Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cheese, Glorious Cheese

Magnet # 147: Milwaukee Cheese and Mouse

Material: Clay

Purchased By: Jessica

Now this is a celebration I can get into! Today is Cheese Day, a delightful time to remember one of the yummiest ways possible to get more dairy in your diet, eating cheese. And how perfect is this adorable magnet by Clay Critters to post on this day. It's definitely a favorite of mine, even if it might be a little unsettling. Let's put it this way - I'd much rather see this on my fridge than in it.

Yes, I love cheese. I might be able to give up some foods, like perhaps meat, but never cheese. I think I eat cheese almost every day. And I nearly always have a bag of shredded sharp cheddar and one of Parmesan in my fridge. They really come in handy when I decide to have spaghetti or a salad on the spur of the moment. I admit, as much as I love cheese, there are a few kinds I stay away from. I'm just not a fan of the taste of blue cheese, or that of Swiss. And American isn't nearly as tasty as cheddar and isn't that far off from eating plastic. But there are plenty more I love. In addition to cheddar and Parmesan, I enjoy Mozzarella, ricotta, Monterrey Jack, provolone, Bree, feta, Gouda - the list goes on and on. Even if cheese can be fattening, it does have nutritional benefits, like plenty of calcium that's good for growing strong bones and teeth. Cheese also may have an antibacterial effect on the mouth and it produces saliva, which can flush away harmful acids and sugars. Vitamin B12, which is critical for the brain and nervous system and aids in the formation of blood, can likewise be found in cheese. And, although there is a misconception that cheese can cause nightmares, one study suggested it actually has a positive effect on dreams. It even has tryptophan, an amino acid that can reduce stress and induce sleep. Of course, it also has lactose, so those of you who are lactose intolerant had better take an appropriate pill before indulging.

So celebrate this day the way it's intended - by eating lots of yummy, delicious cheese! If I haven't given you enough options to choose from already, here's another one. A lesser-known favorite of mine that's imported from Spain is Manchego. It's made from the whole milk of Manchego sheep in the La Mancha region of the country. It's aged in natural caves from three to six months and has a light yellow or white color and a kind of salty taste. It's produced in barrels, so you can usually find it in those little triangular wedges at the grocery store. Because it's imported, Manchego can be a little expensive, but it really is delicious. I'd recommend it with some crackers and maybe cured meats on a special occasion, which today technically is. Regardless of your choice of cheese, if you are a cheese lover, this is a day to celebrate. So hats off to those who produce these delicious cheeses all around the world - and to the rest of you, bon appetite!

2 comments:

  1. Mmmmm, had four varieties today:

    Slice of American on an Egg McMuffin this morning; some mozzarella and ricotta on a calzone for lunch, and mizithra on my spaghetti for dinner.

    If I'd only known it was Cheese Day I might have really tried to get some. ;-)

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  2. Yep, you really dropped the ball (hee).

    I had a four cheese blend on my Southwestern salad - very tasty.

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