Thoughts From a Cheese Intern
In the spring, I had a terrific intern from Saint Joseph’s University who assisted me with photo shoots, events, and design projects in exchange for many cheese boards. Recently, she offered to write a guest post about her dairy transformation. Please welcome Erin Konigsdorffer…
My name is Erin and I, recent college graduate and acolyte of Madame Fromage, find myself trying to summarize what it is like to be a “cheese intern.” That’s not my formal title but it’s pretty accurate. What else would you call a girl fawning over the delicacy of a brie rind or the texture of a sheep’s milk cheese? Cheese fanatic? Maybe that too.
In my last semester at Saint Joseph’s University, Tenaya gave me the opportunity to take a step into the world of cheese. Honestly, I had no idea that by the end I would be seriously considering the struggles of cheese packaging or admiring the subtle cream lines of a new particular cheese rendezvous. It’s as natural as falling asleep – one second you’re admiring the tasty nuts and hard cheeses without much thought and then suddenly you’re lecturing someone on a properly relaxed cheese.
So to be a cheese intern is: You make eyes at Melville from across the room – he’s all briny and mellow and svelte on the tongue. Someone else has to get the jam because you’re too busy swooning. And then, there is a hushed reverence to your voice in discussing Witchgrass’ ashy, wild appearance. You start to find yourself dreaming of pairings – breads, crackers, an endless dance of fruits and spreads and veggies galore behind closed eyelids. Your friends take you to bars for a cheese plate or two.
A cheese intern stares at packages, labels, delights in the lacey sticker of Paski Sir and contemplates cheese cards late into the night. You take to concocting pairings – honey, a slow cured sausage, and a smear of goat cheese. And those inevitable bites that are shoved into the mouth of a loved one with the accompanying phrase, “You HAVE to try this.”
Of course, no one warned me of these dangers. I was deep in thought, considering cheese mongers and the fonts they use on descriptive cheese placards when someone asked, “But cheese isn’t that complicated, is it?” And I gave it a thought.
Perhaps it’s the cheese world’s best kept secret: that cheese, in all its complexity – sweet, salty, buttery, crumbly, funky, the list goes on – the entry fee is to just eat it. Eat the Midnight Moon, covet your neighbor’s Fat Cat, and go searching for your own Blow Horn to keep your mouth busy. And then, when you’ve sampled those, go find something new. To be a cheese intern, an acolyte, the novitiate of cheese is to realize that all you have to do is keep eating your way forward.