I heard the woman ask for New York State Cheddar.
Immediately, I was thrilled; in fact, I could barely contain my glee. This was the first moment of the first day on a new job. And it wasn’t just any new job. It was the summer of 1984, two years after I’d graduated college, intent on becoming a writer. My first post-collegiate job turned into a marathon nightmare of 100 hour workweeks that left no time whatsoever for writing (and little for sleeping or leisure). This was my first day on the sales floor at my new job as a cheesemonger in Bloomingdales Fresh Food area, a part time job that I figured would pay my share of the rent (which was barely $350 in a NoLita duplex; doesn’t 1984 seem like a long time ago?) and enable me to develop a journalism career.
We’ve got heaps of snow lying around, how long will we have snow on the ground? We scraped the snow up so we can reach the animals and get to the cheese, making huge piles like disorderly snowmen. I’m old enough to remember 1963, when I was very sad and the grown-ups were inexplicably happy when the snow finally went away in March. My son made a convincing looking igloo by packing snow into a box to make blocks and built them into something big enough for 3 lads to sit in, grinning wider than the doorway.
We can see the tracks of wildlife – deer, boar, rabbits, hares, badgers and foxes. We can see how bold they are, coming right up to the house, deer going between the house and barns. It’s hard for them, and hunger drives them closer. When the snow goes, everything has that battered look, all the food the wildlife rely on deep frozen and thawed.
We do an internal culture Friday news email because we’re scattered to the 4 winds. We tell what’s on our minds. This week I included a NYTimes article about OpenTable
Some of you may have heard about the Museum of Modern Art's recent show on modern kitchen design. It's a lovely show, with several interesting and important objects like architect Margarete Schuette-Lihotzky's Frankfurt Kitchen.
I ran across it by accident this weekend, and of course, I had to stop in and check on the cheese. Naively, I thought there'd be a lot of it on display.
In my travels up and down stairs and around tables at the restaurant, I get lots of questions about our cheese list. I’m often surprised by the cheeses people steer towards, and by which cheeses never get ordered. I can’t seem to unearth predictable patterns, and perhaps that’s due to the wide range of knowledge levels out there. The one standby rule, which is my favorite, is that EVERYONE likes ALL of our cheeses once they take a bite. Never have I had to make the terrifying, rejected-food-walk back to the kitchen with a cheese plate.