Miffed that a deli charged you extra to add a slice of Swiss to your ham-and-cheese? Angry that your mother called your new outfit “cheesy”? Ask Mrs. Cheese, they don’t call her a cheese-monger for nothing.
Dear Mrs. Cheese–
My boyfriend is very worldly, having traveled to Canada, the Caribbean, and Chicago, while I have had to stick “close to home” to mind my father’s tire and battery store whenever he is off at trade shows. “Hal”–that is my boyfriend, not my father–has a very sophisticated “palate,” by which I mean sense of taste, not those wooden skids they use in warehouses or those things artists stick their thumbs in.
Anyway, I was invited to “Hal’s” house to meet his parents–he lives at home to save money even though he is a member of the “Platinum Circle” at the insurance firm where he works, having sold over a million dollars worth of property and casualty coverage in fiscal year 2022.
Hal’s mother prepared a cheese board before dinner and to show my appreciation for her hospitality, I dove right in and cut off a slice of the “edam” in its festive red coating, put it on a Triscuit and started to take a bite. Hal’s mother yelled “Stop, don’t eat the wax covering!” and his father grabbed the “hors d’oeuvre” out of my hand. An awkward silence followed because I didn’t know what to say: “Sorry”? “Thank you”? “Close one”? “My bad!”
The evening ended pleasantly enough given my “faux pas,” but I think I may have ruined my last chance at marital bliss as Hal is pretty much the only eligible bachelor left in my age group here since Donnie Bruker, the son of our local Chevy-GMC dealer, was “taken off the board” by Mary Lou Pfenniger.
Is there some sort of “pocket guide” to when you eat the skin off the cheese and when you don’t? If I ever get another chance with Hal and his parents I want to get it right.
Crystal Brucheimer, Ottumwa, Iowa
Sadly, this is one of those situations governed by “unwritten rules” in much the same way that the programs for orchestras don’t tell you not to clap between movements of a symphony. Why the “authorities” in these areas never write down these unwritten rules is beyond me, seems like it would help everybody.
Anyway, your letter caused a light bulb to go on over my head and create a handy dishwasher-safe guide that gives the do’s and don’t of when you eat the “rind” of the cheese. As a general rule, if the skin subtracts from the overall enjoyment of the cheese, stop immediately, but if it enhances the flavor, go for it! You can order one of my “cheat sheets” with a major credit card for only $14.95 when you “check out” of my website.
This “rule of thumb” does not apply to cream cheese, which should always be removed from its cardboard box and foil wrapper before consuming.
Dear Mrs. Cheese–
My fiancee Janine says that Velveeta is a disgusting food that barely qualifies as cheese, while it is my understanding that it is native to the Velveetian region of Switzerland. I should add that Janine went to a hoity-toity private girls college, and when she’s had a few drinks at a social occasion will disparage the “cow college” that I attended, North Central Alabama University. I am just waiting for the chance to throw her “education” back in her face next time she tries this with some on-line authority to back me up. “If anybody should know something about cheese,” I’m going to say, “it should be somebody from a ‘cow college’ since cheese is coagulated milk.”
We don’t have money down on this because Janine is a Baptist and so doesn’t gamble, but I’m thinking I might trick her into a friendly wager involving my favorite sexual position, the “Mongolian Cartwheel.” And yes I know the old joke about Baptists not engaging in pre-marital sex because it might lead to dancing, but four years at an all-women’s school turned Janine into a nympho.
Thanks for your time,
Dwight (“Ike”) Flournoy
I’m sorry to disappoint you but Velveeta processed cheese was invented in 1918 by Emil Frey in Monroe, New York, not in Switzerland. It was nonetheless considered a “cheese” until 2002, when the buttinskies at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent in their jackbooted henchmen and forced Kraft Foods to re-classify it as a “pasteurized prepared cheese product”–whatever that means. Velveeta is nonetheless the source of fond memories for many–including me–as it was our first introduction to the Wonderful World of Cheese. Tell Janine to “come down off her high horse” and support the hard-working men and women of the American cheese industry.
Dear Mrs. Cheese:
My son “Greg” and his girlfriend “Mindy” just got engaged, and their friends threw a party for them featuring “fondue,” which I understand is a trendy food that young people are wild about. That is fine with me–if it keeps them off meth and the other crazy drugs that are ruining our nation, I am all for this fad.
My problem is this: I gave “Greg” my grandmother’s engagement ring to give to “Mindy” since at present he is just a sales associate at an office supply chain store and can’t afford anything nice. When they got back from their party Mindy tells me she is sorry but she dropped the ring into the fondue pot and because the melted cheese is very hot, did not feel it was safe to stick her hand in and grab it.
Mrs. Cheese–I am literally beside myself because we are talking about my maternal grandmother Francine Kukas, not my father’s mother Ethel Weininger, who was a mean-spirited battle-axe.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Battle Creek, Michigan
I know this is not the news you want to hear, but your son and daughter-in-law-to-be will probably die of metal poisoning because fondue is typically heated to temperatures not found in our solar system until you reach the planet Venus. While it can never replace the sentimental value of your grandmother’s ring, you should be able to finagle a payout from your homeowner’s insurance policy. When you file your claim, be sure and include that exercise bike in the basement you never use and the snow-blower you have listed on eBay. No sense in letting a minor personal tragedy go to waste!