Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Grocery Store vs. The Cheese Store

When I was little, when we were being "fancy," we would get Munster from the grocery store, instead of Cheddar. There was something about the white, white "paste," so gummy that you had to have a really sharp knife to slice rectangles for grilled cheese. That red dye with the basket marks in it was so exotic! But my favorite part was how well it melted into a relatively flavorless, but stringy, melty grilled cheese.

However, much like many other cheeses from Chevre to Cheddar, Brie to Gouda, factory produced cheese for the grocery store, wrapped in plastic and pasteurized for "safety" bear very little resemblance to the cheese first created by farmers to keep their extra milk edible through the winter, and now produced by artists and sold in cheese stores (and Whole Foods cheese counters) around the world. To quote Murray's Cheese Shop, real Munster is round! Yes, not a square brick. AND, "At full strength the aroma of porcini mushrooms wafts from the gooey interior while the flavor evokes truffled pate and caramelized onion!"

To my mom's credit, we never got "pasteurized processed cheese food." But really, after reading the description of a real Munster (something that I might just need to pick up this weekend to taste to believe), I'm just not sure that we weren't just kidding ourselves re: how "fancy" we were. Granted, I doubt that I really would have been into mushroom scented cheese as an 8 year old, but I was the kid with the Deviled Ham sandwiches with onions. I might just have been showing early promise!

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