Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mmm.... Cheeeeese.....

[I could talk about politics again and try to become a respected world-famous blogger, but I make a point of trying to spend as little time as possible being angry or depressed. So how about let's just agree that George W. and his minions are pure evil incarnate, and talk about something fun instead?]

The Super Bowl's coming up, which I couldn't care less about. I understand Seattle's involved somehow, which surprises me. Maybe if they'd put the players on ice skates, give them sticks, and make the ball sort of, well, puck-shaped, then I'd start caring about football. The only positive thing about football that I can think of off the top of my head is that it's an excuse to eat lots of cheese. Ok, and there's the beer, too, let's not forget the beer. But the whole experience would be so much improved if you didn't have all that TV nonsense to distract from the cheese and beer. Also, if you're going to have some cheese, it may as well be good cheese. Life is short. Why waste a single moment of it eating Velveeta?

A few selected news articles about cheese, some more fussy and pretentious than others:

  • The ABCs of Wine and Cheese. I actually think beer goes better with most kinds of cheese. But no rant about beer vs. wine today.
  • Making Fine Cheese a Respected Art. There aren't a lot of countries where you'd see a headline like that, or where within the article someone would remark that many people are afraid of cheese. You just want to explain to them that lots of people eat cheese every day, yes, even the "stinky" kinds, and many of them don't die, at least not because of the cheese.
  • Foodie at large - the big cheese. Just a reminder that the UK produces a lot of really great cheese. Yes, it's food, and the British are good at it. Film at 11.
  • Making the most of milk. A newspaper in Virginia profiles a local couple in the cheese business.

And a few of my favorite local cheesemakers, most of whom sell at local farmers' markets. If you're not in this neck of the woods, you may be out of luck, but hey. There's probably someone geographically closer to you who deserves your suport.

  • Fraga Farm. I'm not going to name the particular item I'm most fond of, since I don't want to threaten my supply.
  • Rivers Edge Chevre. Another great local goat cheese producer. Their site goes into a bit of detail about their goats. You can tell they really love their goats, which is always a big plus in my book. Besides, goats are just cool.
  • Rogue Creamery. They're best known for a variety of blue cheeses. If you act now, you can still buy a Super Bowl gift pack off their website.
  • WIllamette Valley Cheese. They're mostly known for their gouda and havarti, but I'm more fond of their fontina. But hey, I'm weird that way.
  • Noris Dairy. Yes, if you want good local cheddar, and you don't want to have any dealings whatsoever with a certain coastal-based evil, litigious, predatory monopolist, you're in luck. And cheese is just part of a full range of dairy products, and they even do home delivery. With milk in glass bottles and everything. I remember having a milkman when I was little, and it was considered kind of weird and retro even then. In the 21st century, it's jaw-dropping that such a thing exists. I don't drink a lot of milk, so it's not practical for me, but if I did, I'd be all over this.

It's a shame that nobody in the area seems to be doing French-style triple cream soft cheeses (like Pierre Robert for example). Maybe those are still a little too decadent for local tastes, just a bit too "rich" and (some might say) "unhealthy". I'd argue that any food that makes you very, very happy is good for your mental health, and mental health is a crucial part of your overall health, therefore it's health food. It's obvious, once you think about it the correct way.

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