Monday, May 19, 2008

The Cheese To End All Cheese?

I love cheese, many of you love cheese, so it just seemed that writing about this next cheese was something I had to do after learning of its existence. And I will admit that it’s a much better topic than the other one I was toying with: Starbucks’ new nudie mermaid logo. They get enough publicity. But Casu Marzu on the other hand, does not. If you had asked me about Casu Marzu, I would have told you it was the fancy name of the mansion overlooking Corona or that it was possibly the name of that weird sounding band from the 80s. Oh wait, that might actually be Spandau Ballet, and I have no idea what the heck that means. I understand ballet, but is Spandau just a fancy way of saying Spandex? Because a spandex ballet might be kind of funny to watch. Perhaps a little chaffy for the performers, but that’s what they get for wearing non-breathable spandex during a dance performance!

It seems I have drifted of course, again. This post was supposed to be all cheesy. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that. It’s the same temptation I gave into yesterday when Lucy and Ethel were playing with their magnetic letters and there was a little issue with Lucy needing 2 ‘p’s. For those of you keeping score at home, that would also be ‘pp’ and it led to me spending most of the afternoon saying things like ‘Ethel give your sister your PP’ and ‘Ethel Lucy wants your PP.’ I realize it’s not very grown up, but then either am I. It is a little unsettling when you realize that your 5-year-old daughters are slightly above that type of humor however…

OK, back to the cheese. By the way, I swear back to the cheese will the title of a screenplay I write before I die, most likely from clogged arteries. At this time, I would like to introduce you to a little something called Casu Marzu. I guess I actually introduced you to it in the first paragraph, but I didn’t introduce it correctly. I am horrible at introductions and often mess them up. Now days I just try to stand in between the two people I should be introducing and just hope they take it upon themselves to introduce each other in an effort to break the awkward silence. I come out looking like an idiot, but they get to meet each other and I usually discover I had been calling at least one of them by the wrong last name. It works out quite beautifully.

Casu Marzu is cheese. Unofficially, it is referred to as maggot cheese. MMMMM, doesn’t that sound scrumpulicious? I need to mention that it’s not one of those cute or clever names that has nothing to do with the title because horribly enough, this cheese has a lot to do with maggots. I may have just lost many of you with a double maggot reference (triple if you choose to count that last one there) and I will warn you that many of you may not want to continue. If that is the case, have a great day and I will see you tomorrow with something much less gastronomically offensive.

This cheese will test how loyal of a cheese-ist you really are. It will make you question how serious you are to your cheese commitment and how far you will go to prove your allegiance to one of life’s most delicious things to come from a cow’s udder. It is a somewhat altered or embellished cheese, if you will. As the cheese begins fermentation, it is filled with larvae, who eat it, break down its fats and allow it to further ferment into a soft cheese with a little bit of liquid, according to Wikipedia. Sorry, I just dove right into that description without much of a warning. Please forgive me. So now, not only do we have little bugs in our cheese, we get liquid out of it. That is completely disgusting. I’m sure you were already thinking that, but I like to state the obvious, such as ‘it looks like it’ll be either Barack or Hillary for the Democrats.’

However, that is nowhere near the best part of this cheese. It is actually dangerous. What, you ask? Maggot larvae filled cheese with oozy cheese-water is bad for you? Shocking! Why yes it is. It can become too toxic, the larvae can cause intestinal problems and the cheese can lead to some allergic reactions. But the one danger that takes the cake for the cheese, to awkwardly mix metaphors, is the fact that Casu Marzu can lead to eye damage. Go ahead, ask me why cheese can cause eye damage. Well, the LARVAE CAN JUMP AND OFTEN STRIKE PEOPLE IN THE EYES AS THEY ARE EATING THE CHEESE. Is that not precious priceless? So now when you show up to a family event wearing an eye patch, you will no longer have to tell them that you are pretending to be a pirate, hurt yourself horsing around with lawn darts or got that part as the evil villain on a daytime soap opera. You can tell them that you were struck by cheese larvae. On second thought, your reputation might be better served to say you think you are a pirate.

So that my friends is Casu Marzu. I love cheese, but have now officially drawn the line with regard to my love. Apparently, there is such a thing as conditional love. I would now like to express that conditional love in the form of a Dr. Seussian type poem, if you’ll permit me.

I love cheese.
I love it more than my knees or that stuff that is made by flowers and bees
I love it in the night; I love it in the light
I’ll eat with hair or even a bear
I’ll eat it when it falls in the sand, right straight out of my hand
I shall melt it or smelt it or fry it or dry it
I’ll take it with wine or with pulled swine
I shall eat it off the floor or instead of a smore
I like it with holes, I like it with moles
I will eat cheese every day; I will eat cheese every way
I will even eat it with thugs or melted in mugs
But one thing I will not do is eat it with bugs
So yes, I will eat fondue, but never, ever Casu Marzu
Seriously, that’s freakin’ disgusting


Sizzle said...

I really hope you have a pet or child named after a cheese. A kitty named Cheddar or a daughter named Bre? Maybe a dog named Havarti?

Sunshine said...

I can't believe you did the SEUSS. That's takin it to the highest level of literature. You gotta have balls to do SEUSS.
I love cheese. Soooooo much.

Yeah, not sure if I'd eat maggot cheese, ew, bad naming job.

Sunshine said...

And, seriously, do I have to show you my boobs to get on your blogroll?

I'm sending you NASCAR stuff, man!

Alison said...

I love cheese. I heart cheese. Cheese is one of my comfort foods.

But this cheese? Imagine me saying "no" in every language on earth. And I'm a foodie who'll eat a lot of things. Maggot cheese gets a hearty "nyet" (among other negations) from me.

pixiemadison said...

I want you to know when I sat down to read your blog, I was snacking on Smoked Gouda Cheese and crackers! Totally fitting. Until I saw the bit about maggots. Disgusting. Very interesting information, but totally gross. Do people actually eat that stuff? Larvae jumping in your eye? Yikes!

btw, I have loads of maggot stories to tell, but I won't, because it will make me sick. :)

cmk said...

I remember reading about this a while back--ICK! The cheese can't legally be sold in Italy, where it originates. BUT, it CAN be bought on the black market. I don't think I want to know who actually buys this stuff.

magickat said...

HOLY HOT CHEESE, BATMAN! That amazing poem almost made me forget about the liquified maggot cheese (until I got to the ending). Great poem. It should be published in a cheese reciepe book or something.

Back to the cheese.: that certainly is awful to hear about. And you can bet your buns I will NEVER try maggot cheese that is filled with liquid and shoots live creatures into your eye. Too "Fear Factor" for me. I don't go there.

There was a book we had to read in middle school called "I Am The Cheese" I remember really liking it a lot. It was really unclear at the time what it was about because you couldn't tell in the story if the main character was reliving an experience or if was all a mental dementia and that he was crazy, but after reading this entry I realize what I didn't understand: the cheese he was was Casu Marzu - and he was completely and totally insane.

okiesister said...

Moles...there's a visual.

You crack me up, man!

Patti said...

The Dr. Seuss-ian poem really should be submitted for publication somewhere. It's great. I like magickat's cheese recipe book idea.

I love when you state the obvious. I agree it "most likely" will be Hill or Barry for the Dems. :-D

Great post!

Candace said...

OMG that is freakin' disgusting. Yet also fascinating. I find it so hard to imagine enjoying worm-filled, decomposing cheese. And I had no idea that larvae could jump so far!

But I love how you milked the whole cheese thing. From ages eternal, cheese has been a thing of glory. (hey we can excuse a wee grammatical error in order to squeeze in a bad pun, no?) Yet my blood does curdle when I imagine biting into soft little maggoty bodies.


meleah rebeccah said...

I am a loyal die hard Cheddar kind of girl!

Heart Of Darkness said...


Can I have some cheeeese

You're too precious! :)

Natalie said...

Like magickat I loved "I am the cheese" it was fantastic. If I recall correctly it was a reference to "The Farmer In The Dell" and the line "the cheese stands alone" cause dude was alone. That being said I will also never eat Casu Marzu even though I absolutely love the name. Wet cheeses are not high on my list of things to eat and, as a vegetarian, I don't think I can eat maggots.

Mel Heth said...

Um I was eating a turkey and cheese sandwich as I read this and boy am I glad it wasn't Kajagugu cheese. Eww.

Next time I get mad at someone, I'm calling them Cheese Maggot.

Just telling it like it is said...

Maggots strangly remind me of dead people but that is just me...
and I love cheese too good thing when I am old there is medicine that can lower my HLD's ..
Ahh the wonders of medicine

TroyBoy said...

Hello Michael C.! We seem to cruise the same blogs, so I thought I'd come over and have a gander. I'm glad that I did.

Every Wednesday I do a post called "Wacky Wednesday". Well it doesn't get any wackier then this cheese of yours. For this weeks submission (tomorrow), I'd like to give you some "linky love" and post a link about your maggot cheese. May I pretty please with cheese on top?

Dr.John said...

There is no question that this was down to your usual standards.

Hannah said...

Mmmmm, Cheese.

I think that Cheese should be used as a synonym for love.

I cheese cheese.

Heart Of Darkness said...

Just dropping by to tell you no less then TWO Swedish novels compare sex to cheese.

Oh, and yeah, a column in Metro did a ranting on how wrong it is to compare sex and cheese...

So there, you're not alone with your love for cheese! ;)

citizen of the world said...

Good Lord. I always thought of myself as a pretty serious fan of cheese, but I would defnitely draw the line at maggot cheese. I don't think I could even say "maggot cheese" out loud without gagging. Even typing it is giving me the heebies.