Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cheese

by Bethany Maines

My husband, a confirmed football enthusiast since birth, prefers to watch the Super Bowl with, at most, a select few of fellow football enthusiasts who won’t talk over the game and a large dish of BBQ pork with spicy-hot Chinese mustard and toasted sesame seeds.  My preferred way of watching the Super Bowl is with cheese. That’s not some Green Bay Packers joke – I just really like cheese and I don’t really care about football. I don’t object to it either; I just have a hard time working up a lot of enthusiasm for it. (I know, I know, my husband also claims that I have some sort of mental illness in this department.) As a result, our Super Bowl parties generally consist of the two of us, with him actually watching and me switching between the TV and my laptop. Which sounds like it should be a very cost efficient party, but I have to say that our two-person football party cost a ridiculous amount, and I have only myself to blame. 33% of the cost was strictly cheese.  This year there was the sharp and tangy, Isle of Man Vintage Cheddar, a local favorite Backcountry Creamery Havarti,  and my personal crack of choice Ski Queen Gjetost, a brown goat cheese that may look suspicious, but tastes oh so delicious.

So as my husband, hereafter to be referred to as Joe (because that’s his name), was noshing on pork slices and watching one of the Manning brothers throw a ball, I was nibbling cheeses and watching a British TV show called the Misfits on my laptop.  It wasn’t until later that it occurred to me that our various habits were not something that generally gets mentioned in stories.  Outside of Wallace & Gromit, there aren’t many shows or novels where a key plot point is cheese. Which is probably as it should be, but my point is that as an author I frequently try to give signature traits to my characters – this one has red-hair, this one likes guns, etc – but it’s rare that I expand my imagination to include things like “she’s obsessed with cheese” or “that one signed up for cable strictly for the BBC.”  But why not?  

When I’m inventing my character I try to give them traits that are relevant to their development within the plot. I need that one to like guns so that later she can shoot people.  It’s not until later, when the characters are still kicking around in the attic of my mind that it occurs to me to wonder whether or not they like pork.  So I have now added “SB food” to my character template. When inventing a new character I’m going to ask myself not just how tall, how old, how much hair dye, I’ll be asking, “What would you eat on Super Bowl Sunday?”  Don’t worry, I’ll try to not let the answer always be cheese.

11 comments:

  1. Bethany, did you know that my protagonist, Alison Bergeron, comes from a long line of cheese producers in Quebec? As a result, she is always asked to consult whenever her college is hosting that something that requires a cheese platter. So, cheese plays a large role in my books. Your post, as a result, warmed the cockles of my cheese-loving heart. Maggie

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    1. LOL! No, I didn't know that I was forced to cycle the next books in the Murder 101 series down in the TBR pile. Now, I may have to bump them back up!

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  2. Thank you so much for this post.I found lots of interesting information here. And thanks for sharing it's really wonderful and useful =)))

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    1. I really do hope I was useful! I was planning on including more about my character templates, but that would have meant leaving out some of the details on cheese...

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  3. When I lived in France years ago I worked with a gal whose family were successful garlic farmers across several generations and factions and she hated garlic. Well, that was one shocking thing, but then over lunch one day she passed on cheese, saying "ugh, I don't like cheese, it's disgusting and fatty". If any of us had been wearing pearls, we'd have clutched them! AND, she said it as if she was saying "wow, it's so breezy out today".

    But, oddly, most people in France LOVE the Super Bowl (tres americain, n'est-ce pas?) though they don't get the chow connection.

    I like chili followed up with ice cream sundaes or cheesecake for the SB. I also like A BIG FAT HELPING OF THE GIANTS BEAT THE PIGSKIN OFF THE PATRIOTS! YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAH!

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    1. Do you suppose she was an alien pod person?

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  4. I love cheese but never even heard of the ones you mentioned. I must be woefully uninformed. As for the Super Bowl, I actually watched this year because Bear Pascoe is from Porterville (the town right next to the dinky place I live and where many of my grandkids went to high school.)

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  5. Please make a character obsessed with cheese, because that will be my kind of gal! I adore cheese and now I plan to try the ones you mentioned. I saw your answer above about leaving out info about your Character template for more on cheese, I don"t mind, you can always write another post about character template - LOL! Seriously, I would like to learn more about how you develop your characters, so maybe a follow up post? Thanks.

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  6. Follow up post it is! Meet back here in two weeks for Character Templates with Bethany - BYOC (bring your own cheese).

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  7. Bethany, you are a cheese connoisseur! My hubby (whom I'll call Ed since that's his name) loves cheese, too. Only he's far more lowbrow. He likes the Pub Cheese in a tub and shredded cheddar melted on everything. I love Havarti! Okay, I'm thinking now we need to have a big Stiletto cocktail party, and Bethany (and Maggie) can be responsible for the cheese platter. ;-)

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    1. Oh, I just put in the highbrow cheese for street cred. Secretly I <3 the cheese log too. ;) I'm for a cocktail party; we need to find a time and place!

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