The Civilizing Effect of Cheese

There’s a wonderful cheese shop in the village of Mattituck called, logically enough, Village Cheese. It’s located on the charmingly-monikered Love Lane, which is actually less of a lane than a thoroughfare, running between highways 48 and 25. On the other hand, Love Lane sounds a lot more romantic than Love Thoroughfare.

The Village Cheese Shop is a great source of local pride. Everyone on the North Fork (which is to say, everyone that I know) speaks of it with a mixed amount of familiarity and awe. Metaphysically, the Village Cheese shop is proof of culture and sophistication and practically-speaking, its selection is every bit as good as any cheese shop in New York. The selection is certainly just as diverse: There’s French cheese and Italian cheese, Dutch cheese and Spanish cheese. It’s the EU of cheese without the internal discord.

I was thinking about the Village Cheese shop last night while I was in a bar in Manhattan, eating cheese.  It was a Greek restaurant and they had set out several big wheels of sheep’s cheese on the bar for snacking.(The bartender didn’t know the name of the cheese but he said to my friend and me, “Help yourselves.”) And so we did – we hacked big chunks and small slivers and tiny crumbs and we passed some cheese on crackers along to our fellow patrons who hadn’t stationed themselves as cleverly as we had, directly in front of the big block of cheese. And we shared a moment of profound satisfaction, even solidarity. There’s something quite civilizing about cheese.

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