This morning, a friend asked me if I miss cheese more than I miss beer. It was not difficult for me to answer – YES! I miss cheese more!
(In case you forgot, I gave up all alcohol this February.)
First of all, the act of abstaining from alcohol was just a lot simpler. You just don’t order a drink.
But cheese, my friends, is EVERYWHERE. It’s hard to avoid it even when you want to (and I use the term ‘want’ loosely here). Foods that don’t even need cheese have cheese in them. The less time you have, the more likely it is that cheese will be included in your meal. And when you’re not cooking for yourself, the non-cheese options are often even less healthy. I have actually found myself ordering fried food instead of the salad that comes with cheese. Seriously.
After February, I realized that being more intentional about alcohol was important to me. Just because I’m out with friends doesn’t mean I need to have a drink too. Just because I’m on my porch and it’s hot out, doesn’t mean I need to have a gin and tonic (ok. It kind of does. But let’s pretend it doesn’t).
Similarly, I am finding that I need to be more intentional about my cheese intake. I don’t miss cheese in my deli sandwich. I don’t miss cheese cubes at a reception. I do, however, miss the opportunity to order cantaloupe gazpacho with goat cheese when I am out to dinner in a new city. I miss tomatoes at their peak with fresh mozzarella and goat cheese. I miss fennel cranberry bread with locally made Camembert from our grower’s market. I know that I can’t go back to eating cheese in September without some guidelines for myself. “Eat less cheese” is just too broad and in a few short months (weeks?) I’ll be back to my old habits.
Instead, I think I’ll focus on high quality cheese moments – the opportunity to try a really good cheese, or a favorite dish – should not be missed. But it also shouldn’t be something I do without thinking. Late night cheese snacking, no-no. Tipsy cheese appetizers, no-no. Cooking and eating six ounces of feta while I do it, no-no. But a cheese course? Cheese fondue? Macaroni and Cheese on a cold winter night? Hell, yea. I can’t wait.