The Blessings of Cheese

Winter 2022 – Another COVID variant, more fears, more worries… and yet. Perhaps what we have all learned is our enormous ability to adapt and succeed. Some of this is technological — we now have Teams and Zoom… some of it is medical — how quickly we developed vaccines and medicines… some of it is societal — how lucky we are to live in an age when government and society could provide extensive relief funds to help people get through the challenges we have faced. In the end, though, the triumph is personal…that, as individuals, we all found ways to not merely endure, but to prevail.

Specialty cheese has a role to play in this crazy journey. On the one hand, scarcity of some cheeses can come about due to difficulties in international trade and shipping. On the other hand, just the right cheese, from just the right place, can be a kind of peaceful, sustaining offering…such as a bite in a bedroom while working at a computer, a momentary respite from the stresses and strains of pandemic isolation and distant work.

Yet now, with vaccines widespread, specialty cheese plays another role…the opening of doors, the welcoming of friends, the revival of a life put on hold. What better way to travel the world with friends, when you are not quite ready to hop on the plane? Each cheese carries weight, tells a story of a place and people and a time that was ripe for the cheese’s creation…and the modern interpreters who found a market for it and shipped it just for you.

Even within a family, with the gathering of children, being with a spouse, engaging with aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents, cheese is both unifying and differentiating, as it opens the door for tastings that match the many different preferences of those we love.

What stories each of us can tell. Visiting grandma and watching the cheese she served… going on trips and what cheeses we find… watching our children grow and seeing what cheeses they discover along the way.

The world has thrown a lot at us all. It will throw more tribulations before we are done. There will always be trials in life, and it is easy to despair. But, it is also true that whatever life throws at you, a moment with a truly great cheese is a momentary retreat from the troubles life brings. And that is a pretty grand contribution by one simple food.       CC