I love cheese. Honestly, I really do. Look at my user profile; it’s writ large. Actually, look at my belly; it’s writ even larger. You know those adverts for chocolate where people look vaguely aroused after eating a Flake or the giggling Japanese actress cum food taster on Iron Chef who likes everything and makes sure everyone knows about it? Well I’m a bit like that with all things cheesy.
So as a fromage-ophile of some repute (apparently the proper word is turophile, from the Greek ‘tyros’ for cheese… but that’s a bit boring so I’ll stick to my own made-up words) I’ve taken the somewhat stupid decision not to eat any for a month.
At the risk of sounding like Edmund Blackadder’s puritan aunt and uncle, needlessly denying myself pleasure to atone for years of dairy substance abuse, I should state that I’m undertaking this mostly pointless act for reasons unrelated to Lent. I don’t recall ever giving up anything for Lent – I’m pretty sure that self-denial in all areas isn’t something that would be condoned by any higher presence and was probably just invented by Catholics to create more things to feel guilty about.
No, my cheesy abstinence is more secular in instigation. Mostly I’d like to see if I still possess any self-control whatsoever. I do have a reasonable track record in this area; it’s been three years since I went stopped the ciggies and over six since I last ate meat. However, despite their pleasures, eating meat and smoking both made me feel sick afterwards so they were relatively easy to give up. However, since I can’t actually see my arteries and I have several holes left in my belt, I can’t see any genuine downside to eating cheese so it may prove a harder beast to tame.
I’m also genuinely interested to see what I’ll eat if I can’t eat cheese. When I gave up meat I divided my mealtimes between gorging on Indian food, eating yet more cheese and (especially when eating out) experimenting with seafood. Pescetarian (or fishetarian if you prefer) living saw me raiding the ocean for all manner of exotic creatures, including swordfish, Balmain Bugs, crab, oysters, mussels and of course, fish fingers. Through eating Thai food I also broke my lifelong aversion to broccoli and discovered that I really like all manner of Asian greens. I don’t think I’d ever have gone there if I’d still been eating meat.
Whilst I don’t anticipate any Trainspotting-style cold turkey scenes with me clamouring at a locked fridge in the dead of night whilst cows with rotating udders walk upside on the kitchen ceiling, it’ll be interesting finding out where my cheese denied palate takes me. So remember, even if I turn up at your door screaming for crumbs of Roquefort or some melted Tasty on toast, just say no kids, just say no.