Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Limburger Cheese

My father loved limburger cheese. My mother hates the way it smells like dirty socks. As a child, it was always my goal to prove to my father that I loved him more than my mother did. (Yes, Sigmund, there is an Electra.)

In order to prove that I loved him more, since Mama wouldn't even allow him to bring limburger into the trailer, I learned to eat it and like it. Of course, part of the reason that I could even attempt this is that I don't have a very good sense of smell. Nor, apparently, taste.

Just last week there was a story in the local paper about how the more taste buds you have, the stronger/hotter/more bitter foods taste to you. People like this are called picky eaters and are generally skinny. It isn't very healthy because it leads to deficiencies, since these super tasters find most vegetables bitter tasting. On the other hand, are people like me. Not so many taste buds, not such a sharp sense of taste. Love hot. Love bitter. Love sour. Lover pungent. Because these foods give us some sensation of taste. We aren't skinny. We don't lack vital nutrients.

So, I wasn't really proving that I loved my father more than my mother did. Just that I had fewer taste buds. But, science aside, it served me well. I felt quite puffed up in my own esteem about it, and for a four year-old, that is what really counts.

Neither Julie nor Richard can stand the way limburger smells, so I learned to enclose it in a glass jar when I put it in the refrigerator and to eat it when they weren't home. Years later I discovered that Missy (my small, gray cat for 18 1/2 years) loved it. Missy wouldn't eat any other people food. You could eat salmon or crab or prawns or chicken in front of her and she wouldn't seem to notice. So, imagine my surprise the day I spread some limburger on a cracker and she came running downstairs and nabbed it out of my fingers as I was putting it into my mouth! I soon learned that if I wanted to eat limburger with Missy in the house, I needed to give her some on a saucer. She was much faster than I was, and that first time was the only time I managed to get it anywhere near my mouth before she nabbed it.


Chancy said...

Could it be the limburger smelled and tasted like "eau de mousie" to the kitty cat?


J said...

Hmmm. It sure SMELLED like dead mouse! ;)

Ginger said...

Wow! Finally, an explanation for being a picky eater. I am embarrassed sometimes that as an adult I still can not tolerate so many of the foods that children also shun. My mother always said I would grow out of it.

Tabor said...

1. This reminds me of the odd smell of truffles that are only appealing to some people.
2. Have you seen the new research on skinny people who live 30% longer? Of course, they are on a carefully controlled diet with veggies included.

Maya's Granny said...

Ginger, some people do grow out of being picky eaters, i.e. they lose taste buds as they grow older and so they no longer experience the unpleasant tastes that they had before. Some, as you can see from personal experience, don't.

Check out some of the Sandy Swarz articles on TechCentral Station. Much of the "research" that claims that thin people live longer is falacious. Life expectancy is partly hereditary, and it does interact with what you do as well, but not completely. Think of Jim Fixx, running to avaoid the heart attack and early death his father had suffered -- dying of a heart attack at just the age his father
had, while out running.
People who carry too little weight have nothing to fall back on when they get sick, and tend to die first. The fact that life expectancy is increasing at the same time that waist lines are should cause us to think about these things.

wally said...

You can eat Limburgher if you put it in your mouth without smelling it first. It's very good. If I smell it first, I can't bring myself to putting in in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with Limburger and Harzer Roller cheese (Handkaes mit Musik when marinated in vinegar and onions). It's too bad we have become a society of mediocracy, where 'enriched white bread' is the norm, every store carries the same type of food and kids miss out on the specialties.
BTW, I have to eat limburger on the porch, in return I will not tolerate bacalao cooking in the house.