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Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese
On Trader Joe's 1,000 Day Gouda and Nirvana's "Big Cheese"
Trader Joe’s 1,000 Day Gouda Cheese
I love cheese.
Every kind of cheese.
Brie, gorgonzola, halloumi, and Cotjia. Goat cheese with cherries, cream cheese with pepper jelly, cottage cheese with pineapple. Easy Cheese, Velveeta, Kraft Singles, and that canned nacho cheese sauce they serve alongside tortilla chips at sporting events. That’s not even cheese! That’s whey and oil emulsified with some other stuff to make it cheese-like! I STILL LOVE IT.
Asking me to choose a favorite cheese is like asking me to choose my favorite Charlie Day scene in Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I cannot. I will not. All cheese is good cheese and all Charlie scenes are hilarious scenes.
But. There is one type of cheese I’m craving more often than all the other cheeses these days and that is Trader Joe’s 1,000 Day Gouda.
Everything about this cheese is perfect. Have you had it? It is phenomenal. It’s hard, pungent, nutty, and buttery. It’s packed with little pockets of crispy, crunchy cheese crystals that are so sharp and flavorful that it feels like cheese sparks are going off in your mouth as you chew.
My favorite way to eat it is sliced and sandwiched between two fat wedges of an especially juicy apple. Honeycrisp, Cosmic Crisp, basically anything grown in Washington State with the word “crisp” in the name. The apple’s juices combine with the cheese and become all tangy and sharp in your mouth and the crispiness of the fruit enhances the crunch of the crystals and… Homer Simpson drool noise.
I know what you’re thinking, “That sounds like any decent parmesan, Megan!”
The difference? This melts. Beautifully. You can tuck it into a grilled cheese sandwich or plop a few hunks into hot tomato soup. It gets gooey and smooth like a mild, soft cheese while still boasting the strong, punchy flavor of a harder, more aged cheese without getting oily or weird.
It is everything a versatile cheese needs to be and if I had to choose just one cheese to eat for the rest of my life I would choose this cheese. It can be sweet, it can be savory. It can be dressed up for a fancy party or it can be eaten right off the block while you stare into the fridge wondering what the fuck you’re going to make for dinner.
Your search is over; you have your answer. Dinner is cheese. Bon appétit.
“Big Cheese” by Nirvana
I’ve been listening to a lot more anti-authority/protest music lately — Propagandhi, The Muslims, Bikini Kill.
Gee, I wonder why.
My ongoing search for a suitable soundtrack to my daily fits of rage recently led me back to “Big Cheese,” an underrated “Damn the Man” gem on the 1992 reissue of Nirvana’s Bleach.
The song was originally released as a B-side to “Love Buzz,” the first single Nirvana released on Sub Pop as well as the first installment of Sub Pop’s now-famous Singles Club, so it felt like I was hearing juicy gossip when I first learned the contemptuous anthem was directed at Sub Pop president Jonathan Poneman.
Cobain told journalist Michael Azerrad in the 1993 biography Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana, “I was expressing all the pressures that I felt from him at the time because he was being so judgmental about what we were recording.”
The repetitive and sludgy rant starts with a sinister guitar sound that pulses forward like Jaws’eerie, accelerating pre-attack taunt. After a quick burst of drums and bass, Kurt Cobain starts to sing, snarl, actually, “Big cheese, make me / Mine says, go to the office.”
The lyrics aren’t especially witty or evocative — that’s true for most of Bleach, really — but Cobain’s delivery is as bitter and angsty as a disgruntled employee being told to work an extra shift after being called in on his day off.
Cobain’s vocals, get more aggressive as the song goes on — what initially sounds like a playground provocation grows into tortured, unintelligible screaming.
“BIG CHEESE!! MAKE MEEE!”
It’s simultaneously silly and unsettling. Nirvana in a nutshell. Only Cobain can make a song that features the word “cheese” half a dozen times sound like a threat.
The movie is called Jaws of course, but did you know the shark’s name is unofficially Bruce? It’s true!
People continue to debate “Big Cheese”’s lyrics, including whether or not Cobain sings “Mine says” or “Mike says.” I hear “mine.” We’re going with “mine.”