What's better on a hot summer's day than a nice cool spot with a spread of tasty vittles and a plethora of ice cold libations, dripping with condensation and turning the muggy air slightly cooler? Nothing. There is literally nothing better than the pastoral scene of solitude and consumption that I just described.
Unfortunately for us cheesemongers, that's not the case for the next week. This will be a time when everything that is wrong about the food industry descends onto the already crowded Ney York City streets. Behold: The Fancy Food Show.
What is the Fancy Food Show, you ask? Well, the Fanciest of Food Shows is a giant food convention that takes place in the quaint little Javits Center, located in Manhattan's intimate West Side. What started off as a food fair of sorts way back in the early 1900s—when exotic ingredients such as tiger and elephant were presented to the masses of newly "gourmet"-minded consumers—has devolved into a full-on circle jerk of industry folks flaunting their newest assembly-line creations. Granted, while the Jelly Belly display will make you feel like a kid on acid in a warped Willy Wonka world, the convention as a whole is a big dick-swinging party in which you consume too many samples of overly salted treats, with no water fountains in sight, creating the effect of Burning Man three days in: hot, smelly, and just a bad idea.
So, how does this affect us cheese folk? The already diluted and chaotic food scene swells with visiting brethren, all crowding into different shops, snapping photos for inspiration on future displays, and scribbling little notes into Moleskine pads about what products to order. This is all good! It's nice to inspire and for producers to get business. That's part of why we do what we do.
But there is an almost voyeuristic attitude to the looky-loos. We are caged animals behind the counter, with nowhere to hide. We are forced to stand face-forward, puzzled expressions being captured by a clicking lens in some photo that no one asked if they could take.
What do we do about it? We eat our feelings. In the best possible way. We crouch down behind garbage cans, out of the way of peering eyes, and we inhale our anxieties away. Here's one great snack that is great when washed down with a swing of a vodka-ginger beer with a floater of elderflower cordial: burrata scooped up with a crusty, French-style baguette dripping with oil-marinated roasted tomatoes. Or an ad hoc grilled cheese of Comté with hot pepper jelly and thinly sliced red onions.
The whole point of this is that eating your feelings—in particular stress and anxiety—is great, just great. And you all should try it.