Outstreched arm

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's the little things

If you've ever shopped for a snack in a grocery store - and I'm sure you have - I'm willing to bet you've missed an unsung treasure. I'm talking about those random, individually wrapped, two-ounce pieces of cheese you can find in the deli fridge. They're usually in a basket of some sort; miniature wedges and blocks looking like culinary rejects, but far from it.

Think of them as samples, only better than anything the nice old lady on aisle 5 will hand you on the end of a toothpick. I see these morsels of curd at my local store which is a notch above the Safeways of the world; I'm sure you have something similar in your neck of the concrete. Here are my reasons for worshipping at the temple of miniature cheese:

  1. It's cheap. You probably won't find a chunk priced at more than $2.50, and I've seen them as low as 40c. It's getting impossible to find any food this cheap at the store, and the price-to-deliciousness ratio is off the charts here.

  2. They'll feed you more than you think. Sure, one or two ounces doesn't seem like a lot, but eat slowly and let it fill your mouth like good wine, especially because...

  3. These are typically not your orange cheddar, baby swiss, and monterey jack. Instead, because they end up on the side of the cheesemonger's block more often (because of their price and non-blocky nature), the varieties you'll find in the basket normally include French gruyere, goat milk gouda, fontina, leyden with cumin, and other flavor-packed beauties, at least some of which will be new to you, I'm sure.

Delicious handheld cheese for $1.50. Grab a piece of fruit (say, anything but a citrus) and you're eating like a Frenchman. That's a good thing.

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