Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ode On A Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds

"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese" - G.K. Chesterton.

Americans' fondness for cheese has increased continuously for decades. By 2001, per-capita consumption of cheese stood at 30 lbs, more than double the 1975 figure, and 8 times more than the 1909 per-capita amount, according to this article. I'm not keeping track, but 30 pounds? Irish potatoes maybe. Jaysus, don't get me started on the potatoes.

Lately I've enjoyed soft cheeses such as the trademarked Boursin and chevre, with baguette and shaved prosciutto, and a jigger or two of pomegranate juice (can't find a source for Johannesbeerensaft). There are a couple of establishments in my community that stock dozens of varieties of great foreign and domestic cheeses, and I patronize them when I get the urge for something unusual or (cough) expensive. They do great business during the holiday season, when dinner and party hosts are keen to impress their guests.

Now, I don't believe in trying to impress with cheese or any other food, however I admit to sniggering when a fellow graduate student invited guests - including members of the local professoriate - and served up an artfully stacked mountain of aerosol cheese whiz and white bread petits-fours.

Poets really haven't been entirely silent on the subject of cheese. Why, Canadian poet James McIntyre (1827-1906) penned a number of cheesy poems, including Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds,
Prophecy of a Ten Ton Cheese, Fertile Lands and Mammoth Cheese, and Oxford Cheese Ode.

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