When I started my series on working in the dairy, Jane M (Hi, Janey!) left a comment hoping that there would be lots of yummy cheese recipes to come. And I thought, "Great idea!"
Since then, I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with my favourite cheese recipes for you. But you know what? I don't actually cook with the stuff! My use of cheese in food doesn't really extend beyond sprinkling some good grated Parmesan on my pasta.
The rest of the time, I just eat it. As is.
Many years ago, Alan's sister called me to ask for a good recipe for Brie. I said, "Bring it to room temperature and serve it with crackers, possibly a good baguette." She was disappointed, too. She was hoping for something involving phyllo dough and cranberry jelly.
And it's not just cheese that I do as little to as possible. It's pretty much everything. Steak gets a light searing and a sprinkle of salt. I like my vegetables steamed. Or raw.
Our seasonings consist of salt, pepper and olive oil. A bit of butter for corn on the cob. Good grainy mustard and balsamic vinegar for salad dressing. Chili pepper flakes for when we're feeling a little wild.
It's not that I like bland food, or that I don't like to cook. It's just that I like what I eat to be recognizable for exactly what it is. I like to savour the subtleties to be found in a spear of asparagus or a ripe, fresh tomato.
If I'm eating chicken, I want it to taste like chicken and not tomato/olive/paprika/surprise.
It's an odd admission for a food blogger to make, I know.
But when I see the amount of effort it takes to grow a vegetable, or make cheese or bread. Or the sacrifices involved in meat, I just want to adopt an attitude of simple appreciation.