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“Cheese: a love story”

Weather still utter perfection, we’re so lucky. I’m on the deck as the trees rustle, should be launching my second class of the day right now, the fourth of the week, but the home class writers kindly decided it was a small class and we should cancel. For my sake. I’m grateful, just do not have much in me right now. We’ll resume in September; the U of T class and the seniors group continue till mid-July. Again, what a blessing I love the work that supports me and can do it on Zoom even when I’m not perky. But it’ll be good for us all to have a break. Maybe I can soon start my own writing work again. 

Wanted to tell you about “Cheese: A Love Story,” the marvellous documentary I’m now addicted to, along with its subject. A keen young cheesemonger with the unlikely name Afrim Pristine runs the family cheese business in Toronto and has taken a film crew to explore cheesemaking in Switzerland, France, and, I see, other countries to come, including ours. Last night was France, and I sat there moaning and drooling. No country on earth, he said, devours cheese the way the French do – 50 pounds per person per year of the thousand different varieties. He showed a cheese school in Paris and the cut-throat annual cheese competition and how the best soufflé in Paris is made. He explored the vast underground Napoleonic fortress where thousands of wheels of comté cheese mature, he ate steak frites with a chunk of melting roquefort on top, and cooked a divine dish called tartiflette which was mostly reblochon and potatoes and cream. 

I wanted to get on an airplane. 

No, I didn’t, travel is the furthest thing from my mind right now, but I did want someone to deliver these things to my home and my mouth as soon as possible. Tartiflette NOW! Because of the antibiotics, food has tasted vile for more than a week, and alcohol impossible. But that’s gradually improving. I may actually have to cook something, instead of raiding my freezer and making do. I may have to make a pilgrimage to Pristine’s shop. 

Nice book words: Rick, one of the actors at Patsy’s memorial, is listening to the audiobook I taped of “Loose Woman.” So far I’m finding it very engaging, even suspenseful, moving along at the perfect clip in all senses of the word. I’ll get back to you when I’ve finished.

Seiji Ozawa the famous conductor has Alzheimer’s, and his colleague Zubin Mehta brought him on stage to help conduct a concert. Tears guaranteed. Oh, the power of music.

At my doctor’s office yesterday, I saw this on the wall and read it for the first time, an obit for Dr. Mimi Divinsky. She was our beloved family doctor when we first got to Toronto, a wonderful woman, a social activist with a big conscience and heart who died far too young. Still missed, Mimi. Thank you for everything. 



5 Responses to ““Cheese: a love story””

  1. theresa says:

    A love story about cheese — oh yes! When John used to work part of the time in Vancouver, mostly in May and June, he often went to Les amis du fromage and brought home some lovely choices. That was when I first tried L'edel de cleron and fell in love with its texture and whiff of bark from its wrapping. Some evenings we make a meal of cheese, bread, a few olives, some sausage or smoked salmon, and of course a glass or two of wine. It feels very civilized somehow, doesn't it, to spread a bit of cheese on bread, something humans have been doing for as long as there's been milk! Take care. Soon you'll have your appetite back and you can celebrate with a round of something nice.

  2. beth says:

    What he doesn't show in the doc is the French tradition of the cheese platter after the meal – the fact that in that country, you eat a sublime meal and follow it with sublime cheese, chosen as carefully as any gift or jewel. Unimaginable here. Your meals of cheese, olives, wine – and thou – perfect.

  3. Nick says:

    Mimi was a friend of mine from UBC. It warms my heart, Beth, to see her in your post.

  4. Nick says:

    But then your posts always warm my heart.
    This, by the way, is the first time I’ve ever been able to successfully post a reply.

  5. beth says:

    Hooray, Nick! No idea what has changed, but how good to hear from you, and to remember Mimi together.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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