The acceptable uses of cheese

♪♫♪ And if you do, then you’re my friend, and if you don’t, then you’re my foe / And if you are a deity of any sort, then please don’t go~

And so, my one carefree month of summer has dwindled down, and now I must begin a much more scheduled lifestyle of classes and research work. How did the last four weeks happen so quickly and yet also slowly at the same time?! On the one hand, it feels like forever ago that I was wrapping up finals and closing up the residence halls with my fellow staff for the school year. On the other…where did all of my time go? It really does fly away when you’re not paying attention. But the truth is, I know where it all went…my four short weeks have been comprised of the following: learning guitar, baking dozens of desserts, two seasons of American Horror Story, lots of miscellaneous movies and books, season two of Orange is the New Black (binged in one weekend…oops), going to super fun Bodyjam dance classes at the YMCA, playing with the neighbor’s awesome dog, and last but sadly not least, getting quite out of shape by eating aforementioned baked goods.

So in truth, I can’t complain! I’ve lived up the last few weeks to the fullest by spending lots of time with loved ones, doing much that I hoped to do, and most importantly, taking a break from the constant rigidity of classes, meetings, and work. It was recharging to be able to wake up without my multiple phone alarms for once. Although, I do admit it was still hard for me to completely forget about school…I still ended up doing some preview work for my summer classes. I mean, it’s kind of hard not to feel guilty when I see my brother, busy grad student that he is, still hard at work and studying even after his classes have finished. And I’m sure many of my hardworking friends do the same. It’s hard to completely let go of responsibilities in the summer and just forget everything, but I don’t believe that’s not a bad thing. It’s good to look ahead and prepare yourself. At least for me, a lot of planning and micromanaging serves to ease my stress in the future, and I’m glad I spent some time studying too because now I feel even more ready for my summer courses, especially psychology. And I know I need all the preparation I can get…

But then the other day, it suddenly dawned upon me that with no meal plan, I would have to somehow cook and actually provide myself food this summer, and the sad truth is that the amount of recipes that I can “cook” would provide poor sustenance for any human being. I’m trying to scramble and learn some recipes…but it seems that most of my meals for the summer (other than eating out, which I want to limit to only weekends at the most) will consist of mostly oatmeal, salads, sandwiches, and soups, and maybe a little bit of rice or pasta. I want to eat as healthy as possible, which shouldn’t be too difficult since I’m limited in both finances and my abilities of food preparation. I mean, combined all together it’s hopefully enough for me to live on…right? Haha or perhaps I will scrape some time together to learn from my roommate Chevelle, who is quite adept at making her own meals. Now I really regret not spending more time in the kitchen with my mom when I was younger!

Now, in regards to food and eating, there is something else that I want to bring up. Whenever I mention this to my friends, I am usually met with harsh reprimands and disapproving looks of disbelief, accompanied by what’s-wrong-with-you?! remarks…but I am prepared to stand by it firmly, even if it ends longtime friendships:

I do not like cheese. At all.

Maybe this is insignificant to some people, but I happen to be good friends with some hardcore cheese lovers; and when I divulge my aversion to…curdled milk, it’s as if I just said I hate newborn puppies, or I made a personal attack on their core values in life. But I can’t help it. I don’t like cheese — I don’t like the taste, I don’t like how it looks, and perhaps most of all, I don’t like the awful, awful smell. The scent of cheese is enough to make my stomach turn over and make me nauseated. Even a single slice of cheese will taint the most perfect sandwich for me because somehow the rancid flavor permeates pass every other delicious ingredient to reach every one of my taste buds. If I ever find an unexpected dollop of cheese in my food — especially if it’s the absolute worst of them allblue cheese – it will certainly ruin my entire meal and leave my palate feeling remotely violated, even if I try to cleanse my mouth with something I love and cherish, like chocolate.

I know, I know…I’m being overdramatic. I’m being spoiled. This is Ms. First World Problems checking in right here. But this is not a topic to make light of with me! I will say it again and again: I detest cheese. And also, if you stop and think about it, do you realize just how many foods come with cheese? I have to always be on guard when I order food anywhere and everywhere lest I ever forget the critical phrase: “No cheese, please.”

Then, as always, come the inevitable comments…“But you like pizza, and that has LOADS of cheese.” Oh, I know, my friends. I am well aware. But pizza also has sauce, grease, toppings, crust, and loads of other delectable ingredients that make it holistically oh so delicious, and in a rare case like pizza, cheese can complement the taste. Indeed, there are a few rare exceptions to my no-cheese lifestyle. My only thought is that these are inexplicable anomalies that my taste buds have found a strange, unlikely coexistence with. Which is why through the years I have culminated a list of acceptable uses of cheese that are — at the most — tolerable to my tastes. And these are the only morsels of cheese that I have voluntarily allowed to pass through my lips without gagging. In my book, the acceptable uses of cheese are:

  • Pizza — as aforementioned, cheese does not hinder its deliciousness. Pizza is awesome, and makes Chicago, land of the deep dish, so wonderful to live in. But still…I would NEVER order that “extra cheese” option.
  • Grilled Cheese — PROVIDED THAT it is accompanied with warm, yummy tomato soup. They must come in a pair for me, or else the grilled cheese is still not appealing to me. Also I would just like to insert the fact that the grilled cheese at the caf kind of terrifies me.
  • Fondue — you know those Nicholas-Sparks-like-stories that feature that one special boy or girl you meet in your life who seems so completely wrong for you logically, and everyone doubts why you two would even be compatible, but when you two are together, it’s like magic and everything just somehow works and the world is beautiful? That is fondue to me. Oh, melted cheese…you just seem so wrong for me, and should be revolting…and yet you are so, so delicious. The Melting Pot is one of my favorite restaurants and if I could go every weekend, I would.
  • Macaroni and Cheese — it’s kind of a hit or miss. Sometimes it is delicious, and by sometimes, I mean when my mom makes it for me☺. Mysterious mac and cheese I’ve never tried before? No thank you…
  • Nachos with cheese — but let’s be real though. That “cheese” is so processed anyway it’s delicious because it’s horrible for you as junk food. But hey, melted cheese just somehow has a hold on my heart.

And so, with this list of acceptable uses of cheese, I have been living a largely cheese-less lifestyle with absolutely no regrets. I’ll have the hamburger please, no, not the cheeseburger. Cheese on my salad? Just say when? WHEN! Stop that cheese grater, no cheese please! String cheese as a snack? Um, I’ll just wait until dinner.

With that off my chest…I hope you enjoyed my light venting in this post! Haha just trying to preserve some vestiges of humor in my life before all the seriousness must kick back in. And cheese lovers, if we can’t be friends anymore…I understand. We got to stand by our principles, right?

Ne me quitte pas, mon cher / Ne me quitte pas ♪♫♪

(Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) - Regina Spektor)

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About Sarah Lee

Hi, I'm Sarah! I am a junior Neuroscience student in GPPA Medicine who is still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do in my life. One day I want to be fluent in Russian and explore Eastern Europe. In my free time, I love running, playing piano and guitar, and reading. I currently live in Courtyard residence hall as a Peer Mentor but my home is in Naperville.

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