So there are a few things I hate about being sick. The first is that sickness always seems to happen when your husband, wife, partner, boyfriend, mom, whomever that person in your life is who is by nature of your relationship the designated person to love and care for you when you're a hot mess of viral plague is out of town. It's always a conference, work, family thing that takes them away from your bedside leaving you to stew in your piles of used tissues and to hack phlegm across the stove top as you warm up your canned soup.
As I sat groaning in bed I muddled this thought in my congested head. Once again, BF was away and I was sick. Even worse, I was homeless as my apartment - once thought to be fixed from the water leak - was now a hotbed of mold and remnant water vapor. Furthermore, I was unable to move due to being trapped in a lease with a bullheaded witch of an apartment manager whom the universe had - for some unforeseen reason - not yet seen fit to drop a house upon.
BF was away in Dublin, California, a forgotten armpit of the state that no one has ever heard of. Its location being so far away and so secluded from modern civilization the United States has of course seen fit to put a training base for the army there and bring in BF to learn how to set up the plumbing for a field hospital because, you know, why not?
Lucky for me, I have friends who care and who live nearby. The bed I was groaning in was not my own but was that of my friend, Elise Bauer. My personal Florence Nightingale. Her home was once again my halfway house after a disaster.
Even more lucky, she and her charming boyfriend, Guy, a renaissance Frenchmen who knows everything from rental law to how to fix a an old shower head, were kindly keeping an eye on me. Elise comforted me with tea and clean, cotton sheets of a thread count higher than my rent. Guy kept me laughing and roasted marble potatoes and tomatoes into a simple, filling, but easy on the stomach meal.
As I sat in bed watching every episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which, by the way, is an outstanding show to watch in a fever haze) and coughing up my ribcage whole they spent some of their time picking up homeopathic medicines and whipping up batches of pancakes for me to eat to gain some strength back.
I am truly blessed.
Now, the other thing I hate about being sick is that I generally can't eat dairy. At all. It just churns my stomach. Yogurt, ice cream, quark, or cheese; it all just makes me want to hurl like a runway model after she eats a potato chip.
This is a sad thing because I love dairy. In my heart of hearts I believe that dairy also possesses a particular fondness for me. It knows when I am sad and want to eat it. It knows when I am happy and want to eat it. It knows when I'm searching through the fridge on a lazy afternoon looking to eat out of boredom. They are fine with that. They reach up with arms outstretched for me to pick them up and toss them in the air and eat them.
I'm always overjoyed to oblige.
See? We're made for each other.
I especially love cheese. In fact, at any given time you can probably find at least five very good cheeses carefully stored in my fridge. Each is wrapped in cheese paper and placed in one of a few breathable containers. I take care to preserve and enjoy them.
All this goes to pot once I'm sick.
So, finally, a bit better I decided to call my friend cheesemonger friend, Felicia. I asked her if she wouldn't mind showing me a few cheeses that her heart was currently set on.
She suggested that simple summer go-to's were burratas, chevres, or mozarellas. These are light cheeses perfect for salads or crostini and that wouldn't weigh a person down. Logical cheese choices when the heat becomes as oppressive as family guilt.
However, she invited me down for a light lunch of cheese as she wanted to show me a few something specials. I agreed and arrived at the arranged time to a table set with three unique cheeses, some bread, and tall, chilly bottles of blueberry and grape soda perspiring in a pool of cold sweat. A simple lunch at its best.
The first cheese was a Pont l'Eveque, a simple French (well, Norman, specifically) washed rind cheese that many may mistake as a Brie. Do not be fooled. The flavor here is sagacious in character with pronounced and evolved flavors. It starts off with the flavor of hay, but then the smooth paste becomes deeply mushroomy before trailing off in a big beefy finish. It is considered one of the finest cheeses in all of France yet Americans usually have no idea what it is, which only leads me to lower my opinion of the American character just a bit more. (To be fair, reality television, Ke$ha, and the demise of the slap bracelet already did quite a number on it for me.)
The next cheese was a petite pair of Bijou crottins from Vermont Creamery. Crafted by Allison Cooper, a pioneer of American cheesemaking who began crafting goat cheeses back in the 1970s, these little goat brain looking cheeses are American classics. A dense and chalky soul is surrounded by a creamy paste with a lactic-sour flavor. Amazing with bread, fruit, wine, and even micro-brewery sodas. I cannot get over how adorable they are. I would snuggle them if I could, but if they get to close to my face they won't stand a chance.
Lastly, our plate was graced with a wedge of Dunbarton Blue, a lightly blued cheddar. It's strong. Powerful. It tastes like a typical aged cheddar, but with a slightly spiky flavor from the mold. It's a pretty rockin' break from the everyday cheddar. As Felicia so eloquently put it, "Mmm... flavor 'splosion."
It was a perfect little collection of cheeses. Simple, flavorful, a colorful blend of ideas applied to milk and culture. Now that I was feeling a little more healthy it was a fine welcome home to the foods I love.
Many of these cheeses can be found at most high end grocers or cheese shops. If not there, then you can hop online or call Taylor's Market and order them.