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American (Cheese) Pride


An Artisanal Cheese ripening cave; the hungry masses; an Artisanal basket o' love

Lucky enough to score an invite to the New York Cheeses Showcase at the Artisanal Cheese Center today (mmm... local beer and cheese...), I simultaneously trashed my diet and developed a global political theory.

Somewhere between Artisanal God Terrance Brennan’s bold boast, “They'll be talking about American cheeses in Europe very, very soon...” and Master Fromager Max McCalman’s swoon, “This is the cheese that makes me proud to be an American,” your Hedonista had a tiny epiphany.

Have you noticed we’re not very popular out there in the world lately? Torturing war prisoners and violating standard international battle protocol doesn’t really warm the hearts of neighboring nations or do a lot for our national self-esteem. But I believe we can hit two birds with one stone. Or one cheese, maybe.

Here’s the deal: We’ve been going about this whole American Pride thing all wrong. Instead of investing money and creative manpower in global financial and military domination, we should really be wooing the world where it counts… the tummy.

France and Germany have had their share of international political fiascoes, but who remembers such things when they ply us with Champagne and truffles and invent the Oktoberfest?

Who’s going to stay angry with us when we tempt them with our own national culinary treasures? (We could start out with some crispy Empire apples and that yummy Brovetto Dairy Harpersfield Tilsit-style cheese washed in Ommegang beer...)

Let's invent a few more quality food holidays. Ship out the pies. Pass out the brownies. Let them eat cake... And beer... And cheese. Call it soft power, good karma, or positive public relations. I’d call it just plain neighborly.

11.16.2004

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