It’s amazing how little you realize the importance of cheese in your life until you are forced to live without it.

I’ve never actually been forced to live without cheese. That would be terrible!

We weren’t forced to live without it when my sister and I lived in Thailand for a year- we could have gone to the western restaurants and the overpriced super market to get it- but we were living in Thailand! It’s a culture rich in delicious tastes and flavors with so many different things we had never tried before. Very few of which happened to be dairy products but so many of which were incredible! It seemed silly to opt for pizza when you could try something completely new instead. Still, sometimes pizza won. Sometimes cheese just has to win.

There was an abundance of cheese when we visited New Zealand! My favorite was having someone call me in for morning tea of actual tea with crackers stacked with cheese and fresh tomatoes. That’s always a good day in my book! My friend there truly wanted to know why American cheddar cheese was always so bright orange. I’m still unable to answer that question, it’s certainly not it’s natural color but I haven’t found that it affects it’s delicious taste.

My family knew the importance of cheese and that’s probably where my love of it comes from. Our cheese drawer in the fridge was always full and there was variety. Bright orange cheddar shared space with mozzarella, feta and goats cheeses. My mom was real big on blue cheese and growing up I ordered it on a regular basis when at restaurants believing that I must also like it, until I realized I really didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I found I could really get into that mystery that is blue cheese.

Cheese has a special place in my heart and when I hear people (like my friend Morgan- god bless her) say things like “I just don’t care for cheese” I get confused about what they really mean. There are so many cheeses in the world! No I didn’t always like blue cheese but that didn’t mean I disregarded brie or camembert, I still enjoyed monterey and cream cheeses, there are just so many options to enjoy.

It’s true though that a lot of our opinions of food come from what we were exposed to or enjoyed growing up. If something wasn’t made a big deal of or you didn’t take a special liking to a food as a child there really is nothing to pull you back to it again and again. Nothing to inspire you to dream about it or long for it when deprived of it for too long.

Not that I dream about cheese. That would be weird. Maybe… I don’t know. Do you dream about cheese? Maybe we have something in common.

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