My kitchen has been quiet this week, filled with simple meals of roasted fall veggies and leftover Halloween snack size candy bars. I did make cheese grits the other night, using artisanal grits from Logan Turnpike Mill in Blairsville, GA, that my friend M-sent several months ago. The funny truth: I never ate grits when I actually lived in the South. It was only this summer that I first enjoyed them in all their glory at the Zingerman’s roadhouse in Ann Arbor (I also tasted a most divine pulled pork barbecue, made even more transcendent because I’m a vegetarian and the rich fattiness of meat has escaped me these 8 years). So now I make cheese grits occasionally when I need a warm, soothing dish to smooth out my blues. I like to use a pinch of cayenne pepper and generous amounts of extra sharp Vermont cheddar...which leads me to my first top five list:
Dharmagirl’s Top Five Cheeses
1. Extra Sharp Cheddar: Cabot (Vermont) is tasty, as is Black Diamond (Canada), but the 5 year aged cheddar at Zingerman’s is beyond.
2. Parmigiano-Reggiano: the real stuff, with the name carved into the side. Amazing how a little lasts ages.
3. Triple Cream Brie: yumm. It’s practically butter, with a heady richness.
4. Havarti with Dill: the first “fancy” cheese I ate.
5. This position rotates: right now I’m remembering a imported Italian marscapone I used to make Tiramisu for my brother L-for his birthday in May.
My inspiration for these top five lists is twofold:
1. Rob, the lovable semi-lost Rob, the narrator of Nick Hornby’s “Lad-Lit” ur text *High Fidelity*: Rob is forever making top five lists to organize his life and create meaning.
2. Road trip/Slumber Party activity: My friends and I used to play a game called “would you rather,” in which we would list two possible dates, and one would have to choose one or the other. The fun of this game was picking either two horrid combos or two dreamy combos and forcing a decision to best judge one’s affections. We often used celebs, such as “would you rather date John Cusack or Patrick Dempsey?” So I decided to pick up on the John Cusack thread (he played the aforementioned Rob in the film version of *High Fidelity*--the book is better, as usual), and segue into creating top five lists. A slightly more sophisticated game, S-, H-, and I first played this as we tooled around Prince Edward Island in a Ford Focus Wagon (and, to return to John Cusack, he’s one of S-’s favorite picks:)