I have often heard warnings not to eat cheese before bedtime. The reasons vary from causing a disrupted night’s sleep to nightmares. I have never believed these stories. A tall tale if ever I heard one I thought. Nevertheless I have always been slightly reluctant to consume this sacred, dairy product too close to my bedtime. My sleep patterns are temperamental at the best of times and I don’t need further disruption – regardless of how far-fetched and unlikely it sounds.
I do love cheese however. Of any sort – from the slimy, shiny, neon-orange Easi-Single Slices (‘They’re Easi-Single slices, with that touch of class! individually wrapped, fresh from first to last. 8, 12, 20 there’s always plenty.’ – an advertisement from my childhood); to the Laughing Cow; to blocks of cheddar; to the more serious cheeses. Living in the Netherlands for many years, opened my eyes to a whole new magical world of cheese. A shop dedicated solely to cheese on every street, speaks of a nation which takes this foodstuff seriously. I developed a penchant for smelly cheese. If it had an odour like something decomposing then you could guarantee that I would love it. If it had inner discoloration resembling skid marks then even better – this would signify an explosion of texture and flavour. I became quite the fromage gourmet in my years abroad.
Upon my return to the homeland my experimentation into the world of this solid dairy ended. Not on purpose – purely as a result of access. Ireland may consume and enjoy cheese, but not in the same way as the Dutch or French. Cheese shops are not as plentiful and more a specialist place. Decent cheese is pricey. Hence the choice is more limited.
Then came yesterday. My local supermarket has decided to become notional and have introduced a range of toxic smelling cheeses. Being a good citizen and neighbour I dipped my toe back into these curdy waters and purchased a French gruyere, and an Irish gubbeen cheese.
Last evening like a drug addict I rushed home and started consuming. The gruyere is pleasant but slightly bland. The gubbeen was special. Semi-soft with a pink rind, it pongs a little but not too much, and comes from county Cork. Happy to see that Ireland is boarding the rancid smelling cheese train. It’s about time.
I was enjoying it so much that I forgot that my repeat visits to the fridge were getting ever closer to my bedtime.
Well the dreams I had last night were very surreal and disturbing. I won’t describe them as I know that hearing about other people’s sleeping dreams is mind-numbingly dull.
Maybe there is truth in the myth of the cheese dream after all though?