Ruth Reichl

“He showed me how each wheel was stamped with the month and year, and then he cracked the first one open to reveal its pale cream-colored interior. He chipped off a hefty shard and handed it to me. I took a bite, and my mouth filled with the hopeful taste of fresh green grass and young field flowers welcoming the sun.
"That's the spring cheese." Sal was cracking the next wheel, which was stamped with an autumn date; he chipped off a little piece. The color was deeper, almost golden, the texture heavier and nubbier. When I put the cheese in my mouth it was richer, and if I let it linger on my tongue I could taste the lush fields of late summer, just as the light begins to die.
Sal sliced off a slab of winter cheese and put that into my mouth. It felt different on my tongue, smoother somehow, the flavor sharper. "It's like a different cheese." I was savoring it. I tasted again; there was a familiar flavor. "It tastes like hay!"
"Yes!" Sal was openly delighted. "I knew you were going to be able to taste how different this cheese is! Most Americans don't even notice, but that cheese is so different that, back in the old days, it was sold under a different name. The Parmesan made from December to March, when the cows were in the barn, was called 'invernengo'- winter cheese- because the flavor is so distinct.”

Ruth Reichl, Delicious!
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Delicious! Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
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