Huffington Post recently posted an article entitled "What Your Favorite Cheese Says About You." These personality analyses are apparently designed to help you know who you really are. When we read them, we secretly hope that we're shown to be only good with a smidgeon of spunk, snark, and silly. I don't think we really give much credence to these pseudo-Freudian exercises, but it's all in good fun.
In the latest cheesy edition, by virtue of my favorite cheese being Swiss, I am deemed to be a liar. Well. It's said that even a liar tells the truth sometimes and I would imagine the inverse is true too, but lying is something I just don't do, save for those little white ones that don't really matter to anyone except the person you're lying to. ("No, it does not make you look fat.") So much for that.
But let's talk about my favorite cheese. Swiss. The cheese that doesn't taste a thing like it smells. The sense of smell is closely affiliated with our sense of taste, so why on earth do we like cheese so much? Even Swiss cheese doesn't come close to being the stinkiest cheese of all, but clearly, there are millions who don't let the strong odor bother us and we chow down.
Swiss cheese originated in Switzerland (hence, the common name) and my nearly lifelong penpal from there told me years ago that what most of us think of as Swiss cheese is properly called Emmenthaler, coming from the Emmental region of Switzerland. But Swiss cheese is also made elsewhere and a number of varieties exist.
Ohio plays a major part in the cheese world, in spite of most people thinking of Wisconsin as the cheese capital in the U.S. The biggest producer of all-natural Swiss cheese in the U.S. is located in Brewster, Ohio. And Baby Swiss was invented here. The characteristic holes are the result of bacteria (one is Streptococcus!) producing gases as one bacteria consumes the lactic acid produced by the others, and the bigger the holes, the longer the cheese has been aged. However, hole size is regulated because it becomes a problem for mechanical slicers when they're too large.
That's right - Ohio. The cultures used to make my favorite cheese are imported by Alpine Cheese in Winesburg, Ohio, and they do their part in satisfying the country's taste for the Number One most imported cheese in the country - over $125 million worth each year.
All I really care is that this sweet, nutty cheese is sitting in my refrigerator right now and I can partake of its deliciousness when the mood strikes. Which is often.