The cheese stands alone.

"A corpse is meat gone bad.  
Well and what's cheese?  Corpse of milk."

James Joyce

It being the first day of autumn, I couldn't help thinking of one of my favorite Northern Exposure episodes in which the inhabitants of Sicily begin the task of gaining their 15 pounds of protective winter fat.  To assist them in their effort, The Brick begins serving pancakes with every meal.

The same thing happens to Minnesotans, it seems, because as soon as the leaves begin to turn our thoughts begin to turn -- to the comfort of food.  Just Mother Nature playing a cruel trick that she invented before there were furnaces but that she continues to think is funny because we keep falling for it.

And in the mathematics of my life:

comfort food = melted cheese

I must come by this naturally, although an argument could probably be made as to whether by nature or nurture. I definitely come by it via my mother.  She's said a lot of funny things over the course of my lifetime, but one of our family's favorites began showing up 10 or 15 years ago and persists despite our ridicule.

In order to explain whatever decadence she has just ordered or is eating, she will say,
"I'm in my melted cheese years."

This era seems to have struck me much earlier than it did her, and my only concern is that if she's in her melted cheese years for only, say, 20 years or so, and I'm in mine for 50+, there are bound to be figure implications for me that have yet to strike her.

Although G.K. Chesterton maintains that, 

"The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese,"

luckily the cartoonists have not, and I was delighted to find this comic in my newspaper recently:

Yes, melted cheese perfectly executed could most definitely inspire testimony, if not an entire religion -- the fried cheese curds I had while at the cabin in Wisconsin this summer, for instance, providing a perfect spiritual experience on which to build. (I've thought of them often and fondly since.)

"Many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese -- 
toasted, mostly."

Robert Louis Stevenson

So in the interest of making Ms.Fall feel welcome by putting my most fattening, poetic foot forward, I thought I'd offer this autumnal ode, a ditty I've jotted this morning while simultaneously trying to determine whether I shall make an old fashioned grilled cheese or a pizza for lunch.


Joyce's sweet corpse of milk

 melted and glistening

stretch of silk across my sandwich

your flavor river flowing

over my food, my plate

of luxury lengthening as I pull

you into my mouth

feeding greedily and with so

much lust


I saw a movie recently where one character was making noises while he was eating something delicious and the other character said, "stop having sex with your food!" and I felt a twinge of sudden guilt, knowing I may have committed the same sin myself from time to time.

But when the food involves melted cheese, 
and it's the first day of autumn. . . . 
well, if you don't want to listen to me eat, please leave the room.  

Because I intend 
to fully enjoy my lunch.




Judy said...

I love that succinct mathematical formula you devised. It makes life so much simpler! (Too bad it won't qualify for the Nobel-ly Prize, isn't it?)

susan m hinckley said...

Pretty funny, Judy. It seems all my best scientific research never qualifies for that prize.

L Melohn said...

Aaaah...so my love of cheese (especially melted cheese) must stem from being born in Minnesota. It all makes sense now. I remember those days as it started to get cooler, craving the comfort food. Now I live in DC and it is going to get to 90 today and for the next 3 days...so I'm still craving ice cream. ;)

Karen S said...

Oh my! -- cheeeeese. It's the best thing about living in Wisconsin. I must be in my melted cheese years too.

I'm off to enjoy my lunch -- uh huh, it's a melted cheese sandwich. Complete with food moans. mmmmmm......

Donna said...

I loved this! It makes me crave a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup as soon as we get home from traveling! And I can't help but wonder if Chesterton's poetic friends were too cheese constipated to muster up the rhythm of rhyme and/ or verse.

Cami said...

I am laughing out loud because Mandi and I have been in a serious grilled cheese food jag. I think we have eaten them at least 2-3 times a week for several weeks now. Quick, easy, and you can eat it with one hand, helps with the baby and all. I am only hoping that because real meals come few and far between, the cheese, fat, and carbs are sustaining and not just "gaining" on our bodies :-) Cereal is our other staple these days. Also easy to make and eat one handed :-)

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