Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the cheese incident

I arrived in Vallauris yesterday after spending 5 days in Paris with my pottery posse, Rae, Sara, and Christa. Paris was slightly overwhelming. I was reading The Greater Journey while I was there and that book made me realize I should have made a serious plan in advance.  My laid back California ways basically mean you won't get shit done in a city like Paris, except for whiling away the hours in little wine bars and cafes, walking across a few bridges, and getting lost on charming, narrow, twisty streets.

But I did practice my French. Parisians are very good to practice French with. I say something in French, they answer me in English. I respond in French, and they answer again in English. In this way, we both get to practice, though I'm only good for about two go-rounds in French before I default to English, and they clearly don't need the practice.

The only time I am able to speak French with any flair at all is when I need food. I can ask for a baguette like nobodys business. All I wanted to do in Paris is go to the restaurants and outdoor markets and eat as much possible. I would circle patisseries, fromageries, and charcuteries like I was checking out hot men in clubs. In one fromagerie I went into, I said hello and strung together the longest series of words I had managed thus far:

je voudrais un fromage a manger maintenant ou ce soir.

This means "I would like a cheese to eat now or tonight," and I am not sure if that is the right way to say it, but it gets the hint across to a cheese man about what I need, which is a ripe cheese, something ready to go right now. The cheese man said something incomprehensible to me, and because I was trying very hard to pretend like I knew more French than I do, I shrugged in what I thought could be a Parisian way and said, "un chèvre...ou un bleu!?" Like, convince me cheese man, you are the expert! I could go for a goat cheese, or I could totally go for that cheese covered in mold right there! How bout you figure it out?  He pointed at some stuff, and said some things, and I nodded like I totally got it, and I ended up with two wrapped packages, a small little goat cheese, and a hunk of something that smelled like a goddamn barnyard. Oh, I was happy.

I went on to buy a chunk of duck pate the size of my foot, some olives stuffed with almonds, a teeny little basket of strawberries, and a baguette.  The perfect food for happy hour with my pottery posse. I walked and walked with Sara, and we went to the Louvre.  There were several times where the smell of barnyard would drift up to my nose from the bag I was carrying, and as I gazed at the master works of art ensconced in the Louvre, I though about what a great feast I was bringing my friends that evening.

Later, many hours later, as I was unpacking my bag of goodies, I could not understand why I could not find that giant hunk of cheese that smelled like a barnyard. Let me say that I had several large glasses of wine already, so I was easily confused.  I pulled all of my booty out of the bag, and turned it over several times. Everything was there, but the big hunk of stinky cheese was not there. Then, I looked at the bag that the cheese man put my cheese in.  The cheap, plastic, piece of shit bag that had a hole in the bottom the size of a big hunk of cheese. The cheese slipped out of that hole, and it was gone.

I dont know if you have ever lost your cheese before.  But me, I have lost my cheese. First, I was in disbelief.  I looked in the olive container to see if the cheese was there. It was not there, and I could not believe it. Then I was in denial. The cheese had to be somewhere! I started looking all over the kitchen, even though I had only been in there for 30 seconds and did not have time to do anything but pull it out of the bag. Then, I got angry. I threw the stupid goat cheese I had left. Stupid goat cheese, I can get you anywhere!  Where is the cheese I really wanted! I ran back to the place where Sara and I had those gigantic glasses of wine, and looked everywhere. People helped me when they heard I lost my cheese, but it was not to be found.  I ran to another fromagerie around the corner, but the store was shut tight, as was everything else.  I thought about crying, but that seemed extreme, and maybe a little crazy. So I just got really, really sad. And then I cheered the fuck up, because I was in Paris, with my pottery posse, and I still had that pate. Thank god I did not lose the pate also.

Some favorite pictures from Paris.


  1. LOL!! Hope you get to try another barnyard cheese before you have to return home :^)

  2. Great story, my day has begun with a chuckle.

  3. Ack, losing your cheese! I would feel like crying too :] Especially a delicious moldy one!

    Thanks, this made me laugh. And feel not so alone in my intense love for cheese!

  4. Anonymous8:53 AM

    That is hilarious! Enjoy your trip cheeseless or not!

  5. T'is better to have smelled the cheese and lost it, or to never have smelled at all? thanks for the vicarious adventure. Xo

  6. Are you still in Paris? If you get a chance, try a cheese called "boulette d'avesnes". It'll knock your socks off!

  7. This is going to be the best thing I've read in a long time!! And with it a new phrase~ "I totally lost my cheese when that waiter spilled the drink in my lap."
    So good~I'll be back for more~keep having fun!!!

  8. I am so gonna copy you with that pottery posse abroad stuff.

  9. tres bien! le meilleur scénario, que j'ai lu toute la journée !

  10. le meilleur scénario, que j'ai lu toute la journée !
    tres bien!

  11. Welcome Home Whitney!