Saturday, April 14, 2012

Toss Cheese

I have a new cookbook in my collection. It advocates that we sane and healthy people Make a Meal of Cheese.

According to the book, however, only hard British cheeses can be used to make a meal, and despite a chirpy guide to regional hard cheeses (Wensleydale, Cheshire etc), all the recipes use only four to 8 ounces of grated or cubed cheddar. That's all the recipes. ALL of them. Including the recipes for apple crumble, lemon tart and curry.

Yes, cheese curry exists: mattar paneer is delicious, rich and mild good stuff, one of the very few dishes that can convince me (momentarily) that vegetarianism is bearable. Saag paneer, paneer tikka... cheese curry works if the cheese is curry-appropriate and the sauce / preparation is decent. Cheese curry will NOT work if the cheese is cubed cheddar, lying like heavy rubber dice in curry powder soup. Putting sultanas in the mix is just insulting. The 1973 Cheese Information Service, Thames Ditton Surrey: how dare you? Really, really HOW DARE YOU? Cheddar, curry powder AND sultanas... it's a recipe that cynically assumes no one made it out of the 1960s with a braincell or tastebud intact. It's just... rude. As is this:

After scrutinising the recipe many, many incredulous times, I cannot see how or why this is 'toss'. There is no tossing involved. Cheddar, it seems, is a gateway to bad culinary behaviour, and the 1973 Cheese Information Service was perhaps an unwitting warning system of the level of craziness you could reach if you did indeed try to Make a Meal of Cheese. For example: with too much cheese in your diet, you could be led to believe that, honestly, using bananas instead of leeks is an excellent idea.

Too much cheese too close to bedtime can give you nightmares. Too much cheese too often can obviously turn your life into a living nightmare. 1973 Cheese Information Service: thank you for the valuable (and illustrated) lesson in having too much of a good thing and ruining it for everyone.

16.04.12 UPDATE This is why blogging is worth it: until I posted this, I didn't know the The Vintage Cookbook Trials existed. Here, the team at The Vintage Cookbook Trials has dared to MAKE DISHES FROM THIS BOOK and eat them. See the horrors brought to life. And pray for their souls.

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