Sunday, October 03, 2021

Early October: More Cheese Than Books

 What I read/am reading:

In printed books, there's not much change from last week here at the Bybeeary: I'm still under the spell of American Cheese by Joe Berkowitz, and laughing my way through Andy Greene's hilarious series survey The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s

Warhol by Blake Gopnik still sits reproachfully on the table, judging me for not picking it up for nearly two weeks now. I really don't want this to be a DNF, but I'm starting to feel the time constraints of library-booking.

What I'm listening to:

I'm happily engaged with a new audiobook: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Not at all what I was expecting from this author. Rowling's examination of the small English town of Pagford following the unexpected death of a beloved city councillor, gives me yummy flashbacks to Peyton Place by Grace Metalious. 

What I watched/am watching: 

I watched Season 1 of The Office. Seeing how they all got started was great. What really struck me was the sickly lighting and the even more sickly expressions of the characters, dealing with their boss, Michael Scott. In particular, Pam, played by Jenna Fisher, actually looks like she might throw up. Yes! That's what people look like at work! The Spawn has put Season 2 on reserve at the local library, and I'm especially looking forward to the episode "The Injury" in which Michael burns his foot on his George Foreman grill. He keeps it by his bed so he can wake to the smell of bacon frying. Meanwhile, Dwight, while rushing to Michael's rescue, has a minor car accident which results in a more significant injury, apparent to everyone but Dwight himself. "The Injury" was written by Mindy Kaling. I'm so ready!

Maid, based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Stephanie Land, dropped on Netflix on October 1, and I watched the first episode. It's well-acted and intense. I felt extreme anxiety, and have had to pause for a few days before going onto the next one.

Where I went, what I ate, and what I bought:

The week seemed to drag by, but then finally it was Saturday, and I was off to The Cheese Store in Sweet Springs. I really didn't know what to expect, but I had hoped for a large selection of cheese (Check!), numerous samples of interesting cheese (Check!), and friendly, knowledgeable staff who would discuss the cheeses with me and make helpful recommendations (Check!) I tried several samples, and the one that I regret not buying was a cheddar called Bourbon Maple that started out cheesy and creamy and ended with a delicious flood of maple flavor that intensified. It's been more than 24 hours, and I can't get it out of my mind. 

Meanwhile, here are the items I brought home:

Cheese and jalapeno summer sausage. It's made by a local company called Alwel's, which always blue-ribbons at the Missouri State Fair. Ooooh, so gooood. I almost bought their buffalo summer sausage, and I regret leaving this behind as well as the Bourbon Maple cheddar.

Goat cheese. I bought this without tasting a sample, propelled by memories of Heidi, and I must say that I am full of purchase-regret. Aside from the slightest tang reminiscent of Chobani's plain yogurt, it's pretty bland. I might as well have bought a block of Philly cream cheese. I've been busy scrolling, looking for pairings that will make it more interesting. Suggestions welcome! Today I put some on a baked potato with bits of the aforementioned summer sausage. Not bad, but lesson learned: I need my cheese to be marvelous on its own.

Steakhouse Onion. Another cheddar, shot through with bits of toasted onion and in some sort of delectable alchemy, a taste like rich beef broth. THE WINNER for the day. I ate it at the store, I ate it at home with some Townhouse crackers, and I slid a little into my baked potato/goat cheese/summer sausage lunch concoction. I would eat this anywhere, including at this computer, for I just went to the refrigerator and got another sliver, so as to properly convey its awesomeness. 

Butter Kase. A simple, mild cheesy buttery cheese, a favorite for many years, since I was a little child living in Germany. Sentimental taste buds. I have to admit that I squealed like a fangirl when I saw that it was available.

Bruschetta Jack. This solid, flavorful cheese has tomato, garlic, onion, parsley and basil in it, and it's good, but I would swap it out for that Bourbon Maple in a do-over. 

Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar. Another winner! I love its spicy sweetness and can't wait to try it on a taco. Cranberries, chilies and a subtle smokiness. It's also the most eye-appealing of the group. 

I'll finish this post with a cheese-y memory: 

When I was in high school, cheese fondue was a big deal at parties, and you could usually find my little introvert self hanging over the pot, looking down into that tasty melty Swiss/Gruyere elixir, my long fork with its cube of bread carefully dipping...yeah. Flash-forward a few years, and I began dating a guy who announced that he would be bringing fondue to a party. I couldn't wait. I watched as he unpacked the pot, the long forks, the spirit lamp thingy, and...what the hell!? Oil? Tiny strips of raw steak??? This wasn't fondue! But it was. Apparently I had never learned that there were *two* kinds of fondue. My disappointment knew no bounds. For years, I referred to it as "imposter fondue" or "fon-doo-doo". The guy enthusiastically lowered his meaty fork into the hot oil for the umpteenth time as he caught my eye. "Pretty good, huh?" he said. I nodded. Now bring out the real fondue, I didn't say.


raidergirl3 said...

I think The Injury is my favourite episode! It certainly was the one I raved about when the show first aired. (I originally found The Dinner Party too hard to watch, but have come around to recognize it as the classic it is)
You are so lucky to be watching for the first time. Have you found The Office Ladies podcast? Jenna and Angela go through episode by episode breaking it down. Maybe save for later.

Care said...

Make some stroganoff with the goat cheese. oh YEA

Bybee said...

Thanks for telling me about the Office Ladies podcast!

Stroganoff...hmmm...sounds good.