8/21/09

Wise Women Friday: M.F.K Fisher on Cheese

Cheese on a market in Basel, SwitzerlandImage via Wikipedia

Words of wisdom from the American food writer M.F.K. Fischer (1908-1992):

Wine and cheese are ageless companions,
like aspirin and aches, or June and moon,
or good people and noble ventures.

Sometimes you look at a couple and you think: What are they thinking? This will never last, and then, low and behold, twenty years go by and they're sending you postcards from their second honeymoon in Maui. It just goes to shows. You never can tell.

Wine and cheese, for example. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: you are crazy, Margaret. No one less than M.F.K Fisher called wine and cheese "ageless companions." Entire parties are devoted to wine and cheese. Restaurants have wine and cheese hours. Magazines have wine and cheese columns. But I'm going to take the contrarian position here. Wine is good. Wine is fine. Wine is a lot of fun. But cheese...well, that's next to butter.

Personally, I go for your soft, gooey cheeses. Your bries, your Humboldt Fogs. My feeling is that if you are going to eat cheese you should go try to pack as much fat and cholesterol in it as possible and really make it a decadent experience.

That being said, I'm also a fan of goat cheese, which my sources tell me is a healthier, lower-fat cheese experience. Goat cheese is like a demilitarized zone in my house. Some people feel strongly for it, some people feel strongly against it. Peace is kept by keeping your opinion to yourself. But, really, how can you not love something so perfectly white and creamy? Smear it on fresh bread, sprinkle it on a salad, pair it with a pear; it's like eating a cloud. Plus, it's almost healthy so you can feel smug! And that's always a plus.


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18 comments:

altadenahiker said...

I love MFK Fisher and must tell Tash, 'cause she's a huge fan too.

Stinky cheese! Bring on the stinky cheese! My father used to order something from Germany that was so foul, my mother did not allow him to open the crock in the house. On winter nights, he and I would have rye crisp and stinky cheese in the garage. (I think it's responsible for my amazing immune system)

Desiree said...

Hmmm--I think there's a subtext here I'm missing--are you saying wine and cheese are an unlikely pairing? Like Breton cookies dipped in your glass of rose? Or are you saying cheese is so wonderful it should have its own dramedy, and who cares about the search for the perfect partner?
Ah, cheese--

Lynne said...

So wine and cheese are one of those couples where you think, yah, he's fine, but I think she could have done better.

Margaret said...

AH: I used to dislike stinky cheese, but now I cannot resist it's siren smell.

Dez: Aha! I see that I must explain, but that I see that Lynne has done it for me.

Vanda said...

You know, cheese and apples are not bad together either.

pasadenaadjacent said...

You can always re-gift wine but cheese waits for no one despite that aged business. I put it up their with butter and whisky (i like corn)

Actually a German artist back in the 80's (German artists were big in the 80's) had a show on La Brea where he covered the entire gallery in cheese. Mr V attended and said it was the most disgusting experience of his life. It was supposed to be up for a month or whenever the health authorities showed up. They showed up and shut the venture down. Some wall art is performance art.

true story

... daisy... said...

Good God Margaret... it's 11 pm and after this I got so hungry... I stuck my head in the fridge and had a cheese festival! Obviously I had a glass of wine too... and I am pouring myself a second one... well... what else? A world without cheese is an Emmenthal without holes... :-)
Good night!

Margaret said...

Vanda: Yes, especially when the apples are nice and tart. Yum.

PA: I am blown away. I love that line: some wall art is performance art.

Daisy: And you're in a part of the world with fantastic cheese, si?

Italo said...

Wine and cheese, Margaret, perfect binomial. A cup of wine, tasting a piece of cheese, Chianti and fontina, or Gorgonzola and Chardonnay Gnam gnam!

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

I feel the same way you do about goat cheese. It's like cat nip to me.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

So, if not wine, what is your beverage of choice to accompany cheese?

Shell Sherree said...

Together - apart - I'll take them any way they come. And I enjoy stinky and non-stinky, though the higher the pong factor, the greater the number of companion wafers I'll need.

... daisy... said...

eh si! ;-)))
I'm leaving tomorrow and I'm going to taste a bit of food in Romagna... gnam gnam... and enjoy the seaside of Rimini! :-)

gaelikaa said...

The French always go for a cheese course before dessert and that's one of the plusses of French food. I love it when you get to have cheese AND dessert too. And of course, for the French, wine with dinner is mandatory. Another plus. Cheese is multi-faceted. I love that white, spreadable cheese, what-did-we-call-it philadelphia cheese?

But I haven't had it in years. Neither the wine nor the cheese. Indian cheese is another thing entirely, and culturally, wine doesn't figure. Sigh! But I can remember.....

Cafe Pasadena said...

M.F., de Hiker wants to know where she can get some good French macaroons in our area. I gotta get outta here now. So, I trust I can leave de Answer in your hands.

btw, I wunder how they taste paired with cheeze.

Petrea said...

I thought I saw macaroons at Euro Pane. ???

I did not know how good wine could be until I had it in Paris.

Cheese--well, that's personal. I can't really talk about it.

Laurie said...

My finicky daughter who refuses to eat practically everything will eat shredded parmasan cheese right out of the container. I think cheese is magical!

Jean Spitzer said...

Must not forget sheep cheeses. Also wonderful, though lacking the comparative "virtue" of goat.