The great thing about working behind a retail counter is that you never know who you’re going to meet.
Twelve years ago, while working for Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, I struck up a friendship with Sean Thackrey, a well-regarded local figure, best known for his extraordinary winemaking abilities involving unusual grape varieties. In addition to creating a successful winemaking business, Sean has also amassed a world-class collection of antiquarian books and texts on wine production, the subject of which made for some lengthy and lively discussions between us.
These works, some of which pre-date medieval times, are extraordinary and, on a couple of occasions, he allowed me to spend a leisurely afternoon, gently looking though some of these volumes, wrestling with Latin and early French (wishing I’d paid more attention to both at school) and generally be awe-struck by the weight – both physical and informational - that these books represented.
My own contribution to the growing, ah, corpus of Halloween tales. Submit your own story and win a bag of cheesy treats! Possible biological inaccuracy to follow:
At one time, I thought of them like you probably do. Dumb creatures. Afraid of the sunrise. Flockers, robbed by selective breeding of their essential stubborn goatness. Turned into pale blobs of wool and meat.
Open thread: post your most frightening, eerie cheese-related story, real or invented, and the best story will win a sack of tricks and cheese treats. 500 words or less.
So, my favorite holiday hits this weekend, and I was curious: is anyone going to risk a full-house egging and TP drape and just give away actual Babybels at the door? Delightful as these salty little snacks are, they are clearly only one short rung above toothbrushes in the Halloween hierarchy, when only sweet will do.
Late one night a few months ago, at my place of (waitressing) employment, a British couple plunked themselves down at our little bar. The bartender that night (Josh, let’s call him) chatted them up for a little while, before, serendipitously, the conversation turned to cheese.
Sidenote: I find it incredible how often this happens without even a nudge from someone like me!
Anyways , this lovely (they were!) couple from across “the pond” said:
“Well you don’t have any cheese to speak of here, now do you?”
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Austin and I currently hold the title of Culture’s Production Intern. What really is involved in my role with the magazine? A great glimpse of just about every area of the magazine from the photo shoots, to sourcing ingredients or props, web content, and helping to ‘dispose’ of absurd amounts of cheese.
My hand-drawn instructions are a sublime piece of art. Metro lines, directions, changes, rue by rue and the same in reverse. All this so I can achieve cheese Nirvana in Paris without having to speak to a single French person. Well, ok, I may have to say something at the fromagerie, the Laurent Dubois Fromagerie on Rue Sant-Germain, but here's to hoping.
Two weeks after being in Paris my French language skills remain that of a zygote. Sure, I could ask for some cheese, "avez vous de fromage?" But that would sound awfully stupid in a fromagerie. Ok, so I could say "avez vous de brie?" to be brief and specific. But what unholy concoction of words could comprise the reply to this simple question? "A Brie de Meaux madame? Would you prefer the double cream or the triple? How would you care to try some of this special little artisan goat's cheese made on my grandmother's farm in Normandy?"