October 7, 2014

SAY CHEESE | Why I Love Cheese (An Ode)

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By ALISHA KHAN

Anyone who knows me even remotely well can attest to the fact that I REALLY like cheese. It is borderline disturbing how much I love cheese, and dairy products in general. In fact, my greatest fear is not spiders or heights or dying alone (all of which are up there on the list), but becoming lactose intolerant, because I simply cannot imagine living in world without cheese.

One of the most important reasons for my love of cheese is the multitude that exist. Walking into the cheese section of Wegmans is an exhilarating experience for me with all the different types of cheeses that vary in scent, texture and flavor. Obviously, I have a few go-to cheeses, but the wonderful thing about cheese is that there’s always something new to try. I could go with my standard gouda or brie, but I could also live on the edge a little and get a sheep’s milk Manchego.

Are you ready to take an intellectual leap with me? Cheese reminds me of people. Buzzfeed thinks this is a thing too! In fact, you can take this quiz to determine what kind of cheese you are. Parallels, therefore, can be drawn between the different types of cheese and different types of people. While people are definitely more complex because we live and breathe and have emotions, I think there’s a lot to the human-cheese parallel.

We have the types of humans/cheese that we like to interact with, our favorites, one might say. I personally like gouda with my wine, bleu cheese for my salad and a standard pepper jack for general snacking. There are also cheeses we literally can’t stand to be in the same room as, due to their smell or overall abhorrence. Although, as I mentioned before, I love all cheese, the scent of Munster is unbearable for me. Some cheeses work well together (ie. Monterrey jack and cheddar, a delicious duo), and some just don’t. There are cheeses that are distinct to a particular region, like the Stilton of England and Pico of Perigord, France. Similarly we usually associate – and sometimes stereotype – personality types with certain regions in the US.

While I may be overstretching this metaphor just a little bit, I think my love of cheese reflects my appreciation for the diversity within humanity.  Just take the Cornell student population for example. There are the people that everyone knows and loves, the cheddar on the cheese plate that is Cornell. The engineers are like a fine Roquefort, left to mature in the dark cave of Upson basement. And then there’s always that quiet, moody kid on your freshman floor. Like a Gris Bleu (a soft blend of bleu cheese and brie), they seem to blend in, but you just know that they’re going to invent the next big app.  Diversity within the Cornell population fosters the revolutionary thinking for which Cornell is known for just as diversity of cheeses allows me to constantly experience new flavors, smells and textures. Without either one, my life would definitely be less interesting.

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