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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Cheese Poetry

G.K. Chesterton, in his 1910 essay, Cheese, asserts "Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese." He then goes on to exalt cheese not only as a ripe (natch) subject for poetry, but as a substance nearly deserving of worship.

If I was an adult in 1910 I'd probably find him and ask him to marry me.

If you'd like to read the entire essay,
go here. I recommend it.

Not being much of a fan of poetry - not that I have anything against it, I just don't always quite
get it, me being very much a prose person - I have no idea if the state of cheese in international poetry has improved since 1910. I can tell you, however, that cheese poetry in my personal correspondence has increased lately.

Before I regale you with the cheese poetry my friend and I wrote to each other, I will give you the back-story.

This year the
American Cheese Society is holding its annual conference and competition in Chicago at the end of July. I'd really like to go.

My friend and fellow Cheesemonger, Mark Bello, proprietor of
Pizza A Casa, spent many years living in Chicago and owns a futon store there. (His pizza business and his furniture business are not connected; though if you buy a futon from him and have him at your house to teach you to make pizza, you will connect the two yourself and probably make him very happy.) Mark also happened to take the photograph of me that stares you down when you approach this cheese blog. While I consider myself rather adorable, I don't usually like pictures of me, so Mark not only had his work cut out for him, but he exceeded my expectations. Thanks, Mark!

I emailed Mark to ask him if he had any friends in Chicago who would like to host a clean and friendly Cheese Snob for the ACS weekend. I could be wealthy by then, but I'd rather stay with a friend of a friend who will show me around town than in a hotel, even though I really love hotels.

Mark sent a reply email and asked where the ACS was holding the conference. When I answered him - it's at The Hilton - he wrote back with this charming poem:

The Hilton

gonna be smellin' like Stilton
Stanky cheese in July
the floral centerpieces be wiltin'

Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished, so I wrote back with some poetry of my own:

July. Chicago.
Melty like Brie de Meaux?

Or hard, sweet like Asiago Pressato?

Never been there
I wouldn't know.
But if the Goddesses of money look kindly on me

this year, 2008, I will go.

If you'd like to give us poetry awards, please do so via this blog.


KWest said...

Luckily I believe cheese poetry is on the rise. I posted a series of cheese haiku to my blog and then found that I wasn't alone! There's a whole site dedicated to dairy poetry, the Dairy Lama.

Joel Kelly said...

that is my favourite food-related quote pretty much of all time.

thanks for the tips on cheese storage!

Anonymous said...

How about a hymn?

What a friend we have in Cheeses

What a friend we have in Cheeses,
Edam, Cheddar and Gruyere!
What a privilege to eat some
Gorgonzola with our pear!
Oh, what satiety we forfeit,
Oh, what meagerness we bear,
All because we cannot eat some
Gorgonzola with our pear!

Have we pledged to wait for dinner?
Would a promise we forswear?
We should never be discouraged-
Gorgonzola goes with pear.
Can we find a friend so faithful?
Which will pangs of conscience spare?
Cheese is not a sign of weakness;
Gorgonzola goes with pear.

Are we weak and heavy-laden
Facing leftovers to spare?
Precious cheese plate still our refuge
Take Gorgonzola with your pear.
Have thy guests all turned to face thee?
Have Gorgonzola with a pear!
In its curds cheese takes and shields thee
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Blessed Stilton, Thou art ripening,
Thou art ready Camembert
May our board be ever bearing
Gorgonzola for our pear
Soon in dreamy night, unclouded
There will be no need for pear--
Sav'ry and never ending
Will be our cheese portion there.

cc OB