For as long as I can remember, my favorite food in the whole wide world has been boxed macaroni and cheese.  Old family friends get a kick out of reminding me of times when, as a child, my parents would take me to dinner parties only to sit down and take out a Tupperware full of Kraft because it was one of the only things I ate.  My fear of new foods lasted for an embarrassingly long time; I refused to eat pizza until I was 9 and didn’t touch spaghetti and meatballs until years after that.  It took even longer for me to stop picking things like cooked onions out of curry and raw tomatoes out of salads.  Forget about salad dressing- the first time I ate a dressed salad didn’t happen until high school.

These days that has all changed, of course, and while there are certain foods I don’t think I’ll ever come around to enjoying (raw mollusks, olives, citrus of all kinds, mustard), I am willing to try pretty much anything once.  This applies most of all to cheese.  I love cheese.  If I remembered how to write sonnets, I’d go Petrarchan on parmigiano reggiano (not to mention that I do not balk at its $15/lb price- that shit is worth it).  Some of the smellier varieties, the serious ones that separate the cheese men from the cheese boys, have become my preferred snack food.  I have even learned to notice undertones of fruit, nut and smoky flavors in different cheeses, the subtle differences between a 1-year old or 2-year old cheddar, to distinguish flavors in a cow/sheep mix.  My next endeavor will be into the world of pairing cheeses with drinks, though probably not with wine since I remain willfully ignorant about that.  Definitely with beer though.

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