I’m toying with the idea of veganism — toying with it as a cat toys with an injured mouse before finally killing it — but I constantly run up against the cheese issue. I love cheese. Cheese is the king of my world, and all other foods exist in service to it. Veggies, pasta, bread, nuts, crackers, and even leftover Chinese food are mere vehicles for that sublime substance.
Going plastic-free was hard at first because I couldn’t find good cheese not wrapped in plastic. Finally, I ended up purchasing an entire 12-pound wheel of Perenzin San Pietro hard cheese (much like parmesan only better) coated in beeswax without any plastic. I bought it almost a year ago, and I still haven’t eaten it all because, like parmesan, a little sprinkling goes a long way. But also, it’s lasted this long because it’s so hard to cut into and grate that I don’t just wolf it down like I might cheddar… I didn’t, that is, until recently.
I made the discovery, after 45 years of life, that my food processor (with its BPA-containing plastic pitcher, but that’s another story) has a grater attachment. Who knew? Um… everyone in the world but me, apparently. I went online to the Cuisinart web site and watched a video that changed my whole understanding of life as we know it. And soon after, I had grated every last bit of that cheese and stored it in mason jars in my freezer. (Very hard, dry cheese keeps fine in the freezer.)
And now I’m eating that cheese on everything and sharing little bits with Arya kitty, who loves cheese almost as much as I do. It’s starting to look like I’ll actually run out sooner than later. And then what will I do? Like I said, I’m toying mercilessly with the idea of veganism, but I just can’t figure out how to quell whatever craving it is that only very sharp cheese can satisfy. I’m hoping you guys can help.
Here are the characteristics I am looking for:
1) Real food, not a fake cheese substitute. I am not interesting in eating processed foods with their empty promises. I’m looking for some food, or a combination of foods, that can satisfy the desire for cheese without actually trying to be cheese.
2) It’s got to have some combination of sharp, tangy, nutty, sweet, salty, and umami. What is umami? Why, it’s the 5th taste (after sweet, sour, salty, and bitter) which is sometimes described as savory. The food I’m looking for has got to have that combo of very sharp with sweet and nutty. I’m not looking for a mozzarella or cottage cheese substitute. I want flavor, and a lot of it.
3) Obviously the ingredients cannot come wrapped in plastic.
My initial thoughts…
I’m thinking the solution might have something to do with an oil like olive oil and a tangy citrus like lemons, and maybe some actual nuts. What do you guys think? Recipes are warmly welcomed!