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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cheese Please

"How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 kinds of cheese?" DeGaulle once asked. This says as much about French cheese as it does about France.
The cheese man at the open air market in Valence d'Agen yesterday was quite generous with samples. He had only a small selection--maybe 6 or 7 varieties of cheese produced in the Pyrenees which is about a 2-hour drive from here. I selected a hard cheese--a little sharp, good for an omelette or grated onto a salad. But after he told me he liked my hat and that I was beautiful and that he'd like my phone number, I got a little discombobulated and forgot to ask him the name of the cheese.
I told him I had only a USA number for my Blackberry, and then he asked me to stop back and see him when I finished my shopping.
I didn't.
But for the next couple of hours as I strolled past the fish, and the couscous, and the bread, the dishes, the clothes, and jewelry and yes, even the lingerie, I noticed that all of the couples I saw seemed to be well-matched in age. Maybe the French appreciate une femme d'un certain age.
Maybe cheese merchants, who know that the aging process enhances the cheese, are especially appreciative of older women.

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