How many cheese lovers does it take to eat an entire wheel of Ascutney Mountain?
Apparently not too many. About 50, by my estimation.
Does anyone else remember those tootsie pop ads from the eighties that featured a wise and somewhat professorly owl?? He would wonder aloud how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, begin his task in earnest, and then inevitably crack, biting into the lollipop before it was anywhere near the center. I posed this question to myself last weekend, on the eve of my birthday party, as we toted a wheel of Ascutney Mountain from the shop to Brooklyn. At about 8:30 pm the cheese was unveiled, set atop a table with a generous pie shaped wedge carved out of it, and left to the forces of nature present in the room to do with it what they would. Also present was one rather large and imposing knife, which no one seemed phased by. On the contrary, folks seemed only all too excited to take a stab (literally) at the giant piece of cheese staring them in the face.
In just 30 minutes or so, there was evident progress made, with interesting divets and chunks carved out of the center of the cheese, and a small heap of rubble and rind accumulating on the cutting board. Next, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a friend take what would have been about a pound’s worth or so, julienne it with impressive skill, and dole it out to everyone who happened to be within an arm’s reach. With about half the cheese gone, the band began to play and I headed downstairs to shake a leg, figuring I’d come back upstairs and wrap up what remained of the fromage later on. Between sets, after dancing and working up a bit of a hunger, I checked back in on the cheese, and was shocked to see that now there was just a smallish, eggplant-sized chunk of Ascutney left to be had. Thinking to myself, there’s no time like the present, I grabbed one more generous slice and a dancing partner and headed back downstairs to revel and waltz a bit more.
Now I don’t know what transpired in that final hour or so, but on my next pass by the cheese board, the good old Ascutney was no more. Only a few drab crumbs of rind remained to attest to its existence. Being a cheese monger, I must say I was filled with pride to be in such good and cheesy company, that we were able to take on an entire wheel and finish it off with gusto. Maybe next year, we’ll get a bigger cheese and up the ante…
With friends like these, who needs birthday cake?
And in other news…
Stay tuned next Monday for details on this year’s crop of Day A-Whey trips! We’ll be announcing our first trip and give you all the info on how to get yourself on that wonderful, cheesy bus.
‘Till next week! Eat cheese and be merry.