The Initial Premise: Several folks in our inner circle decided it would be a swell idea to gather round one evening and tidy up our various blogs, en masse, sharing tips and ideas and thematic evaluations. To make the experience seem more artsy than we all knew it could ever possibly be, we decided that each of us would bring a cheese selection for sampling. To give the situation even more Bohemian finesse, we thought we might indulge in a few adult beverages as well.
The Reality: We indulged in a few adult beverages as well. The “artsy” part went out the window before the first ring of the doorbell. However, faithful scribe that I am, I still felt compelled to document this historic moment in literary development. I’ll break this down by individual rounds of cheese presentation. In order to protect the guilty, all names have been changed to something less GPS-conducive. (Although some of you may recognize the appellations from my prior “Live Blogs” at Tierney’s.) Here we go…
1. Mediterranean Herb Gouda
This was the initial proffering. To be fair, we were all still getting into our comfort zones, a process that is necessary when you meet at someone else’s house. No matter how good of friends you might think you are, there’s still an interim period where everyone stands around uncomfortably and makes desperate small talk about fridge magnets and wicker baskets.
So, this cheese selection didn’t really have a chance. It was satisfyingly tasty, a lovely amalgam of non-threatening spices, but everyone was more concerned with inspecting the rest of the food spread and making preliminary assessments of the arriving guests and thusly determining the potential level of alcoholic freedom. This gouda was tossed aside rather quickly and left to sweat, alone and bereft.
2. Rosemary and Olive Oil Asiago
There was a bit more excitement over this one, mainly because the wine was flowing and we were already heading toward the point where we would be undying best friends, at least for the next few hours. People were actually crowding around the cutting board and anxiously awaiting a sliver of goodness which they could then throw in their mouths, chew a bit, and then exclaim something notable about the dairy.
Me: “Hey, this is pretty good, the combo of olive oil and rosemary reminds me of-”
I was unceremoniously shoved to the side. Something extraordinary had just developed with another wedge of cheese that an unnamed, over-anxious individual had rudely opened at the same time, ripping the spotlight from poor little Rosemary and Olive. They never had a chance.
3. Murray’s Black River Blue
This one was the immediate front-runner, like those unknown people who sometimes win the Iowa caucus, becoming instantly famous until the rest of the voting starts. “Oh my GOD, I swear I just had an orgasm that redefines all orgasms,” hollered one participant, Miss Apiphany, with her chic-trashy t-shirt and interesting application of hair gel. Another worshipper, Lolo, tasted a tiny nibble, glanced at us furtively, then hacked off a large whack and raced to another room, locking the door behind her. It’s not really our business what happened after that.
4. Smoked Mozzarella
Admittedly, some cheese fascists look down upon something that is simply smoked, rather than bathed in or infused with the latest trendy but random ingredient. This one was just fine, as smoked mozzarella goes, but perhaps the fascists had a point with this selection. It totally needed something. Like an Italian dish that it could be grated and sprinkled over.
Luckily, we had some entertainment to get us through this slow bit. Wild Jenno and Freeland had a slight altercation concerning… I don’t know what it was, something about unsatisfactory recognition of each other’s abilities and talents. It got briefly intense, with the unwilling audience eyeing all exit opportunities. But they made up very shortly, because they’re still young and don’t understand the strategic importance of holding personal grudges for decades at a time.
Risky cheese, risky reactions. And the demographics played out just as they should, with some folks offering up psalms of praise and other folks complaining about aromas one might encounter near outdoor trash receptacles on hot summer days. Whatever the vote, it was at this point that things began to slide slightly off-kilter, with a non-biased review of the cheese becoming a faded focal point.
Freeland and Wild Jenno, toasting their renewed relationship with sloshing wineglasses, suddenly decided that the world would end unless they began experimenting immediately with the “Hangout” function on Google +. This function is basically a live cam with chat, a concept that does not appeal to me in any way, as I’m not interested in people seeing me sitting there in my jammies and bed-head while I think of new ways to avoid social interaction.
The once-again love duo kicked this program off, and it turned out that two people can’t satisfactorily “Hang” if their laptops are within kissing distance. The resulting feedback created something akin to over-heated cats screaming at one another about the shocking disappearance of a catnip-laced puffball. Eventually (and with our complete blessing), Wild Jenno had to go sit in the backyard for the distortion to stop strumming our pain with its fingers. We actually forgot about her for hours, but she had access to a pet water bowl by the back door, so I’m sure she was fine.
6. Murray’s Ancho Cacciotta
We had no idea how to actually say that last word, never mind what it might mean. The only respectable way to deal with things that you don’t understand is to drink more and hope for an epiphany, right? So we did.
7. Havarti with Caraway
I only mention this one as a time-stamp. I don’t think anyone actually sampled the slices, as this was the exact moment when the two non-blogging people in the house reached a point in the movie they were watching where a barrage of gunfire and explosions made all conversation in the house a pointless effort. Whatever they were trying to kill in that movie, it took a very long time. (He must have been a really bad guy, like a hedge fund manager.) We briefly considered doing something violent to those two for their rude indiscretion, but it would have required planning and physical activity, and that was just too much investment for us to seriously contemplate.
On the flip side, I’m sure it’s difficult for nearby movie-viewers to appreciate the story-telling when nearby supposedly-blogging people are screaming like something just got stuck where it shouldn’t instead of calmly composing prose and sipping chamomile tea.
8. Apple-Smoked Gouda
It’s admittedly a faux pas to introduce a second variation of gouda into a proper social environment, but it’s justly fair to conclude that no one gave a damn at this point. Screw the cheese. Most of us were glued to Freeland’s laptop, where he was showing us a commercial for a certain candy company that would never appear on the airwaves of this country. (Let’s just say that said candy was being used to… express satisfaction after conjugal relations.) Europeans have so much more fun than we do.
9. Cream Cheese on a Ritz Cracker
If this doesn’t say “somebody put a cork in that wine bottle”…
10. Cheez Whiz on Toast
Then this does.
Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 07/24/11. Revised and updated with extra flair for this post. No cows were knowingly harmed in the production of this episode.
Categories: 10 Reasons Why