Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Stilton, thou shouldst be living at this hour
And so thou art. Nor losest grace thereby;
England has need of thee, and so have I—
She is a Fen. Far as the eye can scour,
League after grassy league from Lincoln tower
To Stilton in the fields, she is a Fen.
Yet this high cheese, by choice of fenland men,
Like a tall green volcano rose in power.
Plain living and long drinking are no more,
And pure religion reading “Household Words”,
And sturdy manhood sitting still all day
Shrink, like this cheese that crumbles to its core;
While my digestion, like the House of Lords,
The heaviest burdens on herself doth lay.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
At the end of the meal, the cheeses were brought. All white except the Roquefort, they lay scattered over the board at odd angles, like cows grazing or ships at sea. Davis, “Cockroaches in Autumn”
Friday, May 24, 2013
Cheese is philosophically interesting as a food whose qualities depend on the action of bacteria — it is, as James Joyce remarked, “the corpse of milk.” Dead milk, live bacteria. A similar process of controlled spoilage is apparent in the process of hanging game, where some degree of rotting helps to make the meat tender and flavorsome — even if one no longer entirely subscribes to the nineteenth-century dictum that a hung pheasant is only ready for eating when the first maggot drops onto the larder floor. With meat and game, the bacterial action is a desideratum rather than a necessity, which it is in the case of cheese — a point grasped even in Old Testament times, as Job reveals in his interrogation of the Lord: ‘Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?’ The process of ripening in cheese is a little like the human acquisition of wisdom and maturity: both processes involve a recognition, or incorporation, of the fact that life is an incurable disease with a hundred percent mortality rate — a slow variety of death. John Lanchester, A Debt to Pleasure
Sunday, February 24, 2013
The churchyard pales are black against the night
And snow hung here seems doubly white.
I have a horror of this place
A horror of each moonlit mourner’s face
These people are not familiar
But strange and stranger than strange peculiar
They have that look of a cheese do you know sour-sweet
You can smell their feet.
Stevie Smith, “Night-Time in the Cemetery
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Scaled up from the dimensions of the classic Single Gloucester, not only in Thickness, but actually octupled in all dimensions, making it more like a 512-fold or Quincentenaridoudecuple Gloucester, —running to nearly four tons in weight when green, and even after shrinkage towering ten feet high by the time it emerged from the giant Shed built at the outskirts of town especially for this unprecedented Caseifaction, —the extraordinary Cheese, as it slowly aged, had already provided material for months of public Rumor. Pynchon, on cheese-rolling, in Mason & Dixon
Wednesday, January 23, 2013

arguably the first British pizza

"Lud wishes to know," Whike relays at last, "Mr. Emerson’s Cousin’s Views, upon the Structure of the World."
“A Spheroid, the last I heard of it, Sir.”
“Ahr Ahr ahr, ‘ahr ahhrr!”
” ‘And I say, ‘tis Flat,’ ” the Jesuit smoothly translates. “Why of course, Sir, flat as you like, flat as a Funnel-Cake, flat as a Pizza, for all that— “
“Apologies, Sir,—” Whike all Unctuosity, “the foreign Word again, was…?”
“The apology is mine,— Pizza being a Delicacy of Cheese, Bread, and Fish ubiquitous in the region ‘round Mount Vesuvius. In my Distraction, I have reach’d for the Word as the over-wrought Child for its Doll.”
“You are from Italy, then, sir?” inquires Ma.
“In my Youth I pass’d some profitable months there, Madam.”
“Do you recall by chance how it is they cook this ‘Pizza’? My Lads and Lasses grow weary of the same Daily Gruel and Haggis, so a Mother is ever upon the Lurk for any new Receipt.”
“Why, of course. If there be a risen Loaf about…?”
Mrs. Brain reaches ‘neath the Bar and comes up with a Brown Batch-Loaf, rising since Morning, which she presents to “Cousin Ambrose,” who begins to punch it out flat upon the Counter-Top. Lud, fascinated, offers to assault the Dough himself, quickly slapping it into a very thin Disk of remarkable Circularity.
“Excellent, Sir,” Maire beams, “I don’t suppose anyone has a Tomato?”
“A what?”
“Saw one at Darlington Fair, once,” nods Mr. Brain.
“No good, in that case,— eaten by now.”
“The one I saw, they might not have wanted to eat…?”
Dixon, rummaging in his Surveyor’s Kit, has come up with the Bottle of Ketjap, that he now takes with him ev’rywhere. “This do?”
“That was a Torpedo, Husband.”
“That Elecktrickal Fish? Oh…then this thing he’s making isn’t eleck-trical?”
“Tho’ there ought to be Fish, such as those styl’d by the Neopolitans,
“Will Anchovy do?” Mrs. Brain indicates a Cask of West Channel ‘Chovies from Devon, pickl’d in Brine.
“Capital. And Cheese?”
“That would be what’s left of the Stilton, from the Ploughman’s Lunch.”
“Very promising indeed,” Maire wringing his Hands to conceal their trembling. “Well then, let us just…”
By the Time what is arguably the first British Pizza is ready to come out of the Baking-Oven beside the Hearth, the Road outside has gone quiet and the Moorland dark, several Rounds have come and pass’d, and Lud is beginning to show signs of Apprehension.

—Pynchon, Mason & Dixon

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Good breasts, yes, but a bad face, narrow eyes, long nose, cheese-like skin. Her hair smells slightly of watercress. K. Amis, to Larkin (quoted here)
Friday, November 30, 2012
I have ripened on remorse like Stilton cheese. Lowell, “Hedgehog” sonnet (CP 588)
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

faintly scented urine, Wonder Bread & Kraft

1. Joyce, Ulysses:

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liverslices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencods’ roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine.

Kidneys were in his mind as he moved about the kitchen softly, righting her breakfast things on the humpy tray. Gelid light and air were in the kitchen but out of doors gentle summer morning everywhere. Made him feel a bit peckish.

The coals were reddening.

Another slice of bread and butter: three, four: right. She didn’t like her plate full. Right. He turned from the tray, lifted the kettle off the hob and set it sideways on the fire. It sat there, dull and squat, its spout stuck out. Cup of tea soon. Good. Mouth dry. The cat walked stiffly round a leg of the table with tail on high.


—O, there you are, Mr Bloom said, turning from the fire.

The cat mewed in answer and stalked again stiffly round a leg of the table, mewing. Just how she stalks over my writingtable. Prr. Scratch my head. Prr.

Mr Bloom watched curiously, kindly the lithe black form. Clean to see: the gloss of her sleek hide, the white button under the butt of her tail, the green flashing eyes. He bent down to her, his hands on his knees.

—Milk for the pussens, he said.

—Mrkgnao! the cat cried.

They call them stupid. They understand what we say better than we understand them. She understands all she wants to. Vindictive too. Cruel. Her nature. Curious mice never squeal. Seem to like it. Wonder what I look like to her. Height of a tower? No, she can jump me.

—Afraid of the chickens she is, he said mockingly. Afraid of the chookchooks. I never saw such a stupid pussens as the pussens.

Cruel. Her nature. Curious mice never squeal. Seem to like it.

—Mrkrgnao! the cat said loudly.

She blinked up out of her avid shameclosing eyes, mewing plaintively and long, showing him her milkwhite teeth. He watched the dark eyeslits narrowing with greed till her eyes were green stones. Then he went to the dresser, took the jug Hanlon’s milkman had just filled for him, poured warmbubbled milk on a saucer and set it slowly on the floor.

—Gurrhr! she cried, running to lap.

He watched the bristles shining wirily in the weak light as she tipped three times and licked lightly. Wonder is it true if you clip them they can’t mouse after. Why? They shine in the dark, perhaps, the tips. Or kind of feelers in the dark, perhaps.

He listened to her licking lap. Ham and eggs, no. No good eggs with this drouth. Want pure fresh water. Thursday: not a good day either for a mutton kidney at Buckley’s. Fried with butter, a shake of pepper. Better a pork kidney at Dlugacz’s. While the kettle is boiling. She lapped slower, then licking the saucer clean. Why are their tongues so rough? To lap better, all porous holes. Nothing she can eat? He glanced round him. No.

2. Helen DeWitt, “Recovery”:

Scott goes home. He gets a thing of bacon out of the fridge. Fries four or five slices. Butters two slices of Wonder Bread, places two slices of Kraft’s American Processed Cheese between, adds the bacon, inserts the result in the sandwich toaster deal. (It sounds crazy, probably, but he did in fact stock up on Kraft’s American Processed Cheese, buying 100 72-slice packs @ $9.95 for a total of $995.00 (at 2 slices per day, a 10-year supply). Toasted cheese sandwiches are Ralph’s favorite food.) Ralph is nuzzling his legs all this time, purring like a steam engine.

Um, okay, no, not purring like, obviously, producing a sound that is more reminiscent of steam engine FX than your typical purr.

Cruel to be kind, Scotty forces the cat to wait till the sandwich has cooled; no way should a cat eat a piping hot toasted cheese sandwich with the liquid cheese close to boiling. Ralph meows pitifully.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012