11 Aug
Posted in: Food
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Smile and Say Cheese! Part II

Part II: The Cheddar Meltdown

(See Part 1: Rookie Cheesemonger, for pre-story)

Why on Earth do wheels of cheese need to actually be wheel-sized?

Why on Earth do wheels of cheese need to actually be wheel-sized?

Volunteering at the American Cheese Society’s conference, I was assigned as a cheese trolley girl, which essentially meant that I spent the morning pushing large trolleys of the stuff out of the kitchen, to the elevator, and then to the refrigerated truck; then brought back other cheeses from the truck, back on the elevator to the deep cooler.

Luckily, chatting with the other volunteers made the time fly by and though I found myself envying, in particular, the Whole Foods team, who was discussing who would be leaving next week for the “Champagne festival in Germany,” they were all very jovial and I found myself learning a lot about the different varieties and producers.

We even had a few moments of intrigue where we were kicked out of the refrigerated truck so that the Festival organizer and three dark-haired men could conference in there. They told us they’d need just five minutes, and when we were shooed away again upon our appointed return, I was reminded of the scene in Ratatouille where the chef admonishes Linguini in the walk-in cooler, “One can get TOO familiar with vegetables, you know!” If I thought such a thing existed, I would’ve been sure that they were related to a cheese mafia crime family.

The second rule of cheese fight club is to not fight the trolley.

The second rule of cheese fight club is to not fight the trolley.

Things were going well and I thought I had a handle on things when I pushed a particularly heavy cart of cheddar up the ramp into the truck. It was filled with large wheels, and unfortunately, one was on its side and it began to roll out of the cart as I pushed up. Instinctively, I took one hand off the cart to steady it…not my cleverest moment, which soon became clear as the top-heavy cart fell over (luckily I mostly got out of the way) and big wheels of cheddar bounced around the loading dock. The part of me that didn’t get out of the way was my arm, which slowed the cart’s fall only enough to leave long scrapes and a gash before tumbling further to the side.

Whatever my cheese heaven vision of the conference had been beforehand, it was clear I had found myself a temporary slot in cheese hell as I chased wheels of cheddar around on the floor. Amazingly, the hard wax outer-coating (which is never eaten, thankfully) seemed to absorb all the shock and I didn’t see marks or dents on any of the cheese. All the same, when I glanced at the clock and saw it was time for lunch, I was quite relieved. Nursing my arm, I ambled out into the Austin sunlight, for once (having spent entirely too much time in the coolers) happy to have a 98 degree day outside, waiting to warm me.

(Coming soon…the conclusion…Part III: All is Right With the World as I Hit the Cheese Festival)

So, what do you think?