Here’s a typical evening: I root through the crisper for my wedge du jour. Is that a hunk of Keen’s Cheddar from my photo shoot, I ask myself, staring at something dodgy in Saran, or is that the Quickes Cheddar I sampled last week? Hmmm… I better consult with Max.
You see, Max has a cheddar lexicon on page 90.
Then I’ll begin to pour a glass of wine -- but no, I should really see what Max recommends. Maybe I’ll open a beer. Or, could this go with whisky?
You see, Max has a sickeningly useful cheese-and-beer pairing chapter, starting on page 244.
Then I’ll flop onto the couch, but wait…is Max pairing mango with blue cheese in that cheese board on page 354? I never thought of that. Mmm, I think I have a mango. No, I better go get a mango. I need to eat Rogue River Blue with mango right now.
So, I head for the market, Max’s book in hand, and at a red light the car lurches a little and flips open to a section on terroir, which I read hungrily until the guy behind me honks, and then I continue onto the store…where, of course, I have to sit in the parking lot to look up the Iberian tasting plate, because now I’m thinking I should just have a few people over.
And then the street lamps flicker on, and it starts to rain, and I’m standing in the parking lot with Max McCalman’s book, and the ink starts to run, and I think, I should really just wait to shop in New York at Max’s place, Artisanal. And so I get back into the car, and drive home to my morsel of dodgy cheese in Saran, which I eat in bed with a glass of cheap wine while reading Max’s chapter on “Champion Cheddars.” And I’m perfectly happy.
Sometimes that’s all it takes. A good book and a hunk of cheese. And now, a little brush with greatness. If I were still in high school, I would be drawing big cave-aged hearts all over my unicorn notebook.