Valentine's Day holds a lot of mystery and destruction for most people.
There's an incredible amount of pressure to either: 1) Dazzle your chosen sweetie with rouge-shaded artifacts and some combination of sugar and sweets, 2) Be dazzled by a chosen sweetie who will attempt to "woo" you with Hallmark greetings and Whitman's samplers, or 3) Hate the fact that so many buy into the strangely commodified display of love and affection that is typically represented by cartoon hearts and a chubby cherub whipping about a bow and arrow.
Regardless of your personal views on Valentine's Day, or love for that matter, one thing you can always depend on is cheese. And whether it's to eat away the feelings of rejection and unlovable-ness that plague your moments of solitude, or if you're serving it in an attempt to get into some perceived hottie's pants, cheese will never steer you wrong.
Cheese is the food of love. There are the amorous stories of how certain cheeses came to exist like this blue's blue-ball conception, and the fact that cheese is filled to the brim with body-strengthening goodies such as calcium, vitamin D, protein, and MDMA. Cheese is made from milk; milk is created in the female body after a successful round of love-making has blessed the womb with an offspring. Thus, if milk is the liquid of lovemaking, cheese is the solid form of love. See where I'm going with all this?
Me neither, but the point is that cheese is a real aphrodisiac. Oysters are a living being, and in order to be consumed, they must die. Morbid, yes, but true. This is the real world, baby, and if we have to see things like Sally Field begging for pennies to save the children, then we have to open our eyes to the truths of the bigger world.
A lot goes into the care and rearing of dairy animals. The dedicated few who take on the shepherd role rise at the crack of dawn to get the first milking done. Throughout the night, the cow-ladies' utters swell with the growing yield of life-sustaining liquid. They are gently emptied and then given a hearty breakfast of hay and oats, or grass and daisies, or really anything tasty both on pasture and in barrels. Then the cheese-makers get to work churning and cutting, transforming liquid to solid, from something thirst-quenching to something hunger-subsiding. These magicians then clean down the whole dairy, herd the animals back up, then milk them again. Now, that's commitment.
This is grueling, time-consuming, physical work. Forearms bulge, muscles ache, and in the steamy, hot dairies across the world, people are elbow-deep in warm vats of milk, slurping and splashing, moans echoing off the tiled floors.
So maybe the whole cheese thing is a little pornographic, but that's part of what makes it so special. We humans are very strange, unique creatures. We are the only species out there that consumes the lactation of another species; we are also the only living thing that turns love into a purchasable venture, and the only ones who believe in a fat little man flying around with a weapon, shooting people at random.
And yet we find it all so romantic. Go figure. But just remember, cheese is great, and you're a snowflake.
This first appeared on MUNCHIES in February 2015.