Cheese, Utensils and Other Things.

When I was high school age, one of my best friends in the world blew my mind in the grocery store.  She told me that what I had been putting on my "grilled cheese" sandwiches and "cheeseburgers" was not real cheese.  I stopped in my tracks and promptly began arguing my case in the dairy aisle.

      - Get outta here!  On the commercial they say it's cheese.  That's cheese!

I continued my rant and she slowly, silently guided me over to the "cheese" section and picked up a package of my precious cheese.  There it was.  Cheese was right in front of my face.

      - They don't even call it cheese themselves.  They call it cheese food.  Look.

I investigated.  Dammit, I had been duped!  As an adult I realize the power of marketing.  They put the yellow product up and put it on a sandwich and a cute kid eats the sandwich and the viewer says that was cheese.  But on the commercial they were calling them "slices".  They never actually said cheese.  I went back and looked at an old commercial...

That's right.  Leonardo DiCaprio was in on fooling me!  One of the top five actors of this generation took part in making me look stupid.  Notice that they never called it cheese.  And in the grocery store that package said "singles" and "cheese food".  So now I was in complete idiot mode and teenage me asked my friend what a three-year old asks mommy.

      - What's cheese?

She nodded and led my dumb ass to the deli section.  My brain was in the process of exploding at the time so I don't know if she led me by the collar or not.  I do know that I gazed at the ground poring over the "cheese food" I had put on sandwiches, burgers, spaghetti and grits all those years.  I was angry at my mom for calling this cheese:

Now it doesn't even look like cheese to me.  It looks like deception.  In the deli section I found out that this is cheese:

The deli attendant sliced the cheese for us and now we had REAL "singles".  From then on I took every opportunity to enlighten anyone around me to this cheespiphany.  At cookouts, birthday parties, you name it.  Don't arm me with knowledge.  I will rub everyone's face in their ignorance. (insert evil laugh)

Of course Swedie knew what cheese was already when I met her.  It's hard to find "singles" at the grocery store here.  You can find real cheese slices.  You have to go to the "American Food" aisle for the fake stuff.  You know, where you can get barbecue sauce and diabetes cereals (the best!).  When Swedie came to the States for her first extended visit, we went to the grocery store.  When it came time to buy cheese, she grabbed a block of cheese.  I had been going to the deli to get my cheese sliced, but whatever.  We were in the "puppy love" phase so she could have whatever she wanted.  I had a good knife at home anyway.  We got home and she went through my utensil drawer.  She asked me if I had a "cheese thing".  Then she made a motion with her hand like she was playing a violin.  I was lost.  She said it was a thing for cutting cheese.  I pulled out this thing:

I always called this a cheese grater.  She shook her head.  This was not what she was talking about.  It was something that you use with your hand.  What?!  Look at it!  Four sides of cheese-slicing glory.  What more could you want?  She chose to use a knife.  I explained to her that getting cheese like this is was normally a welfare thing.  Big blocks of cheese are issued by the government.  Not bought willingly.  Then for her next visit, she brought this thing:

It's called an osthyvel. Cheese slicer.  You hold it with your hand and glide it across the top of a block of cheese.  My mind was blown again!  Two cheese-related mind explosions aren't supposed to happen in one lifetime are they? I stole the one Swedie brought.  My sister stole one when Swedie went to visit her.  We went to IKEA and bought one when we moved to the States.  I literally use this utensil at least four days a week.  Likely more.

I happen to be eating breakfast while writing this.  My breakfast reflects the change the Swedish kitchen has brought to my life.

An osthyvel sliced that perfect portion of cheese on that bread.  Bread?  Yes that cracker looking thing is bread.  Knäckebröd to be exact.  Those white shot glasses?  Those are egg cups.  I used to eat eggs like a caveman:  Throw salt and pepper at it.  Snatch it up and take a bite.  Slam it back down and let it roll around my plate until it stops.  Dip it in the salt an pepper again and try not to bite a finger off as I attack the egg on the second go-round.  Suck the salt/pepper/yolk mix off my thumb/fingers.  Then go kill dinner.  But now I soft-boil the egg (yolk kind of milky) and take off the top part of the shell.  Then place it in the egg cup and eat it with a tea spoon like royalty.  I prefer a bit of seasoned salt on mine so I scoop it from a sushi soy sauce dish and delicately sprinkle it on the egg.  Swedish order wins the morning. 

As I go through my kitchen, I see some definite changes.  All of my life I used a metal butter knife (also a great replacement for a screwdriver).  Here they're wooden.

We may have these home but I was never a tea drinker.  When I did drink tea, it was Lipton tea from tea bags.  Swedie brought this utensil.  It's a tea strainer.  You squeeze it to open the strainer side and release pressure so it closes on the tea leaves.  Then drop it in hot water and let it sit for a bit so your water gets the flavor from the tea leaves.  I like this little gadget.  Since moving here my tea intake has increased, so I use this little guy from time to time.

Not all of our utensils are cool.  I just wanted to add that I HATE our spoons and forks.  I'm sure Swedie will read this and I hope she takes the cue and throws these sets away.  They are suicidal anyway.  Every time I am walking to the dining room/living room from the kitchen with one of these on the plate, it does a dive to the floor.  The weight distribution is off or something.  It's like they're bottom heavy.  It's only better for Bash if these are out of my life because I use very colorful language whenever they make the dive.  He doesn't need to learn how to cuss out silverware at a young age.

When we sent our things from the States, I made sure to keep some utensils I'm used to.  They have practical uses.  That cheese grater does wonders to carrots for salad. My egg beater is awesome when brunch time comes around.  Some things are just good for nostalgia.  Plus my measuring cups are in "American" measurements.  I'm still not ready for the metric system.  That mind-blowing is for another day.  Until next time...


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