Ever since I was little, I have hated the idea of eating cheese. My mom said it stemmed from the fact that at the age of six, my brother declared to my parents, “I don’t like cheese!” Being the four-year-old sister that looked up to her brother in every way, I decided to hate cheese from then on.
As I have grown up, I have become more and more exposed to cheese. Going out to restaurants, and just growing up in general, one’s palate becomes more sophisticated. It seemed everyone was eating “fancy” cheeses. All I thought about when I saw cheese at parties or in restaurants was its terrible odor, effectively turning me off from ever wanting to try it.
Over the years, I have held onto my dislike of cheese, despite family and friends trying to persuade me otherwise. I have had long conversations and debates with many cheese lovers (or should I say, cheese obsessors) arguing that it isn’t possible to dislike every type of cheese, and stating all the reasons why they love cheese.
But having an aversion to a certain food is not a rare thing; plenty of people have foods they hate. If it happens to be a popular food you get judged pretty harshly. The fact that the food I hate happens to be one everyone seems to love is the only reason I get judged for mine. If I was food-averse to Brussels sprouts, I bet no one would even care. Yet being someone who hates cheese seems to bring on the haters. I mean, who am I to dis-a-brie?
People have had various reactions and issues due to my aversion to cheese. They:
- Ask many questions. What? Why don’t you like cheese? Have you always hated it? Are you crazy?
- Make me try to taste it (willingly). In the dining hall at school or in the comfort of my own home, friends and family disregard the fact that I haven’t (and won’t) eat cheese by simply putting it on my plate or saying, “please just try it, I promise you’ll like it.”
- Make me taste it (against my will). By hiding it in food, by telling me it is ravioli stuffed with vegetables and no cheese, or literally trying to make me take a bite.
- Forget I don’t like cheese and take me to restaurants like Melt that literally only serve everything smothered with cheese.
- Fail to disguise their horror. In Spanish class, I was writing a sentence using vocab stating, “It is a fact that I don’t like cheese.” My teacher drew a face next to it, obviously showing her dismay.
Also, people look at you weird when you order a cheeseburger with NO CHEESE.
To this day, my dad, a lover of cheese and a self-proclaimed cheese aficionado, still tries to pretend that my cheese hatred does not exist. He tries to put it on my sandwiches, gives me crackers with cheese and simply sneaks it onto my plate, pretending that it was always there.
After trying to please family and friends so many times over the years, taking nibbles of cheese that disgust me (due to smell and/or taste), I have officially decided to declare myself a no-cheese zone — not even on pizza.
America is a cheese-loving country, so I don’t think I will be able to escape the horror of cheese. As a country, the U.S. is one of the biggest cheese producers in the world. U.S. per capita cheese consumption is about 34 pounds of cheese per person per year — that’s more than one full ton of cheese during the average lifetime. But obviously the French eat the most cheese, putting away an average of 57 pounds per person a year.
I can’t see that ever happening in my lifetime. As the famous author James Joyce once said, “A corpse is meat gone bad. Well, and what’s cheese? Corpse of milk.” My thoughts exactly.