Friday, April 01, 2011

That's So Cheesy

Anybody remember the 70s? Remember eating "grown-up" food in the 70s?
I recall it as a time of exploration, a time of experimentation. I'd had a good, sane, creative diet at home as a kid, so my palate was ready to try things. And, oh, sophistication? It was a quest. Naturellement.
So there was this tiny, expensive, packaged cheese from France, called Boursin. It came in a little cardboard box. Inside was a circular slice of soft white dairy, wrapped in foil.
It smelled heavenly. Garlic, herbs. There was a black pepper version, too, but that was maybe too grown-up.
Such a treat, smeared on baguette rounds. Accompanied by a sip of dry white — oaky, because this was the 70s.
One day a young woman I knew — she was probably the first foodie I had ever met, and the word "foodie" wasn't even invented yet — showed me how to toss some American cream cheese into a blender, along with minced herbs and crushed garlic. (One was still allowed to crush garlic in the 70s.) Whiz, spin, mix. And out came a shapeless blob of Boursin, swear to god.
Very good. But, you know, pathetic, because she didn't actually buy the expensive tiny package. Doesn't buying it make it better? Homemade? The poor thing.
Not that I never tried making my own Boursin from time to time.
But I moved on. Too many interesting things were happening in the foodosphere. I don't think I've tasted any of that 70s cheese since — the 70s.
Nowadays there are some wonderful little homestead cheeses in my area. (I will not use the word "foodshed." Oops.) A soft, white, creamy-yet-flaky one... Very local. Perfect for a resurrection of this project.
No blender needed. Grate some green garlic (is one allowed to grate garlic?) and mince some chives. Tiny. Crack some black pepper as chunky as you can get it. Stir these aromatics into the cheese, with a pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
Scrape the shapeless blob into a pretty bowl, surround it with slices of good bread, and pop open the Chardonnay.
Roberta Flack optional.

28 comments:

cookiecrumb said...

I REALLY CAN'T BEAR TO READ THE NEWS

not an april fool's column.

Zoomie said...

Wow, a trippy trip down memory lane! I think I did all of that, except I liked chablis back then. I love it that we are of the same vintage, you and I, and can share some of that silly stuff. I love the rules, too. They really were (and are) rules! Break the rules and you're not considered a serious eater/cook/foodie. So, of course, I break 'em.

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: I break 'em too. As you know.
Hey, you didn't identify the wood of the bowl in the photo! I thought you would.

Pink Granite said...

Ahhhh... the 70s - fondue, quiche and Boursin. Apparently it was all about the French and the cheese!
You have described the Boursin experience perfectly. It was such a step up from WisPride!
;o)
- Lee

Zoomie said...

Monkeypod, I think? You should see my MP salad bowl - $5 at the dollar store in Kailua. Love it!

cookiecrumb said...

Pink: Oh, you are right. All that cheese! And the height of swank was a "cheese and wine" party.
BTW, my hubz had a restaurant job where he had to "make" a WisPride-like mess. A bottle of this, a tub of that, all in the Hobart. Pack it in little crocks.

Zoomie: Ding, ding, ding! Yes, monkeypod. I still love that wood. This set of salad bowls was FREE. (My parents offloaded it.)

kudzu said...

Those creamy spreads are so addictive! And Roberta Flack is almost never optional.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: So addictive, yes. (I been called out on the Roberta Flack; guilty.) xxx

namastenancy said...

I LOVED Boursin - the crispy baguette, the white wine, the whole deal. I'm not sure I ever moved on because I still buy Boursin but use it as a flavoring - in eggs, in quiche, in my Mac and Cheese (oops...there goes another secret). I saw that that Cowgirl Creamery is selling clabbered cottage cheese. Has anybody tried it yet? I'm thinking that it would be a good addition for all sorts of cheese dips.

cookiecrumb said...

Nancy: Be frugal and make your own. But, yes, the flavors.... Ahhh.
I've had several little tubs of the clabbered cottage cheese. It's pure dairy, a little tangy. I don't think (at that price) I'd melt it into anything. I just scoop it into my mouth.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

I had no idea crushing garlic was a no no, I do it all the time. I also smash it with a knife and grate it with one of those microplane doodads.

O frugal, it's the latest thing, it said so in today's very paper!

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Frugal local. It's the shits. LOOK: http://bit.ly/dI97xu

bewitchingkitchen.com said...

My gosh... Roberta Flack! You really brought that from some deep drawer!

I haven't thought about her in decades...

:-)

(guilty, as charged, and I was not even in the US then, she was pretty popular in Brazil)

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Confession, I read that years ago, when I GOOGLE-STALKED you :)

cookiecrumb said...

Bewitch: Oh, thank you. There are a few other songs and artists that come to mind from that period, but Roberta sort of epitomized the mood I was going for. XX!!

Mouse: You read it? Well, no matter how creepy it sounds to be Google-stalked, I'm pretty flattered. :)

Elizabeth said...

It's obviously retro week - I made Sunshine Salad not long ago. http://elizabethnow.blogspot.com/2011/03/sunshine-salad.html

Elton John for me, with a sip of some then-trendy liquor taken surreptitiously from the sideboard in the living room.

cookiecrumb said...

Elizabeth: What a gorgeous salad. Putting that on the list. Nothing wrong with some of that 70s food, I've decided.
And -- Elton John? Check.
Amaretto? -- Check.

Greg said...

The seventies are back according to Nate Berkus.Dry white you say? Does Boone's Farm or Ripple count? :)

Peter said...

I would have thought you'd go with Helen Reddy.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: That's because you have a pathological aversion to understanding me. Just go off and picnic with your Sleater-Kinney-Medeski boyfriends, you meanie.

This is actually kinda fun.

Elizabeth said...

The 70s continue here in Portland: QUICHE!

http://elizabethnow.blogspot.com/2011/04/number-24-roquefort-and-broccoli-quiche.html

Stop me before I make salmon loaf or fondue ...

cookiecrumb said...

Elizabeth: That sounds so good. What is going on?
(Salmon loaf. Never, never made it.)

Elizabeth said...

I have no idea why the time warp, but I may be coming out of it now. Or possibly not. What era is 6-hour slow-cooked pork with garlic?

And salmon loaf is really, really nasty. In my experience, anyway.

Also - your shrimp and avocado salad looks divine, very Green Goddess-y, to keep to the theme.

cookiecrumb said...

Elizabeth: There's some pretty good food from that era. Don't we all still like a quiche now and then?
6-hour slow-cooked pork with garlic sounds like the Mayan Era. :D

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Boursin! A few years back I was staying in a hotel and not in the mood for restaurant dining. I bought a bunch of carrots and a box of Boursin and called it dinner. It was a treat. Of course, your green garlic version is much better.

cookiecrumb said...

Denise: Oh, hotel eating can be such a secret, evil treat. Yours sounds perfect. I will store that away.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Ha, you can talk :)

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: In my heart, I HOPE you are referring to my crack at Peter. The little shit. He probably won't come back here and read that. We're having an internet feud.