No, No, Mimolette
April 20, 2004

So I "larned" my Mimolette today.

I told that story, the story of Mimolette, to every customer I met.

See, everyone is entranced by the look of Mimolette. Because it's orange, and bumpy, and orange. They're all, "Ooh, honey, look at that cheese! What is that cheese?" and I'm all "Well, it's orange. And it's a cheese." They stare. I go on, "'s FRENCH!" What else can I say?

When I first tasted it, I was completely under-whelmed. It was really waxy. It got stuck in my teeth. And it was fairly bland. Two days after the round had been cracked open, the taste was completely different. It was deeper, smokier. It had character, talent, and a body that just wouldn't quit.

Plus, I now had a story.

The first story I had was that it was Charles de Gaulle's favorite cheese, "But" The Cheese Primer noted, "He had been eating Army food for too many years." Perhaps, but he also had Jacques Pepin as his personal chef, so the guy couldn't have been a complete gastroNOme. Anyway, I found a much better story to tell.

Back in the day of Louis XIV the French were eating kilos of Edam. The Frenchy King didn't exactly like that, so he made the French create their own take on Edam. They did. They also made it orange to contrast with Dutch Edam. "Hm, orange?" I tell my customers. Most of the intelligent ones laugh knowingly. If my father was there he'd treat them all to a lecture about the Dutch, the House of Orange, and how they dominated the world in every possible field. As a "Vander Weide," I'm bred to agree. In the long run it was just the shoemaking that tripped them up, right Dad?

I told that story over and over and over. I mean, it was easy because everyone who walked by ("Oooh, cheese!") kept gravitating to the Day-Glo wedge. With the hard bumps and the geometric shape of a small basketball, it's also a bitch to cut. It rolls and rocks and jitterbugs enough that I start to worry about my fingers getting in the way of The Wire. Not like my eye, which actually did get in the way of The Wire.

Didn't I tell you about that? Oh, man!

Right, so I'm cutting a wedge of my favorite cheese, Humboldt Fog, for this mother and son. I'm chatting, I'm cheesing, and I grab the wire and start to pull through this very soft cheese when *TWAYAYAYANG*! Barely a real pull and the tail-end of the wire zings up and snaps me in the eye.

In the eye.

In the eye.

In the eye.

Sorry. I couldn't see what I was typing.

Right, so eye. In. The. We're all up to speed, are we?

"Please excuse me," I tell my terrified customers as I clap one hand over my EYE and back away with the broken wire still grasped in one fist, "My associate cheesemonger attend you."

In the backroom our accountant takes a look at me -- I'm only seeing half of her at this point -- and assures me that there is no blood. That was my big fear, you know, that my lack of vision was because of cascades of blood and not because of, well, BLINDNESS! Wow. That sounds like I was lashing out at our accountant. I really wasn't. See, I have this weird fear of blood that seems to outweigh any Helen Keller issues I might be developing.

I remember my mother telling me years ago that when the eye sees something coming at it, it has the smarts to close up real fast. I remember the specifics of this because I somehow had gotten a yellow Barbie brush jabbed in my eye and was in considerable pain.

Anyway, I sat back there with a coldish compress over my eye until I stopped seeing black spots and green cheese. Eventually, I steeled myself to look in the little mirror taped on the back of the door. One eye looked like it was living a clean life -- you know, eating carrots, going to church, and getting a good night's sleep every night. The other looked like a crack whore. However, since I could actually see now, I went back out to the counter.

I'm hardcore like that -- come rain, come sleet, come blinding wire, the cheese must be sold! My terrified customers were just on their way out and they were very solicitous of my eye. Poor people, I hope I didn't traumatize them too much. Consider my eye when you go onto CERTAIN food boards that complain about our service. I almost lost my eye in the pursuit of that service, dammit, what more do you want!?

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