May 5, 2008

That cheese shop on Bedford Avenue.

I loved the literary experience. Click on "enlarge" to read the cheese blurbs:

Literary cheese

Literary cheese

Literary cheese

But in the end, I made my selection not by reading but by letting the cheese seller know what I was looking for. She had 3 ideas and gave me 3 thin slices to test. All 3 were great, so I said, "Can you give me a small amount of each of the 3?" And what I really loved, more than the cheeses and the writing, was that she cut and wrapped a small amount of each of the small cheeses without ever saying anything like "A small amount? Do you mean like 2 or 3 ounces?" She just cut small amounts. The place was truly literary, you see, and there was no need to get arithmetic about it.

So that was the Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn, New York.


Ron said...

I had a similar post about cheese at Zingerman's...I'm lovin' the cheese... Do a video from Katz's!

Richard Dolan said...

And you're going to leave all of that behind, plus beautiful flowery Brooklyn that you've been posting about, just to head back to dreary old Wisonsin? Where they wear shorts? And don't have an ocean? Or, really, much of anything else?


vbspurs said...

Or, really, much of anything else?

Dude, they have good cheese.

At least, so I thought when I ordered this from The Wisconsin Cheeseman via Amazon. Inedible. Cute cow crock though.


KLDAVIS said...

St. Marcellin...the taste of Lyon.


George said...

Lady, you must be rich.

At my house, it's Kraft Singles, the Happy Sandwich food.

$1.99 a pound, maybe. Sometimes we go nuts and splurge on cheddar, the store-brand block. Ain't buying no Rufus Pierre.

And those little fancy cheese coolers in grocery stores? They exist to trick shoppers into thinking Kroger (or A&P) is a classy joint. No one buys those little dead things. It's a sales psychology trick.

rhhardin said...

Kroger has World Cheeses as well. Which moreover stand alone.

Also, today, a visit to the Kroger Corn Shoppe, and the Personal Watermelon Shoppe.

The city has nothing on Middle America.

Eli Blake said...


Let me get this straight, Ann.

You left Wisconsin and now you're hanging around sniffing cheese.

Definitely time for you to go back.

I've only been to Wisconsin once, in the summer of 2001 and I still have some of the cheese I bought there in my refrigerator. Being a Mormon, I can't drink wine so I save the cheese for special occasions when anyone else would open a fine bottle of wine.

But the rest of the time, I'm with George, and have the Colby longhorn that comes from Safeway. Living in rural Arizona where you have to drive a long way to get anywhere and paying the same price for gas as everywhere else, even the brick of Kraft cheddar is a luxury. The good news is we have almost an acre where we can plant our garden this summer. If you had an acre of New York City, I guarantee nobody would be crazy enough to use it to grow watermelons.

Donna B. said...

so, was the one "smelled like a proctologist's finger after a long day" one of the three you bought?

or was that "busy day?"

Personally I prefer cheeses that smell like gym shoes.

Jennifer said...

What a delightful store. The fact that the uh...cheese lady (?) is all the way in New York and even knows what Deschutes Brewery is...? Awesome.

vbspurs said...

George, I confess I adore cheese, and Kraft Singles can hit the spot.

But if I were to cut off a slice of Melton Mowbray, you'd die and go to heaven.

It's known as Stilton, familiarly.

Come on, live a little! Even at $29 per lb. (yikes).

Paddy O. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O. said...

I imagine you were sitting in the public library skimming through "Rogue Herrys" by Hugh Walpole, when you suddenly came over all peckish, and thought to yourself, "a little fermented curd will do the trick," so, you curtailed your Walpoling activites, sallied forth, and infiltrated this place of purveyance to negotiate the vending of some cheesy comestibles!

You neglected to mention which three satisfied both your epicurean and aesthetic endeavor.

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

The cheese looks fabulous but the degrading comments regarding George W would forbid me from shopping there.

Fellow republicans, I sense a picket at the store to demand they take down the offensive George W comment. Obviously, they hate American and are not patriotic.

Good luck getting these cheeses in Wisconsin. They got Cheddar, American, Swiss, Cheese Curds and Cheese Spread-which they spread on everything.

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

Was there any uncut Paki Hog cheese at the cheese shop?

dbp said...

It is like a bizaro version of "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

A retail transaction which goes pleasingly right.

I love it when that happens!

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

Shopping at that fancy cheese store makes you elitist.

I bet Obama gets his arugula there.

Afterwards, you probably drank latte and read the New York Times.

Chip Ahoy said...

Small amounts of three each? Oh, you're welcome. That'll be $60.00.

Chip Ahoy said...

rhhardin; re: corn shoppe. Gack! Now will you please pass the eye bleach?

Chip Ahoy said...

So I ask the guy at the farmer's market who sold me the chèvre (a small cylinder shape for $1,000,000.00. <--possible exaggeration) if I could visit his farm and see them make cheese, and he goes, "Sure," and I go, "Really, where is it?" And he goes, "It's at Haystack Mountain right outside Boulder." And I go, "Ha ha ha ha! Haystack Mountain." And he goes, "No, really. There's this mountain shaped just like a haystack sticking right up outa' nowhere." So I go there, take a personal tour all over the place and learn all the details about how to milk goats and make cheese and see the cutest little goats.

rhhardin said...

"Can you give me a small amount of each of the 3?" And what I really loved, more than the cheeses and the writing, was that she cut and wrapped a small amount of each of the small cheeses without ever saying anything like "A small amount? Do you mean like 2 or 3 ounces?" She just cut small amounts.

Stanley Cavell:

In precision, in accuracy, in the power of communication, ordinary concepts are the equal of mathematical. The ordinary (nonmathematical) concepts are by no means the equal of the (ordinary) mathematical in, let us say, abstractness, or universality, or completeness. To say that concepts of ordinary langauge do not determine the first, or the succession, or the interval of their instances is perhaps to say that the instances falling under an ordinary concept do not form a series. (Of course for various purposes we might order them in a series, for example, according to size or color - say all the instances in this field falling under the concept ``red apple.'' But nothing, under ordinary circumstances, could in general carve these things from all other things more perfectly than ``red apple.'' This is not praise of the ordinary, but a noting of its humdrum perfection. In certain circumstances it will not work well : certain apples in the field are disguised as pears or change color unpredictably. Then mathematics will not help either.) To say that ordinary concepts are not mathematically precise means just that ordinary concepts are not mathematical; it does not mean that ordinary concepts are not precise...

Put otherwise, ``Ordinary concepts are not precise'' is not exactly false but roughly ambiguous...[M]athematical [concepts] are not more precise but, one might say, give precision a certain shape...[Our inclination] to say that ordinary concepts lack something, wants to say something more. The something more it wants to say Wittgenstein diagnoses as sublimizing...[Sublimizing] is the wish not of the mathematician but that of the philosopher.

Conditions Handsome and Unhandsome : The Constitution of Emersonian Perfectionism, p.90-91

Chip Ahoy said...

Cutest little goats.

Larry said...

Wow! Customer Service!

What a concept.

And in New York.

(I've seen that sort of thing before.

Now if the would just ship the fresh dill pickle things (I don't even know the right name.)

Palladian said...

Speaking of Obama and cheese, I saw the perfect tribute to Barack Obama at a cheese shop the other day.

The tag reads:

"It looks like French Pont-l'Évêque, it's named after a certain Illinois senator, and it's from northern Vermont. It must be one of Laini Fondiller's new creations. While her goats are taking it easy during the winter, the not-so-lazy lady is buying organic milk from her neighbors and whipping up new cheeses. Like its French cousin, this cheese is beefy, yeasty and salty, it has a woodsy pungency and a melting texture similar to Försterkäse."

"Beefy, yeasty and salty"? I wonder if it's also "snore-y and stinky"? Anyway, just like Barack, it "looks like French, it's cultured, beefy, has that "melting texture" that's so good in an international crisis, and is positively runny when you poke through the pungent rind. And, because of these qualities, and because of its outrageous price, it only sells on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

I don't know why it's spelled "Barick". Maybe that's cheese humor.

vbspurs said...

the perfect tribute to Barack Obama at a cheese shop the other day.

Fantastic. Worthy of a write-up in the NYT, so guard your sources carefully, Palladian.

"snore-y and stinky"

Sweet. Humanising. It's like Jenna Bush on Ellen, calling her parents, only more intimate.

Maybe that's cheese humor.

Right. Brick Cheese. But it's from Wisconsin and not Vermont.

One day, I will write up a blogpost on foodstuffs named after people (famous or not). Reuben sandwich, Elena Ruz sandwich, Peaches Melba, etc.

Any tips (over at Sundries, my blog) would be greatly appreciated. :)


Chip Ahoy said...

fresh dill pickle things = gerkins?

peter hoh said...

I'm a little disappointed by the missing apostrophe.

Victoria, I'm so sorry that you made that purchase from the Wisconsin Cheeseman. There are some real cheesemakers in Wisconsin who age their cheeses in caves and all that, but they don't sell spread in crocks.

k said...

Urgh. I have such a hard time with cheese. *Everything* smells like a proctologist's finger. And I can't get off that image. I used to have to leave the room when my husband grated Parmesan onto his spaghetti.
THAT smells like puke. Plain old, like what you had to get the janitor to clean off the floor with disinfectant in grade school. I blame my Chinese heritage, where dairy products are mostly unknown (historically).

OK, I will do some processed American. And grocery store Swiss. But man, even the fondue has to be pretty bland for me. Otherwise, well... you know...

Theo Boehm said...

What with the global food crisis, isn't it a little unseemly to focus on elite foods?  Althouse wouldn't want to be seen as a food snob in this climate, would she?

There's already a bit of the anti-foodie vibe upthread with Kraft singles references, Kroger, etc.

I'm being upbraided for being a music snob elsewhere, so I think it's only fair to point out other areas of snobbery and conspicuous consumption that have real-world environmental impacts.  Last time I noticed, playing Bach didn't use much grain or contribute to global warming.  Unfortunately, you can't say that about cheese production.

Here is a UK study (PDF)
which has a section on the effects of cheese production.

A bit from the summary of dairy products' impact:

The EIPRO analysis suggests that milk and other dairy products account for around 5% of global warming potential, 10% of eutrophication potential and 4% of photochemical ozone creation potential across the EU.  Fluid milk is one of the "top 10" contributors to total impacts for all of the environmental themes considered except ozone depletion.

If you read this report and other similar ones, you will come away with the unmistakable lesson that the only sustainable and morally acceptable diet is a vegan one.

So, how can Althouse justify spending money on wasteful and environmentally questionable food?  And what's with the pictures of all these expensive and snobbish foods and meals Althouse consumes?

I think I can have some fun playing the anti-elite and anti-snob scold around here.

Next up:  Expensive and wasteful German cars.

Pogo said...

I speak in defense of elitism; Palladian in music, Ann in this choice of great service.

You could have called this post:
National Velveeta: or
What a friend we have in cheeses.

Palladian said...

"If you read this report and other similar ones, you will come away with the unmistakable lesson that the only sustainable and morally acceptable diet is a vegan one."

Yes, just like the only sustainable and morally acceptable vote is for Barack Obama and the only sustainable and morally acceptable travel is mass transit and the only sustainable and morally acceptable authority is the United Nations.

Fuck that. I'm enjoying raw milk English Stilton and pâté de foie gras and Domaine Zind Humbrecht Riesling with my Bach, thank you very much. There is nothing more immoral than living a life without pleasure.

Sad to see so many of my countrymen and women raised with a phobia of real food. The filthier the smell, the better the cheese.

Theo Boehm said...

But Palladian what's the carbon footprint of that Riesling?

And didn't you know that the level of pleasure is, for the average person, higher in Paul McCartney's music than Bach?

How can you be such an elitist snob?

Zeb Quinn said...

What a delightful store. The fact that the uh...cheese lady (?) is all the way in New York and even knows what Deschutes Brewery is...? Awesome.

Did you catch the pinot mention? There's a definite Oregon connection in that place.

Palladian said...

"How can you be such an elitist snob?"

It comes naturally.

vbspurs said...

How can you be such an elitist snob?

Mmm, Theo. Your sarc is as smooth as a lovely Raclette.

Me, my motto in life is simple.

"Give me the luxuries of life and I'll do without its necessities."

~ Frank Lloyd Wright


titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

Your a bunch of elitist snobs and I am the heartland offended and jealous.

You buy fancy cheese. I buy Kraft. You have rare dogs, I "inherit" mutts'; your east coast establishment and I am heartland americana.

But we/you have our comeuppance we will vote for the guy who will drink a beer with us and everything will be all better.

Theo Boehm said...

Guy?? That was Mrs. Clinton what downed that Boilermaker the other week.

No snob she.

Larry said...

"fresh dill pickle things = gerkins?"

No, not gherkins.

I'd ask NY daughter the name but she is very busy in Jersey on a case.

These pickles are medium sized cukes, quartered on the long axis then cut up into large dice.

They appear to be put into a spiced-and-herbed brine for a relatively short time.

The deli's and lunch counters put a bowl full of them on the table for you fish chunks out with your lunch.

If the flavor concept "fresh dill" makes any sense to you, that is how these strike me.

I eat the bowl-full before lunch is served and have to order another.

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

I am calling for a boycott tomorrow of this french elitist cheese shop.

Who's with me?

I am painting the posters now.

They defamed our amazing president George Bush and they will regret the day they did this.

George W-4 more years!!!

Larry said...

Well, I think the cheese mshop has a right to an opinion, and a right to publish it.

You have a right to disagree, and to not by cheese there, although it appears that that will do you more harm than it will the cheese shop.

In any case, please don't Pink the place on my behalf.

Don't get me wrong, it sonds like that if I had read the thing I would be offended. And if there I might have complained.

former law student said...

victoria if you'd only asked me before you placed your order, I would have warned you:

275. Kaukauna Club
776. Velveeta
985. Hickory Farms of Ohio
987. Wisconsin Cheeseman

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

fellow republicans, look at the signs.

we must push back.

these evil liberal cheese loving liberals must be destoryed.

Larry said...

Went back to read the item complained of--not sure what that says actually.

But I did notice one that says "Like eating the crisp skin of......or eating warm poo".

I'd jump right on that one, I would.

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

They are dissing our amazing president, George W.

How dare they?

Do they not know the freedom and independence he has given us?

I think not.

They don't care.

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

Fellow republicans, please join me tomorrow in picketing this cheese shop.

For your friends, family and most importantly your children.

No more cheese can be sold here because they dissed George W. Bush.

titusislookingforabeautifulstranger said...

Kennibucport take me away. Please.

I love George Bush, as well as the rest of the republicans here and we demand to not be disrepected.

former law student said...

If the flavor concept "fresh dill" makes any sense to you, that is how these strike me.

Although not cut in chunks, the description made me think of "half-sours," the standard deli pickle of my youth.

Once, as a tribute to my great-grandmother, I made crock dills in my refrigerator (lacking a basement, I had to make do.) There's nothing like lactic acid fermentation.

Larry said...


That's it.

And the pictures do indeed look like what I was talking about except for the size of the chunks.


I tried making some, but I didn't get the flavors right.

MadisonMan said...

If I were working there, it would be very hard for to serve a small amount without knowing how much. Precision! It's all about precision.

Victoria, I'm glad you like your crock, but I hope you learned a lesson re: Wisconsin Cheeseman. Merck's and Kaukauna -- now that's good spreadable cheese.

gophermomeh said...

What a fabulous place to shop for cheese.

Cheese, Gromit, cheese!

Superdad said...


Forgo the crocks and try Wisconsin's artisan cheeses.

rhhardin said...

Cheese for real people.