Like most people I look forward to Saturday, but for me it isn't the start of the weekend. Instead, it's my day at the Cheese Shop. After spending my weekdays working either as a freelance writer or running The Joy of Cheese, my series of informal cheese seminars, I spend Saturday afternoon and evenings at The Bedford Cheese Shop, and though exhausting, it's always enjoyable.
First of all, I've done this sort of work in the food business since I was 24 and since the next birthday is number 51, it's reassuring that I can still do something physically rigorous as well as I did when I was 28. It's a fact reinforced by my collegial relationship with my coworkers who are mostly in their late 20s and early 30s. But the real highlight is the cheese, it's what makes this kind of job, so much more than customer service.
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.