Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I (Heart) Cheese

I really, really, really love cheese.  One short story illustrates my passion for cheese:

I went to a small, all-girls Catholic high school.  We did not have a proper cafeteria, but we had “the café” which sold salads, sandwiches and pastries.  One day, I was having a terrible craving for cheese.  It was a matter of life and death, so I went to the café and bought the only piece of cheese available to my entire high school: a piece of “cheese” on top of a stale bagel.  I bought the bagel, ripped off the cheese, and devoured it like a woman possessed.

I try to limit my cheese intake, but there is not much in life better than a hunk of cheddar cheese and some sourdough bread. It makes me think – I would have been a damn good peasant, circa 1340.  I would have toiled in the fields all morning, and then for lunch, I would have had a hearty hunk of cheese, bread, some butter and a big mug of ale. 

Of course, this is a romantic delusion.  I took several medieval history classes in college, and I know what the Middle Ages were like: terrible .  If I had lived during the 1300s, I would have been a dirty, miserable, cold, hungry peasant – assuming I had even survived childhood.  Medieval Courtney would probably have been raped by a duke and then died of the bubonic plague (because there’s no chance I would have survived the Black Death).  

But here’s a question for you: did medieval peasants even have access to cheese?  It feels like they should have been eating cheese.  The characters in the Canterbury Tales must have stopped at an inn and had cheese and mutton for dinner.  Robin Hood and his Merry Men must have gathered around a fire in Sherwood Forest while eating cheddar cheese and dancing with the ladies.  And surely Sir Lancelot nibbled on a block of cheese while pining for that bitch Guinevere.

Here are some takeaway thoughts for the day: (1) I really love cheese and if you need to impress me with a present, just give me cheese; (2) I would have been a lousy medieval peasant; and (3) hopefully Medieval Courtney had access to unlimited cheese.

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