(The Lady originally wrote this for the American Cheese Society Blog. You can read other ACS Member blog postings at: http://americancheesesociety.blogspot.com/ )
I work as a Cheese Steward and one of the best parts of the job is working with customers; especially the youngs ones who are our next generation of “foodies”. I have met several who have left fond memories behind for me.
Mason and his parents were regulars in the first cheese kiosk where I worked and Mason was the cheese hound in the family. His parents let him sample and make the cheese choices every week. It was quite interesting to watch his reactions to the various cheeses he sampled. This kid had fearless tastebuds. One of his favorites was Rembrandt Aged Gouda and he proudly told me that he had asked Santa for a light saber and a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano. On another occasion, his mom stopped by to buy Pecorino Romano becasue it was featured in a recipe on the Food Channel and Mason decided that was what he wanted for dinner. But my favorite memory of Mason happened when he decided he wanted to check out the Bries. We started with Fromager d’Affinois, then moved on the Brie de Nangis. Next we tried St. Albray and ended with Le Chatelaine. After a thoughtful moment, Mason chose the St. Albray. As he sat in the child seat of the food basket, I decided to ask the burning question, “Mason, how old are you?” He proudly replied, “Two and a half.” I looked at his father who shrugged and said, “He also likes caviar.” Definitely a budding foodie.
Another young patron is Chadd, whose favorite cheeses are the blues; the stronger, the better. When he stops at the kiosk, I always ask him to try a new cheese and give me his opinions. For a sixteen year old, his palate is quite sophisticated. He knows what he likes and why; but he can also articulate quite well why he doesn’t like a certain cheese. A recent email from him inquired if I knew where he might buy fresh goat milk. He had decided to make his own fresh chevre.
Last week I was assisting a mother in putting together a cheese platter for her twelve year old’s slumber party. The daughter had requested cheese for snacking rather than junk food… my kind of kid. We began with Fromager d’Affinois, added Smoked Applewood Cheddar and a wedge of Beemster Vlaskaas. For the blue, we went with Oregonzola. As we were wrapping up our transaction, the mother stopped, looked at me sternly and said, “By the way, I don’t like you.” I was stunned… I thought things were going so well… then she laughed and added, “A few weeks back, you gave my daughter a sample of Humboldt Fog and ever since, it’s been ‘No more Velveeta in this house, Mom'”. We added a wedge of Humboldt to the selections.