Sunday, February 12, 2006

Who Moved My Cheese? Part II

Last week I received what I thought was a fabulous package in the mail from Pauline, who lives in London, home of one of the best cheese shops in the world, Neal's Yard Dairy. I opened the envelope to find a marvelous issue of Australian Gourmet magazine, which not only features a lot of drool-worthy food but also a feast of fantastic new Australian vocabulary words. However, when I thanked Pauline for the magazine, she asked me, with worry in her tone, whether there was anything *else* in the package. I rummaged around and dug up a postcard, but that was it.

Both Pauline and I were chagrined, to say the least, that the package she sent me had somewhere been opened and a big piece of the present stolen. That big piece being a book purchased at Neal's Yard all about their cheeses, including the actual bag from the shop. I was, and am, crestfallen. Upon later inspection, I saw that the package had indeed been opened up and re-taped. My theories about the book's departure:

(A) The bag still smelled of cheese and so a customs official tore open the package and threw out the book, not checking to see that it was actually a book and not cheese.

(B) The bag still smelled of cheese and so a customs official tore open the package to find a book about raw-milk cheeses, substances SO DANGEROUS to Americans that even reading a book about them would constitute treason, and so threw out the seditious tome while sending the food magazine on its way to me, even though the food magazine ALSO contains an article about Australian raw-milk cheeses.

(C) There is a cheese fiend with an amazing sense of smell who lives on my block and could smell the book through the packaging while it was sitting on my doorstop.

Whatever the case, I am PISSED. Not only was the book pricey, but the shipping was exorbitant. Pauline, I must apologize for my country's overeager cheese-sniffers.


In other, better news, Michele and Burke and Andy and I had a very cholesterol-filled wonderful day yesterday in Northampton, just scraping home in the nick of time to avoid the worst of the blizzard that hit in the wee hours. We can't even get our car off the street now, but on yesterday's sunny morning we all got into in Michele and Burke's car and drove an hour north for a lot of walking around cute shops and the Smith College campus, ogling of the adorable chocolate mice that I want to keep as pets at L. A. Burdick's, and eating a steady diet of heart attack food:

- Steamed eggs with herbed cream sauce and Moroccan spiced home fries at Amanouz
- Ice cream from Herrell's in flavors like burnt sugar, Twinkies, butternut squash, orange Dutch chocolate, mud pie, and coconut
- the lightest, thinnest onion rings ever, a slab of melted Manchego cheese on a salad, and -- for me -- a divinely inspired baked macaroni and cheese with huge chunks of lobster folded in, followed by dessert of warm pumpkin and cornbread pudding in rum and vanilla Anglaise at our new addiction called the Good News Cafe

After a day like that, we hardly needed dinner tonight at our favorite nearby restaurant, Le Petit Cafe in Branford. And it might have been too much of a good thing to have two exquisite meals in two days. But, still, it was with much heaviness of heart that we cancelled our reservation with them due to our inability to get the car out of its plowed-in parking spot. Let alone up the snowbound coast road. Tonight would have been a perfect night for their duck cassoulet! And we haven't been there in such a while. I guess there's always next weekend for a post-Valentine's day feast. Tonight instead I made a big batch of Brazilian chicken stew (which involves lots of ginger and zero ass-crack hair). I am excited about making little coeurs a la creme for V-day dessert. And, mark my words, I WILL have some of that cassoulet before the month ends.


At 5:17 AM, Blogger acechick said...

It was The Real Cheese Companion and you'll just have to come over and buy it yourself. ;)

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Mona said...

That totally blows, to put it lightly. I cannot believe that!!!!!!!! I am so sorry for you AND Pauline. How cruel!
How was the snow in your neck of the woods?

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Mrs. Delicious said...

Hi Mona -- the snow here was great -- though nowhere near as much as fell on NYC! I was tempted to take the train down and just wander through the empty streets! A good day for chicken stew.


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