I found myself in Harmon’s last week. Harmon’s is the best (as far as I know) grocery store in Utah county. It’s one of my favorite places around Provo, along with Borders, the used-book store on Center Street, and (occasionally) Bed Bath & Beyond. During this trip to Harmon’s, I focused all of my attention on just two areas, the meats, and the cheeses. For the past month, I’ve been eating an unusual (for me, anyway) amount of cheese and sausage. Mostly Italian sausages and bratwurst, not those 3-foot long beef logs that you get for Christmas.
I suppose the cheese thing started at our Freakishly Fantastic Fun-Filled Fischer Family Fiesta in July. My sister and my brother-in-law, Duben (a self-described cheese-lover), organized a cheese night for us. One of the cheeses that they served was called Dublin, from an Irish cheese-maker called Kerrygold. It was delicious. In fact, it IS delicious. I’m snacking on a bit of it right now (don’t worry, it’s a new block). Well, the cheese night was fun, and that was that until the first weekend in October. On the Friday before General Conference, I found myself craving delicious food. If I had a girlfriend, we would have immediately left for Carrabba’s. As I don’t, and I’m not one to dine out alone, I went out to forage in Provo’s grocery stores. Three grocery stores and 25 dollars later, I came home with a wedge of Parmigiano Regiano, two different kinds of Irish cheese, and some spicy, Italian sausages. I deemed the evening a success.
So, back to Harmon’s. After the Kerrygolds and Parmesan, I wanted something even more interesting. And what’s more interesting than a cheese that you’ve never even heard of? I found a couple strange cheeses, like the local varieties (who knew Utah had a cheesemaker?), and a couple others. I finally settled on a small wedge of something called Morbier. It was the perfect choice, I had never heard of it before, it was a semi-soft (I’m not very familiar with anything but hard cheeses), and it had a line of blueish-green stuff that ran through the middle of it. After a quick perusal of the meat selection, I also discovered that Harmon’s makes its own sausages. I felt patriotically obliged to buy a package labeled, “Greek Chicken Sausage.”
During my time as a missionary in Puerto Rico, there was a certain smell that I grew accustomed to while traveling on country roads. This specific smell was that of the occasional bloated, dead dog that one can always find along the roads of the Puerto Rican campo. This smell is also very similar to that of an unwrapped piece of Morbier cheese. It was amidst memories of biking along dusty, country roads that I steeled my nerves in preparation to place the smallest piece of this cheese into my mouth, all while my olfactory system was telling my gastrointestinal system that my muscular system was about to do something very stupid. Well, no surprises here. It tasted like it smelled, and that sums up my entire relationship with Morbier cheese.
Feeling rather dejected after being defeated by a 7 ounce wedge of French cheese, I opened my package of Greek Chicken sausages, and grilled them on the balcony. After my first bite, I felt that the evening might yet be saved. My tongue’s attention was completely distracted by the taste of Feta, chicken, and various herbs. I smiled, and went back for more. It wasn’t until my third or fourth bite that my tongue fully regained its senses enough to inform me that the sausage was extremely dry. I have a small suspicion that I tend to overcook my sausages, but I don’t think I can take all the blame for the poor condition of this one. By the time I moved on to my second piece of sausage, the only thing that kept me going was my deeply rooted sense of obligation to certain nameless, starving children in China. I think it is horribly tragic that, with our advances in agricultural techniques, anybody is allowed to go starving, and that anybody could create such an unfortunate piece of sausage.