Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Cheese Man

My romance with the Cheese Man comes up a lot. More than once I've gotten in hot water by coming home from the grocery store, having spent $45 - 50, but with nothing for dinner. I used to be baffled too. The problem was the grocery list. I was faithful to the list (and my wife, no offense Cheese Man). Maybe a $4 chunk of Drunken Goat found its way into the cart, but that wasn't the problem. The list was a replacement list, not a meal list. If we ran out of mustard, it went on the list. Chunky peanut butter (aka scratchy) and milk always made the list. Dinner did not make the list.

I started putting "dinner" on the list, without specifics. But that demanded internalizing recipes and the kitchen inventory. In addition to mustard, scratchy, milk, and cat sand, I had to be aware of everything involved with whatever "dinner" I tried to imagine. We had spaghetti, but how much sauce or canned tomatoes did we have? Did I have time to a sauce? I'd never hear the end of it if I came home with another block of Parmesan!

Becky Home Ecy would undoubtedly advise me to not go to the store hungry and to write a meal plan. Becky must have iron-fisted control of her kitchen. Does she get any "feedback" on those meal plans? Does Becky ever hear, "Yuck, I don't want to eat that"? or "I'm not really hungry, maybe I'll just have ice cream tonight"? Allowing democracy at the dinner table means that train doesn't always run on time. There are also wrecks -- everyone is excited about that garlic, toasted nuts and pesto leftovers, but there is exactly one serving. What about the squash? C'mon, someone has to eat the squash!

Somewhere between shopping for the meal I will cook in the next hour and replacing our larder staples, meals happen. I manage to sneak in cheese too.

Current Cheese stock: Parmesano Reggiano (lots), Romano, Drunken Goat, Brie (lots of cheap), Colby (my daughter's choice), Gruyere, Kraft Taco something, Domestic Fontina, Feta, Black River Gorgonzola, mysterious gift-for-babysitting bleu cheese, pre-shredded mozzarella, Welsh Powerful Cheddar [it really is labeled that way], regular sharp cheddar, misc. odds and ends too small to specifically remember.

The Cheese Man really has power over me!

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