• Fri, May 13 2011

All The Wright Stuff: I Love Cheese

One of my best friends is lactose intolerant. Any dairy and she’s suffering for days. After hearing about a few of her post-cheese episodes, this condition is on my list of things that will evoke instant sympathy from me.

I cannot imagine a life without cheese. I love cheese. My refrigerator and my waistline will attest to my frequent enjoyment of all kinds of cheese. Gouda? Sure. Brie? You bet. Extra sharp 2 year old cheddar from organic fed cows owned by vegan peace activists who teach the cows yoga? Absolutely. If it says “cheese” on the label I will at least try it.

I know about all the reasons people use to discourage me from eating cheese. The cows are abused. There is puss and hormones in milk. Dairy is poison to a human body. Cheese is full of fat and cholesterol and calories. My brain knows all of these things. I even maintained a vegan diet for several years. But I just kept dreaming about cheese, and finally I figured I would rather be fat and full of cow puss if I could just enjoy some delicious creamy cheese.

Cheese just makes anything better, in my opinion. Vegetables are fine, I can certainly eat them plain. But add some cheese and suddenly you don’t just have a pile of green, you have an awesome side dish. Tomato soup alone is rather dull; but pair it with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have a wonderful lunch of warm comfort food. And I suppose you COULD eat a plate of plain crackers. But add some cheese and now you’ve got a simple snack that most people will be ok eating.

I love smelly cheese, deli cheese, mild cheese. I really like it all. If I can find a way to add cheese to something, I will. Pasta and pizza are just delivery systems for cheese, in my world. Wine without cheese might as well be a glass of grape juice. If I had my way they would figure out how to put cheese into Cap’n Crunch. And if they’d make Valentine’s Day cheese boxes instead of chocolate I might actually become a fan of the day.

I know not everyone loves cheese the way I do. Many people are vegan, either for health or ethical reasons. Some people just don’t like cheese for different reasons. I am not a cheese witness, so I don’t give them sermons about how their lives are empty without the delights of dairy. People who start preaching to me all the reasons I should give up cheese get tuned out fairly quickly – after all I do know how to use the google and my vegan friends have already attempted every argument to make me dial down the cheese habit. You probably won’t be telling me anything I haven’t heard before. I certainly respect your decision to live a cheese-less life, but I have learned for myself that a life without cheese just isn’t a life I want any part of.

I really admire my friend and her restraint. I honestly don’t know if I could refrain from cheese, lactose intolerance or not. At least I’m getting better at eating cheese in front of her without making sex faces. That’s about the only amount of control I have managed to develop around cheese.

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  • Jamie Peck

    I used to love cheese sooo much. It was definitely the hardest thing to give up when I went vegan. I haven’t had a cheese craving in years, but now that there’s some decent tasting fake cheese on the market, I crave that stuff like I used to crave the real stuff. Strange.

  • macalny

    AMEN, sister!!! Cheese is one of the most amazing creations ever. I adore it in all its glorious forms. I almost literally do not understand the words when people say they do not like it. How that is possible is beyond me. But when I stop to think about it, I get really really happy because I realize that there is more cheese for me. Score!

    The one comment that continues to chap my hide, however, is this ridiculousness of dairy being “poison” to the human body. Um, huh? Says who? Based on what science/research? If someone isn’t lactose intolerant, why is dairy bad for them? When vegans (or non-dairy-eating vegetarians, whatever the word for them is) say things like that I immediately lose all respect for them because they are uninformed and lying to convert people. And I have no time or tolerance for that garbage. Let me enjoy my cheese and I’ll let you enjoy your cheese-free diet. Deal?

    • Gypsy

      I LOVE cheese. I would probably die of deep depression if I couldn’t eat it anymore.

      I really have to agree with your “Based on what science/research?” comment. Growing up, we were ALL taught that dairy is in fact a part of the food pyramid. According to that, we’re supposed to have 2-3 (? I can’t remember what the number is, I just eat cheese and drink milk until I feel like I’m good) servings of dairy a day. I have no problems with people who want to be vegetarian or vegan. AS LONG AS you’re not pushing your lifestyle in my face. I like meat. I like animal products. Farm fresh eggs are awesome! And if you insist on getting in my face about how it’s all so terrible, I will make you cry by talking about just how yummy these animals and their products taste.

  • Jaina Gregor

    I’ve recently become lactose intolerant. My world has turned upside down. I even have moments during the day where I grieve because I can’t eat the cheese that I love. Milk? I actually like almond milk a lot, so that’s no big deal. Cream in my coffee? Steamed vanilla soy actually gives my coffee a yummy boost, so again, I’m all right. Ice cream? Coconut Bliss Mint Galactica is one of the best frozen desserts ever, so yay!

    But cheese? There is no substitution that comes close. Anywhere. I tried vegan pizza. The “cheese” stuck to my teeth. I did not like it. I’d rather suffer through the bloat and cramps real cheese gives me.

    There’s a cheese festival this weekend and instead of skipping it, I bought $30 worth of Lactaid. Fuck if I’m going to miss the best festival of the year just because my stomach will hurt!

  • Everything Cheeseless All the Time Always

    Yeah, so I am missing this Cheese Gene. I have never been able to stand the stuff. No cream cheese. No brie wheels. No fondue pots. No stuffed crusts. No Whiz steaks. No chicken parm. No grilled cheese. No creepy wax discs. No lumpy cottage curds. No stinky blue salad crumbles. No. Casseroles. And for god’s sake, No mac & cheese.
    If there is a hell, mine is filled with mac & cheese.
    I’m actually a little gaggy just thinking about it.

  • Chickalupe

    When I was eight, I once ate a three pound block of cheese all by myself and had to be rushed to the E.R. for Cheese Overdose. This was basically my first round of strength training in what would become a life dedicated to Cheese Worship. No meal is complete without cheese. As long as I have cheese in the house, I know I will not go hungry. If I could find a way to take it intravenously, I absolutely would. Glad to find a kindred spirit!

  • Kelly

    Everyone is always baffled at how the one thing I simply cannot eat is cheese. I find it so repulsive. The smell makes me nauseated–even the mild cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta and cream cheese. The texture of most cheeses skeeve me too, but I could probably deal with that if they didn’t taste like dirty socks.