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Cheese For Me, Or Not

Exactly one week from today, my First Annual Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival begins. Which means I am trying very hard to remain calm and not venture into nervous breakdown mode with my list of to-dos, last minute changes and irate phone calls from people who demand to buy tickets even though the event has been sold out for six weeks.

So I decided to kill five minutes and visit a new site designed by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, called “Cheese For Me.” It promises that by just answering a few short questions, Cheese For Me will select the ideal cheese based on my flavor preferences, style and sense.

The site itself is very calming and soothing and I have to say I spent the first 45 seconds just admiring the cheese shapes swooping into the screen, followed by lovely autumn leaves slowly descending down the page. Ahhh … feeling more relaxed already.

The first question: “Fall is harvest time. To celebrate, you’d like to sink your teeth into: a) a crispy juicy apple, b) toasted pumpkin seeds or c) squash risotto. Hmmm … because a fresh donut from Greenbush Bakery on Regent Street was not an option, and because I don’t particularly enjoy squishy squash or crispy pumpkin seeds, I went with “crispy juicy apple.” Although, I’d still prefer a warm, crispy, juicy fried apple fritter, just for the record.

Second question: “To celebrate the first cold crisp day of the season, you can’t wait to: a) snuggle up in your favorite warm, cozy sweater, b) jump in a pile of leaves and head for the pumpkin patch, or c) make the house smell great with a homemade apple pie.” What I’d really like to do is to sit in my big purple Lazy-Boy, read my stack of newspapers and Entertainment Weeklies, and watch my husband make an apple pie. So I of course I chose the apple pie option (note it did not specify that I actually had to make it).

Third question: “It’s football season and you’re in charge of the tailgate party. Expect: a) store-bought chick wings and beer, b) a big pot of chili with all the fixins, or c) food and drink that match the color of my favorite team.” Hmmm … since a growler of Lake Louie beer, a wedge of Hook’s 10-year cheddar and a slab of summer sausage were not an option, I actually have no idea how I answered this question. I started thinking about a pint of beer, good cheese and sausage and apparently randomly chose an answer, because the next question was:

“What’s your favorite way to forage for food? a) all in one superstore, b) a couple of stops a week at your corner grocery store or c) your favorite specialty stores – the butcher, the baker and the cheese shop.” This one was easy – I chose c, but let’s face it, when do I really have time to visit the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker?

Last question: “Your ideal day would be: a) hanging out at the coffee shop with a good friend or a good book, b) a little work, a little play, balance is key to life, or c) one with no plans so you can follow whatever adventures you find with complete abandon.” Wait — there’s an ideal day? I want to visit that world, so I chose C, the complete abandon option, but then remembered that the last time I had a day to myself I spent it sitting in front of my laptop organizing the dozens of various files that had accumulated on my desktop into actual folders. Truly sad.

Then it was time to click on the “Perfect Cheese for me is:” button. I admit it, I was kind of excited. I thought I might get something cool like Limburger, or maybe an aged cheddar, or a cave-aged Gruyere. Nope. Here is what it came up with:

“Wisconsin Farmer’s Cheese”

Yawn. What the hell is Farmer’s Cheese? From the picture, it looks like a hunk of boring white cheese cut into perfect little shapes perfect for a Ritz cracker. Blech. In good news, however, there was a “Dare to be different” button, based on my answers. I perked up a bit and clicked on it. The answer:

“Queso Blanco”

Wow. So what I think I can deduce from this exercise is that apparently I am a boring white person who should be eating boring white cheese. I think I’m better off getting back to work and trying to fill in a last-minute moderator spot for my seminars.

Check out the site and see what you get – maybe you’ll have better luck!
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