There are many things I dislike (cats, rodents, the smell of other people’s feet, economy air travel, the fact that my office crush keeps friend zoning me even though I have been more than obvious about how much I fancy him, my stepmother, beer and beer bellies, Balenciaga, sauerkraut, humidity and long fingernails) The only thing I truly hate however is cheese.
Here are all the reasons why you should too.
A. The smell of cheese is best described as a merciless, inhumane olfactory torture-slap. But we all know humanity shies away from stark truths so what most people say is that the smell of cheese is ‘pungent’. This is a word that cheese lovers willingly and lovingly apply to the smell of their own soul-death. Consider the following definitions of pungent:
Pungent, or acrid, or caustic, or sharply expressive like they’re talking about some sort of demented performance art fox, acutely distressing to the feelings or mind; these are the best ways ACTUAL CHEESE-LOVERS can describe the smell of cheese. As Nigerians say “they used their own mouth” to call it pungent, a word more closely associated with bodies left to rot or hobbit feet. Pungent, and they expect right-thinking people to do anything other than vomit furiously at the very first whiff.
B. Imagine waking up in a far and distant land, made different from our familiar Earth in many radical ways. You stumble around, homesick and confused, trying desperately to understand why these people build their houses out of cornflakes, or why all the women only wear green once a year. Eventually however, time passes and you begin to feel at home, even when you’re asked to chop off your big toe in order to secure a job as the Chief Music Maker. This is your home now, and you are at peace with its peculiarities. One day, another traveller from the Earth you left arrives and you take him under your wing. Amongst other things, you explain to him how, here on this place you have named PickleTreeYarn after their most famous god, there is no such thing as laughter, instead amusement is shown by plucking out a single pubic hair and tossing it in the air while shuddering. Months pass but despite your careful tutelage and wisdom sharing, the new traveller simply cannot settle. It is all too strange, too silly, he says, so he crafts an inter-dimensional space travel hyperwormfield borometerbot and invites you to join him on an escape mission to Earth.
No, you say to New Traveller, PickleTreeYarn is my home now and I am at peace with its peculiarities. But what about the cornflake houses, he asks? They’re a bit drafty but after a while you get used to the crumbs, you say patiently. And your big toe, don’t you miss it? No, you say, I am Chief Music Maker and you can’t make music with two big toes, it’s PickleTreeYarn law, you reply resolutely. But what about their Sunday lunches? Huh, you say? Well haven’t you noticed, he asks, that for Sunday lunch these people eat this incredibly pungent vaguely yellow thing they make by encouraging all the native bacteria and air-grossness to have little horror parties in the mammalian secretions of their cows? What the fuck, you say? Yeah, he says. They call it Cheeze. He looks at you while you scream and tear out your hair. When you calm down, you whisper in a voice gone hoarse with grief- Get me the hell out of here now on your inter-dimensional space travel hyperwormfield borometerbot, New Traveller, because these people are full and 100% crazycakes.
C. Cheese makes people more likely to behave like arseholes in a number of ways. Firstly, it gives people weird dreams that they then feel compelled to tell you about. Like “OMG I ate so much cheese that I had a dream about this place called PickleTreeYarn and…” No one cares about your stupid cheese dreams. Secondly, it encourages people to have wanky things like fondue parties where people who are ordinarily sensible are rendered utterly moronic with glee because they are able to DIP one solid thing into another gooey liquidy thing, like that’s not one of the oldest and most boring ways of eating ever.
D. The most disgusting cheese in the world is called Casa Marzu and here is what Wikipedia has to say about it (DO NOT READ WHILST EATING OR THINKING ABOUT EATING)
Casu marzu is created by leaving whole Pecorino cheeses outside with part of the rind removed to allow the eggs of the cheese fly Piophila casei to be laid in the cheese. A female P. casei can lay more than five hundred eggs at one time. The eggs hatch and the larvae begin to eat through the cheese. The acid from the maggots’ digestive system breaks down the cheese’s fats, making the texture of the cheese very soft; by the time it is ready for consumption, a typical casu marzu will contain thousands of these maggots.
E. Extra horror: there is such a thing as a cheese fly.
F. You know Swiss cheese? The stuff with the holes? Well those holes are made by the bacteria living in the cheese who exude carbon monoxide in the same way your sleeping partner exudes bad breath and the occasional fart. That’s right. The very same thing killing our ozone layer is precisely what makes your beloved Swiss cheese so distinctively horrendous looking. Enjoy.
G. Cheese is one of the great gastronomical scams of human history. At some point, in the past, possibly 250 B.C or 1820 I’m not sure, peasants were like “we have but one cow/goat/llama/buffalo whose milk is all that keeps us from death but lo, this milk doth spoil too quickly because we have no way of keeping it cold” and the smartest peasant said “why don’t we choose to eat this spoiled milk so as to keep thy bodies chained to this mortal coil a while longer” and all the other peasants agreed and said “Thou art wise and fair and beloved by Jupiter. Let us call this spoiled rotten thing cheeseitus; hail cheeseitus, forestaller of doom” and then they ate it, all the while knowing they were only doing it so they wouldn’t die of hunger. Except they needed to get their children to eat it, who of course hated it because children are smart but scarily easily to trick via reverse psychology, so they kept telling their children ‘cheesitus is a delicacy, cheesitus is delicious’ and so it began. Eons of self-perpuating gastronomical engineering, now made redundant and unnecessary by the invention of a fucking refrigerator, has lead us all to this place where cheese is now A Thing.
H. Perfectly normal and delicious foods are out there being molested by cheese. Meats, and crackers, breads and pastas, all being subjected to forced coverings of cheese. It’s cruel and unusual and unfair and I stand for the foods that just want to BE without cheese.
I. Finally, a quote by James Joyce, the same brilliant, language-creating man who wrote Ulysses:
“A corpse is meat gone bad. Well, and what’s cheese? Corpses of milk.”