Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

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Everyday Cheese

I’ve always had an Everyday Cheese; a cheese which I’d eat plain, with crackers, in a sandwich. The first one when I was little was muenster. I flirted with pepper jack in high school, experimented with havarti with dill in college, and had just about decided on cheddar, before I settled on cojack as the perfect cheese.

When I got to Europe, I realized that cheeses of the same name were vastly different and that nobody had heard of cojack (not even its parent cheeses, colby and monterey jack) and I was basically screwed. One of the many things I consciously realized while searching for a good substitute was that cheeses often carry the name of where they were produced and most American cheeses are similar to their British ancestors in much the same manner as an American is related to a Brit.

In Spain, I had to settle for weird cheddar-like cheeses, some of them even baring the name “cheddar” without actually being it. I usually ended up buying packs of a thing called Blend of French Cheeses for Salads which were cubes of white and yellow cheese, giving the effect of cojack, without actually being cojack. Since I couldn’t get an actual block of the stuff, I would melt it to make quesadillas, put it in salads, toss it with cold pasta. It was close to what I was looking for, but didn’t have the universality I needed.

Imagine my surprise then when I found actual American-style cheddar cheese in one of my local markets. This has made my life awesome. Really. It’s the simple things that make me happy.