Who Moved My (Macaroni &) Cheese?

As I mature, I recognize that very little ages better than me besides good cheese. Truly a country girl raised on the red clay in rural Georgia, my experience with cheese began humbly with “a block of...” (and I’m still not sure what constituted said block, which was/is FABULOUS in the occasional great pan of baked macaroni & cheese).  After college, I’d graduated to the grand luxury that “a slice of...” brought to a cold-cut sandwich or, dare I say, a mound of Oodles of Noodles?  [insert gulp here]

Over the years, I’ve grown to appreciate the ‘less is more’ approach with some of my favorite cheeses. I’ll even admit that my palate has become somewhat more sophisticated as I can hardly fathom giving up the random cheddar cheese omelet.

GET INTO CHEESES WITH THESE TIPS:

Cheese selection is personal. There are nearly as many cheeses as there are taste buds.  Take a pass at web-based resources that approach cheese from a variety of angles from beginners’ to advanced, and hobbyist to consumer.

Visit a cheesemonger or market that offers a variety of cheeses for regular tastings. Make it a practice to learn about and taste a couple of new cheeses each week or so; thus, becoming more educated and indexing your preferences. One of my favorite gourmet markets is Star Provisions. Their cheesemonger, Tim Gaddis, never steers me wrong. I have learned quite a bit under Tim’s informal tutelage and continue to be open to his suggestions.

Experiment with simple recipes that allow the appreciation of cheeses’ flavors. Recently, I decided to experiment with gruyere.  Who knew that it made a delightful adult grilled cheese sandwich? Paired with a flute of champagne, ‘twas the hit of a Friday night party with friends.

Shameeka Ayers is an Atlanta-based lifestyle blogger and author who dispenses entertaining, shelter and food & wine anecdotes and advice via her alter ego, The Broke Socialite. She also produces a national tour of curated dessert-tasting experiences, Sugar Coma Events™.  Her first novella, Instantly: How Quickly I Realized I Hate My Job will be published in 2012.