by Caren Crane
(With many apologies to the lactose intolerant among us.)
I love cheese. Not only the traditional loves like cheddar, gouda, swiss, edam and monterey jack, but also the more exotic varieties like Camembert, Danish Havarti, brie, Stiltson, bleu and feta. I adore this milk-based product in many forms (some of them stinky, but all delicious) but this post is about something else: real cheese.
The cheese you are ashamed to love. The guilty pleasure you allow yourself only when you are all alone in the house or car. Or perhaps with a select few treasured friends who share your forbidden fantasy.
Here is a list of some of my all-time favorite cheese. Some I have admitted to before. Some represent ground-breaking territory that could totally be used against me in public. For the Banditas and BBs, I bare my cheesy soul:
1. Big Trouble In Little China - This movie stars Kurt Russell, who is one of the funniest, sexiest actors of all time. Kurt is a man's man and in no role is he more manly than that of truck driving, John Wayne channeling Jack Burton. Director David Carpenter made this movie in 1986 as a spoof of the old Westerns, except he set it in modern times. It was sort of a B-grade, Saturday matinee sort of movie with lots of kung fu, magic, monsters, enslavement of beautiful girls, and Chinese gang warfare in San Francisco's Chinatown. A young Kim Cattrall is exceptional as a nosy lawyer who is a spunky, feminist, world-saving cliché. ALL the characters are rather over-the-top, making the movie endlessly entertaining and a verifiable port wine cheese ball.
2. ELO - Yes, I mean the Electric Light Orchestra. For those born after 1980, ELO was the brainchild of British musician Jeff Lynne. He wanted to create pop songs with heavily classical overtones. Man, did he ever succeed! Out Of the Blue, a double album (yes, that was a PRESSED VINYL ALBUM, kids), was probably my favorite slice of ELO cheese. It contained such treasures as Turn To Stone, Sweet Talkin' Woman and Mr. Blue Sky. Let's not forget, however, the McCheesy goodness of other hit singles such as Livin' Thing, Can't Get It Out Of My Head, Evil Woman, Showdown, Telephone Line (extra cheese, please), and Strange Magic (which, when I was a girl, was about as close to an out-of-body experience as I could get). People love or hate ELO. But come on, they had 46 U.S. and U.K. Top 40 hit singles from 1972 to 1986. Forty-freaking-six!! Surely that proves that I was not the only one snacking on this particular slice of extra-creamy gouda.
3. Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book - From the inital admonishment inside the cover ("This Book is to be Read in Bed"), this classic bedtime book is a real childhood gem. It begin with the news that just came in from the County of Keck about a bug named Van Vleck who is yawning so wide you can look down his neck. It takes us from the peculiar phenomenon of the spreading yawn, to bedtime activities like the Herk-Heimer sisters brushing their teeth under a waterfall, through some rather odd sleepwalking, sleep-talking and sleep-biting rituals, to various sleeping habits, places and spaces. It leaves us with an assurance that when we turn out OUR light, the sleep tally will be ninety-nine zillion, nine trillion and three. It always made me extra sleepy (I was always ready to sleep!) and happy to be a contributor to the Whose Asleep Count. A special slice of American cheese.
4. The Sound Of Music - Two words: Julie Andrews. Two more: Rodgers & Hammerstein. Really, anything starring Julie Andrews ranks up there in my wheel of cheese, but TSOM has a special place in my heart. Just last night, at Deb Marlowe's Independence Day Bash, my two daughters, Sabrina Jeffries and I all spontaneously joined in a rousing version of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? while we burned sparklers. *sigh* A great moment of sublime oneness for us, a fond remembrance for the other women in attendance (especially darling Deb) and a complete and utter WTF moment for males of all ages who were in attendance. They totally don't get it. Deb said, "I'm coming to your house to watch Sound Of Music with you guys!" Yes, she is. I could never deny a woman in need of a cheese fix. And Sound Of Music is the very best sort of cheese fondue!
I could go on all day, but you get a sense of my kind of cheese. I love to be entertained and the cheesier it is, the better I like it. I could wax rhapsodic about the movies of Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser. Sing you my guilty music pleasures like ABBA and WHAM! The cheesy romance novels are far too many to count. Let me leave it at admitting that Lavyrle Spencer has a sacred segment of my Keeper Shelf all to herself! Just to be extra evil, I slid in the codes so you can click on any of the above images and buy that hunk of cheese for yourself. Hey, I never said I wasn't an enabler. *eg*
What sort of guilty, cheesy pleasure do you indulge in? We promise any information you reveal will never leave the Lair. Unless we all get together in, say, San Francisco and the margaritas are flowing freely. *ahem* Discretion, that's the word! So, what's your favorite kind of cheese?