You know, I've never been able to understand why the production of fine cheese has never reached American shores.
Charles de Gaulle, President of France during the 1960's, once humorously noted "How can you govern a country that has 250 kinds of cheese?" And the British Cheese Board makes the claim there are over 700 kinds of cheese within the British Isles.
But in the United States we produce only three cheeses to speak of - Cheddar, Swiss and Monterrey Jack. How did that happen? Perhaps it has something to do with the rugged pioneer spirit, or maybe we're so rich and lazy that it's easier to import all the better, wicked cheeses from Europe.
And import we do. You'll see hundreds of varieties in any upscale market, from all over the world. The cost of importing, however, jacks the price so high that only the rich can afford them. A small wedge of French Brie or a nice Wensleydale from Britain will cost you fifteen bucks. The whole wheel could cost a couple hundred bucks or more. In all the finest homes you'll see these imported offerings laid out on a sterling silver platter along with grapes, nuts and expensive deli crackers.
But wait. This is a total turnaround in the great scheme of things. In the Middle Ages cheese was only for poor people, and not considered appropriate for a nobleman's table. In fact, the worst insult you could be called during those days was a "Cheese Eater" meaning you couldn't afford meats or game, and the only source of protein for you and your family was from cheese - old rotten fermenting milk, no longer suitable for drinking.
So in modern times we have a total reversal in the diets of the rich and poor. The rich are eating expensive cheeses now, and the poor or eating cheap meats and chicken at fast food places all over the place. Just one of those strange things in the history of mankind, with little rhyme or reason.
Thanks for stopping by tonight,