When Border’s went belly up, we paid under $2.00 for $138.00 worth of books. In the stack was a book titled ‘Immortal Milk: Adventures in Cheese.’ Jac had picked it out and I would not have given it a second look, but I was looking for a book of the month and before I knew it, I was stealing away to devour it.
Let me tell you, a pregnant lady and sensual, visceral descriptions of wonderful food was a powerful combination. I could hear the authors voice as I read and his words were moving and inspiring. I would underline passages and wait breathlessly for Jac to come upstairs so I could read my favorite passages aloud. I drooled, I pined, I coveted the cheeses described. Alas, the only cheeses worth writing about are ALIVE or unpasturized and living cheeses and pregnancy don’t mix.
I poured over cheese names and regions. I hunted the refrigerated aisles of Sam’s Club for fancy cheeses and stalked the gourmet grocer’s cheese menus. I dreamed about visiting France and tasting cheese made in the Pyrenees. I fantasizes about cheese plates and wine flights and profiles of flavor never experienced before. When I read that a cheese held your mouth hostage or punched the throat or tasted of grass, I salivated and counted the days when I might experience those sensations myself. I tried to appease my palate with good Tilamook cheddar and copious mounts of cream cheese, but I couldn’t fool myself. The mouth knows what the stomach wants.
I think I was nearly as excited about some nice Gouda or Brie as I was to meet Gemma. I made plans to spend my Christmas gift from Nana Mickey on a trip to the Corn Exchange. Really, what could be a more romantic Valentine’s outing than a nice, stinky cheese tasting? Gemma arrived and I celebrated with a corn dog, but my heart was set on a soft cheese.
Our beautiful girl had a rash on her face that we assumed would clear up in a week, but a month came and went and she was still blotchy. One Sunday, she woke up with swollen eyes, and the rash had turned fiery, raised and weepy. I wondered if it had been the wonderful homemade Mac and cheese I had gorged on the evening before. Could it be . . . milk?. I prayed it was a coincidence but further experimentation proved it to be true.
The little lady is lactose intolerant.
Milk was cut immediately. Then whey and lactase and with them, all good things. Butter, chocolate, cocoa, ranch dressing, pancakes, buttermilk biscuits, ice cream, yogurt, whipped cream and, of course, cheese. CHEESE.
The irony that in order for Gemma’s milk to be the best for her means no milk for me, is not lost on this mom.
So, I continue to dream of cheese. I slice the Tilamook for the kids and vow never to take it for granted again. I won’t turn my back on my beloved nacho cheese. And when she’s weaned? Popcorn, extra butter please or ice cream every night. I will make chocolate chip cookies and binge on pancakes as often as possible.
And I will eat cheese.