There are days when things haven't gone as smoothly as I would have liked. I'm tired, or I'm frustrated, or I'm cranky for no apparent reason. I work late. I get to work at about 3:30pm (though it can be as early as noon), and I'm often walking through the door at home close to midnight. I keep strange hours. Much as I try very hard not to eat too much when I get home, sometimes I am prone to being self-indulgent, especially on those days when I'm feeling a wee bit rough around the edges.
Often I'm content with a fried egg sandwich, or some mashed potatoes with peas and gravy. Sometimes I persuade my other half to make me a Johnto (my name for his microwave baked potatoes, which are the best in the world... I still can't figure out how he does it). But then there are the days when I have to stop at the store at 11:50pm or on the way home and pick up a crusty baguette and some cheese, simply because nothing else will do.
I love cheese. I blame my European background mostly. As a teenager, I worked in a cute and dinky village shop back in Southern England. It was incredibly quaint. All of the staff wore little green aprons. Cheese was cut for you to your size specifications. We baked the croissants and baguettes in the back of the shop, and were delivered dozens of fantastic fresh loaves and cakes every day. Sometimes I wish that I could just transport myself back to those days and pick myself up a country loaf, a pain au chocolat and some fantastic English butter.
Many times in my teenage years you would find me at home after work hunkered down on the living room floor, my toes curled around the dusky rose carpet and my back resting against the couch, with a selection of cheese offcuts and some crackers. I think that is where my love of cheese started, those days when I just used to pick out small pieces to take home with me and try.
In recent years I found myself oftentimes seated around my kitchen table with several fabulous ladies, eating cheese carefully selected for us by the beautiful Carolyn and consuming plenty of wine, while we also snacked on Gruyere Gougeres
(which is just fun to say). I called these gatherings our Wine and Whine sessions and sadly they left my life when I left the East Coast.
So it makes sense that when I look for other sources of comfort, even though it isn't terribly healthy after midnight, I find myself sitting in front of some Brie and some Maytag Blue, slicing it thickly and eating it with a rough slice of chewy baguette. Not only does it bring back great memories, but honestly, I'm also powerlessly enslaved to my dairy god. Why fight it?