Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania at a Sheetz gas station and grab n’ go shop, I found a basket of tiny gourmet snack cheeses. One was a single serve cup of Il de France Brie.
Ile de France is a well-known French producer whose pop-up I had visited at the Best of France festival in Manhattan. I had thoroughly enjoyed the Brie I got there, and was thrilled to see it available in .9 oz., 70 calorie miniatures. (I found out later the Brie Bites come in a bag at grocery stores, too.)
When I looked at the sell-by date on the side on my Brie Bite, my chest froze; the date February 24th is the anniversary of my mother’s death. Although it’s a sad day, it’s also one I spend remembering her, especially with foods she loved like pralines, Milky Way bars, and buttery cheeses.
Brie is one such cheese. Sumptuous and smooth, it satisfies the indulgent nature of the human experience.
During the last couple of decades of her life, my mother denied herself some of the world’s most luxurious, full-fat foods. It was not her weight that concerned her—she was naturally petite and skinny—but rather, her hereditary high cholesterol. The doctor suggested she adopt a low fat diet with extreme limitations on her dairy. From then on, she lamented the fat-driven world; she altered recipes; she avoided red meat and eggs; and she picked nervously at my delicious cheeses.
But it was not cholesterol that shifted her fate. It was an accident. When I realized how haphazard life was, I vowed to “seize the day” and never deny myself the pleasure of dairy indulgence. As it turns out, doctors are not always right, and full fat, quality dairy is not the culprit, when part of a balanced diet.
So Carpe Cheese-um!
Elizabeth Bland, The Cheese Mistress