Update: 2 Cheeses, 300 Religions

Once Again, Merry Christmas to all ARL Readers

Last year at this time, I took the time to thank our M. Ragazzo’s lovely wife for lending me her (mother-in-law’s?) copy of a very good and useful book – Home Cheese Making – which then I added to my Amazon wish list, along with “Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing“.  It seems that someone was paying attention, as my own lovely wife has now given these to me for this Christmas, yahoo!  (Note:  I’ve already prepared two old-time classic preserved meat dishes for our neighborhood’s next gathering in January – Comfit d’oie – goose – and what I’m inclined to call aspic d’oie ala dinde et hambon – or tur-goose-ham, ha, ha.) 

And, oh boy, to now have the luxury of time energy & inspiration to explore all of these passions!  Still with reluctance (and continuing nod to ARL inspiration Ferenc Mate), I now must admit that there are a growing number of things about the French that I am beginning to incorporate into my “reasonable life”…..including a glass or two of red wine with a nice cheese or dark chocolate after a leisurely dinner full of fresh vegetables and good, grass-fed meats layered with rich lovely fat, and real cream in my cafe au lait.  Why, I’ve even stopped shaving my arm pits…oops, did I say that out loud?

And, as always at this time of year, it is good and appropriate to count one’s blessings.  Here, I feel very fortunate to have more than just a few to count.  As may be noted above, there is still plenty of food on the table, even if the menu has changed rather dramatically over the past year.  My health is significantly improved as a result of these new dietary habits and, of course, my continuing committment to spending more active time outside.  My wife seems (relatively) happy with the new me, not to mention my ever-smaller, now 33-inch, waistline.  

Beyond all of that, my musical passion continues to develop and I’ve been afforded the opportunity to fall in love with a simply fabulous Bourgeois guitar.  In addition, my luthier expects to have repairs completed by Christmas on an older, 50’s vintage, Martin guitar given to me by our (very nice and very generous) farrier, a real down-to-earth cowboy with genuine humility, from which we all might learn a great deal. “Aawwww, hell, what are friends for“, he says of this wonderful gift.   

Work – what to say about work.  How about, “the world – and our life within it – is not without it’s challenges”.  As it happens, my work generally requires that I try to make some sense out of – at least the economic aspects – of this world around us.  That’s not easy, even in the best of times.  These days, as I’m in the habit of trumpeting (with varying degrees of “pugnacious assuredness“), that things are simply “going to hell in a handbasket“, or variations on that theme.  Which, if true, is all the more reason to count one’s blessings and waste not a moment of our time appreciating them.

So, let’s not dwell on those less-than-pleasant notions today.  Rather, I should like to take this opportunity to extend an olive branch or two, especially to those who I have inadvertenty offended, either in my work here on this blog or in any other conversation.  It is hoped that my “pugnacious assuredness“, as I’m calling it, might be more-or-less excusable to those who understand and appreciate both my passion for seeking the truth and my corresponding willingness to be challenged in that pursuit.  Unfortunately, toes do occasionally get get stepped on in that process.  For this, I’m truly sorry.

Though America may yet remain a nation of “2 Cheeses and 300 Religions”, I’m working to alter that balance, if just a bit.  (Unsurprisingly, it turns out that some, as yet uncounted, number of our many religions may center on our more limited taste in cheeses…not to mention other “sacred” dietary preferences.)  So, as I continue to discover new ways to offend people in my various quests, I’ll ask now for your continuing forbearance and wish each and all a Merry Christmas.

Harry Tuttle


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