Saturday, April 17, 2021

The Camembert Necessities

One morning, a four-ounce round of Camembert cheese mysteriously appeared in my refrigerator.

Hopefully, this doesn't turn out be the opening line of a cheese-based horror story.

Cheese Part 3: The Cheesening.

In fact, this just happened. I went into the fridge to make coffee this morning, and there it was.

Sidebar: Do you keep ground coffee in the refrigerator? I do, but I'm not sure it's a good idea. Coffee snobs says you shouldn't, but coffee snobs also say coffee beans picked out of the dung of a mongoose are worth $300 a pound, so fuck those guys. My coffee is in a sealed metal container, not absorbing the flavors or smells of my leftovers or anything. Although pepperoni pizza-infused coffee could be amazing. 

But I digress.

So there's this little package of Camembert cheese on the middle shelf of my fridge. I immediately assumed Drummer Boy had brought it, because he arrived last night bearing his usual complement of groceries. The man is congenitally unable to spend a weekend at my place without bringing 12 days' worth of food. He must have been a Jewish grandmother in a previous life. I take more of a just-in-time approach to food inventory, while he's more of a Doomsday prepper if Doomsday involved all the world's discounted holiday candy needing to be saved from destruction.

Me, I'd want to save all the brightly colored
goo in jars.

But to my surprise, Drummer Boy has disavowed all knowledge of the small round of Camembert. He said he assumed I had bought it. I recently discarded a carton of eggs that had been wasting away in the fridge since Thanksgiving, yet he thinks I'm stocking up on specialty French cheeses. What can I say, he completes me.

My only clue as to the origin of the Mystery Cheese is that it has an expiration date of the end of this month. According to the Internet of Cheese, Camembert has a shelf life of four to eight weeks. I assume the higher the quality, the shorter the life expectancy. This is not a high-quality Camembert, you guys. I'm no turophile (this is a thing), but I'm guessing the finest specimens of Camembert de Normandie don't come in a cardboard box with a "serving suggestion" photo on the front. Anyway, the expiration date suggests that this little fromage entered my home sometime in the last two months. 

That's actually...not a helpful clue at all. Did you know that we're in the middle of a pandemic? You may have heard about it. It consumed the entirety of 2020, like a dude in a cheap alien costume from a bad 50s sci-fi movie. 

Coronavirus, not wearing an approved mask
or practicing social distancing.

And despite hopeful signs, it's been held over into 2021. That means my hermitlike existence, already approaching legendary status, has only solidified while I wait for the helpful effects of mass vaccination, widespread acquired immunity, and the deaths of stupid people to take hold. In other words, if I didn't bring the cheese into my home, and Drummer Boy didn't bring it, that just doesn't leave a large pool of people who have actually visited me in the recent past.

The most likely suspect is Precocious Daughter, who comes over on a semi-regular basis and actually stayed with me for a week back in March. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any circumstance under which she'd surreptitiously leave a four-ounce Camembert cheese in my refrigerator. On the other hand, it never occurred to me that my only offspring might ask her best friend to tattoo Johnny Depp on her leg, so life is full of surprises. 

I'm happy to report this is not that tattoo.

Getting back to the mystery cheese: What exactly does one do with Camembert? I've never actually eaten it. Referring again to the Internet of Cheese, apparently it works well on a charcuterie board, which is reason enough to ignore that option. No one needs another fancy name for serving random food on a cutting board, ma'am. It's freaking cheese and crackers and whatever was on sale in the deli case. If any food concept was dreamed up to provide a lazy option for the office Secret Santa gift exchange, it's the charcuterie board.

But apparently Camembert can be baked, au naturel or wrapped in puff pastry. It gets gooey like Brie when warm, so it can also be added to fondue. I miss fondue. I have a vintage 70s fondue set that belonged to my grandmother - it's decorated with little mushrooms and everything. I would love to have a fondue night, but four ounces of Camembert hardly seems like enough to make a decent pot of cheese sauce, plus I'd have to buy all the other ingredients. It should come as no surprise that your faithful scribe, who isn't in the habit of buying Camembert cheese, also doesn't keep gruyere, gourmet mustard, or dry sherry on hand. I'd have to get rid of some of my pork and beans supply to make room for such staples. And, you know, priorities.

Remember when we ate communal food
and didn't worry about catching
anything worse than mild cooties?

I suspect that Monsieur Camembert's destiny is to be warmed up and served with crackers. I definitely plan to eat it, despite its mystery origins - I ain't scared of no cheese. If a friendly spirit left it for me, I don't want to be rude. If an unfriendly spirit left it, I don't want to show weakness. That's how they get you.

If I grow a third eye or start to speak in tongues after consuming it, I'll let you know. As the saying goes, what doesn't kill us gives us content. 

Recipe ideas and first-aid tips are welcome.


  1. What is an "ounce" in human-comprehensible units?

  2. 1/16 of a pound, of course.

    Um, thinking back to my weed-smoking days...about 28 grams? I lost the scales in the divorce, so I'm spitballing...


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