January 20th – Cheese Day

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According to DairyAustralia (a fairly reliable source, I assume, when talking about dairy.) estimates Australians to consume $1.6 billion worth of cheese every year, or 213 000 tons. This is the same weight as around 1420 very, very large blue whales…that’s a lot of cheese. However, we only come in at 10th in the international cheese eating race – the top consumers per capita (as of 2009) were France, Malta and Germany. The U.S. came in at 7th, more than Australia. Luckily, we have managed to beat New Zealand yet again, as they roll in at 12th. Indeed, it seems that cheese is quite the popular commodity – with good reason too. Happy Cheese Day!

The earliest sound evidence we have for the creation of this divine culinary delight dates back to 5500BCE up in Poland. There is also an alternative legend involving travellers riding horses through the hot climate of the middle east – it is thought that the continuous motion of the animals and the climate combined with a chemical in the bags made of animal parts used to carrying the milk allowed the travellers to accidentally come across brilliance. 

Cheese is enjoyed though out the world, in very many different ways…some are perhaps what you might consider to be a little…well, disgusting. One particularly wondrous delight is the delicacy of Casu Marzu, which is basically cheese that has eggs laid into it by a fly…which then hatch into maggots. These maggots drag themselves throughout the cheese with their teeth (I want to to reeeeeeeeally think about that for a minute), which turns that cheese into a sticky mass filled with worms that you are then expected to eat… Perhaps unsurprisingly, this “delicacy” is illegal, due to European Union food hygiene-health regulations. Although currently, fans of the cheese are trying to put it through as a “traditional” food, which would mean it is exempt from…well, being safe to eat. If you’re really keen, it sells for really high prices on the black market. 

And now that I have filled your pretty little head with that disturbing image, you can unwind and relax as you watch the most intense and ridiculous competition know to cheese. Every year many people gather to participate and laugh blatantly to support this insane event. People gather at the top of the steep Cooper’s Hill in England: a single wheel of cheese is released and given a head start of about 2 seconds before everyone attempts to run down the very steep hill after it. Whoever gets to the base of the hill first, thus claiming the cheese, is the victor. It’s also hilarious. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtvG9XDtjv4&feature=player_embedded 

One more interesting thing – using the word “cheesy” to mean “tawdry” instead of “tasting of delicious goodness” was believed to have first been recorded in 1896. 

I hope you enjoy cheese day and all that is wonderful. For those of you who are lactose intolerant…all I can do is feel sorry for you. For those who can eat cheese without it’s glory becoming too much for them to handle, I suggest you try cheese with peanut butter. It is an amazing delight which I thought was totally normal but have since been told that it really isn’t. But it’s nice, I swear. Happy Cheese Day!

~ Darcierae

Info-links
cheese consumption per capita http://media.eatwisconsincheese.com/assets/media/statistics/cheese_consumption_by_country_2009.jpg 
Australian cheese statistics
http://www.dairyaustralia.com.au/Statistics-and-markets/Production-and-sales/Cheese.aspx 
Casu Marzu
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/qi/9615739/QI-Some-quite-interesting-facts-about-cheese.html 

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