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Dont forget the cheese!

GAYS MILLS - I think I eat too much cheese. Please don’t ask me how I know this. That recommended serving size of one ounce just doesn’t seem to slice it for me. Thank goodness, I seem to be blessed with a high level of lactose tolerance and cheese is my friend.

How many pounds of cheese do you need to eat per year to qualify as a cheese head? The US average cheese consumption is around 35 pounds per year.  We’re # 7 in the world. (France leads the world in cheese consumption at over 50 lbs. per person per year.)  I must be a four-star, French-level cheese eater.  

“All things in moderation” gets lost in the shuffle when I whip out the brie. Actually, I’m not a cheese snob. I don’t usually indulge in brie and such. I’m more of a cheddar, Swiss,  jack, and mozzarella man. Plain, simple work-a-day cheeses you can sink your teeth into.  Oh, OK, I also have some Feta in the house—that leans toward the hoity-toity but don’t knock it till you’ve crumbled some of it on a salad, in a taco, on spaghetti, etc.  And of course, the grated Parmesan, that doesn’t even count.  How can grated cheese like that last so long? Best not to pursue that question too far methinks. And, curd of course. That goes without saying, that’s why I didn’t say it. Curd belongs in every Wisconsin fridge.  I can’t keep it in mine, it keeps disappearing.  And I almost forgot cottage cheese. That’s another good one. Ever tried cottage cheese with crushed pineapple mixed in it?  Yum! Breakfast is served.

This love affair with cheese may have started in high school. I participated in something called the Milk Marketing Contest through FFA. I read over the material for the contest and learned all about how every dairy product was produced. As I studied I’d get the strongest urge to drink milk, eat ice cream, and consume cheese. The power of suggestion was very powerful.

Here’s one of my favorite cheeses: sharp cheddar. Oh my gosh, some good old crumbly cheddar served at room temperature is hard to beat. True, it is an acquired taste and I’ve definitely picked it up somewhere along the way. Cheddar can be considered sharp when it’s a year or two old. Sharp cheese gets an edge to it, it gets tangy and earthy and it sort of bites you back when you bite it. When it gets old enough, it gets little granule-like crystals in it that add to its charm and gives it a little crunch. I know a place where I can buy cheese that was made back in the sixties, my sixties that is—cheese that was made early this century, back during the W Bush Administration. I’m talking about 10-year-old gold. I’m sitting here salivating as I write this. Yeah, it costs about $10 a pound but it’s worth every penny.

Every month is Dairy Month in Wisconsin.  Support some cows.  Eat some cheese and enjoy life.