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Cheese is the New Wine

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I love food. I love talking about food. I can spend hours discussing the merits of different mustards, or trying to figure out the mystery flavor in a pasta sauce. But I think food should be accessible. It should not be intimidating. I avoid saying things like ”flavor profile”. I am more likely to say things like, “This gravy is so good I want to fill a jacuzzi with it and jump in naked.”

My dislike of culinary pedantry can probably be traced back to the family dinner table. My brothers are all wine snobs, oh, sorry, I mean connoisseurs. It always annoys me when they get out their wine gadgets and start arguing. They throw around terms like peppery finish, a nice mouth feel, and notes of raspberry. It sounds so pretentious.

I was excited when cheese shops started opening up all over town; it could only mean new flavors, and new things to talk about. Up until now, making a cheese plate had always been pretty standard – one soft, one medium, one hard and one bleu. Easy peasy. Brie, Jarlsberg, a good Pecorino. But since I am not a big fan of bleu cheese, I usually substitute something like a smoked gouda. Throw a bunch of grapes on the plate, and voila.

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With the recent profusion of cheese shops, things have gotten a little more complicated. No problem. The cheese shops in Silverlake have always approached it, like, “Isn’t this fun? Let’s explore the fabulous world of cheese together!” They have the natural enthusiasm of a true hobbyist showing off their collection. So I have learned more about sheep’s milk vs. goat’s milk, and the richness of triple crèmes. I have fallen in love with their precious little artesanals. Who can resist a cute round of goat cheese wrapped in grape leaves and tied up with string?

But things are starting to get out of control.