
“Such a fickle snack,” tutted the perplexed Cheddar to no cheese in particular.
The next morning, the Cheddar was so distracted she didn’t even see Morag’s hand until it was wrapped around her. Oh! She was being lifted! At last! The Cheddar was exultant!
“Farewell, you less significant cheeses!” she crowed as she rose upwards. “My heart melts for you,” she smirked. Abruptly Morag let her fall back into the fridge with a thump.
Click here for part 2 of this fascinating saga!