This is going to sound very stereotypical of me, a Dutch person raving about cheese, but I feel like it might offer some insight for people not from The Netherlands, just how much we Dutchies like cheese.
I don’t speak for the entire population, but I am sure a lot of Dutch people can relate.
I grew up eating cheese. In The Netherlands it’s very common to have a lunch consisting of sandwiches with different toppings. One of the main ones being -you guessed it- cheese. I remember my mom making my dad a lunchbox filled with cheese sandwiches. She’s done that for years, and continues to do so till this day. My indoctrination to the wonderful world of cheese was sure helped by the fact that my parents are also big fans. When we would go on holiday one of the highlights always included buying an assortment of local and extra-special cheeses. That’s just what we did, and still do, on vacation.
When I was young I really liked young cheese. The soft-ish one, not spicy, not too much kick to it. I still like this, but over the years I’ve learned to appreciate older cheeses as well. Looking at my parents, I feel that maybe the older we get, the older the cheeses we prefer. My parents also enjoy really, really old cheese. The ones that you can’t cut properly anymore because they just crumble they’re that hard. It’s not ideal for putting on a sandwich but they manage. Or they just eat it plain next to some wine. I’ll have a little bit every now and then, but it’s so strong in taste a little bit is really enough.
Speaking of wine, this really is the best time to have some cheese. It’s very common to see cheese-cubes as a snack around wine o’ clock, along with some olives perhaps, or some sliced sausage. Sometimes on New Year’s eve, instead of having a normal dinner we would have a giant plate of cheese and a whole lot of french bread and toast to put it all on, and just snack on that all night. We’d have your normal yellow Dutch cheeses, but also things like Brie and Camembert, and cream cheeses with different kinds of herbs. I love this type of dinner-style.
So yeah, cheese. We cook with it, put it on pasta, pizza, on broccoli and whathaveyou. We put it in salad, on bread, we eat it plain, we fondue with it, and make the glorious cheesecakes.
Cheese helps me understand vegetarians, and baffles me when it comes to vegans.
I was once asked, if I had to choose to eat no meat for the rest of my life, or no cheese, which would I choose? I thought that was a horrifying question as both outcomes were terrible, but the fact that I didn’t instantly say that I would do away with cheese if it meant giving up meat, made me realize just how much I like the variety and options cheese give us. I hope I will never have to make this choice.
Since my dad now has diabetes and hardly eats sugar anymore, where we used to buy him giant bags of licorice on his birthday, we can now show up with a nice chunk of some premium cheese. He loves it, and so do we.
Cheese will always be something our family can enjoy together. It’s a tradition and a comfort, it’s home.