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.