This post was inspired by The Whole Fromage by Kathe Lison, who traveled to France in search of its artisanal cheeses. Join From Left to Write on August 22 as we discuss The Whole Fromage. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review. The From Left to Write posts are meant to be musings on the book rather than reviews.
When I was a kid, I wouldn’t touch cheese. The smell, the texture, nothing about cheese appealed to my finicky tastes. As I grew into a teenager and discovered the glories of sharing pizza with friends, I amended my cheese policy to allow for cheese that was melted.
In my memorable, but brief, foray into the world of Atkins dieting as a senior in high school, I melted the required cheese meal on aluminum foil in the oven and ate it with a fork right off the foil. This was in the days before microwaves. That diet attempt ended disastrously, three days later, with a near-faint during volleyball practice and was my last no-carb experiment.
In college, I finally learned to like a little cheese — mostly at the wine and cheese receptions that made us all feel so adult and daring. Probably the illicit wine consumed by this underage undergraduate contributed greatly to my open mind about cheese. Also, free food, even if it’s cheese, was always appreciated. I discovered that Havarti cubes weren’t half bad and combined with a few crackers and some grapes it could substitute as a cost-free meal.
My next leap in cheese appreciation came when I married a cheese lover. His favorite snack was extra sharp cheddar. At first, it was just too much for me, but I tried it melted on things, just as I did in high school, and I gradually got used to it.
After an amazing experience during Bastille Day a couple of years ago, Bastille Day, Weekend Cooking Part 1, orchestrated by our nephew, the wine distributor, and his fromager friend at Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread, and Wine in Chicago, we joined the Cheese of the Month Club at Pastoral. Since then, we’ve tasted and enjoyed many cheeses. I still don’t like blue ones — I seem to be unusually sensitive to moldy flavors. I wonder if it has anything to do with my mold allergy. Before this experience, I was sure that I didn’t like stinky cheeses, but it turns out I like them fine as long as the stink isn’t mold.
The culmination of my cheese adventures and the reason I wanted to read The Whole Fromage was our trip to France this spring. It’s too bad I hadn’t read this book before we went since I would have been a much more knowledgeable consumer of cheese. As it was, I found myself continually amazed at how good and affordable the cheese was even at receptions and from quick shops. In Paris, we wore ourselves out during the day and often had bread, wine, and cheese along with some fruit or a salad from the Monoprix as our supper in the hotel room. It’s a habit that we’re continuing at home. As soon as our cheese of the month arrives, I plan a simple supper around it.
The next time we go to France (there will surely be a next time), I will be prepared to make more sophisticated and deliberate choices about cheese. What a long way to come from my cheese-hating childhood.
This is my first book post for the Back to School Reading Challenge. Have you learned anything from books recently? Join our challenge!
I will link this post, on Saturday, to Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads.
For the From Left to Write book club folks, Weekend Cooking is a weekly meme at Beth Fish Reads. Any given week, the participating bloggers feature recipes, cookbook reviews, restaurant reports, food scenes from books, and other creative culinary adventures.
For Weekend Cooking folks, the From Left to Write book club offers review copies of books once or twice a month. Rather than reviews, the book club members write posts inspired by the book. It seems like two or three times a year the books are food-related. Here are details about how to join us: Join the Book Club
I will also link this post to the Monday event, Dreaming of France, at An Accidental Blog.
The Whole Fromage by Kathe Lison is my 11th book for the Books on France challenge.
If you’re interested in my posts about my trip to France, with lots of photos, I compiled them here: Last Day in France.
Affiliate link to support the From Left to Write Book Club: The Whole Fromage at Amazon.