It's about our community and our spirituality!

It Was Gouda While It Lasted

A few months ago I was walking through the Schnucks grocery store in Clayton, Missouri traveling past the fruit and produce and headed towards the deli. Between the two is an island of refrigerated display cases filled with a large selection of cheeses. I’ve passed it a thousand times. But today, the cheese lady was actually working on her display case and I thought I’d ask her about a special cheese I had a few years ago in Red Deer, Canada. It was an apple smoked gouda purchased on a whim. The flavor was excellent and it beat the hell out of anything with a Kraft label on it. I asked the woman if she had anything like that particular cheese of my dreams a long time ago.

The woman frowned for just a sec and said that she didn’t have an apple smoked gouda but she did have an apple smoked cheddar. But she did have a smoked gouda from a company named Charmwood. The cheddar was going for about eight dollars a pound while the gouda sold for twenty. I asked why such a difference. She replied without any sarcasm that one was cheddar and one was gouda. Cheddar had its characteristics and gouda had its characteristics. I must’ve frowned from her answer because she asked if I would like to do a taste comparison between the two. My curiosity was piqued and I jumped at the opportunity. She unwrapped the gouda and then sliced a thin sliver off and gave it to me on tissue paper. This was a cheese like no other. Its flavor was powerful. It had a sharpness no cheddar would ever come close to matching. Each taste bud in my mouth swooned as if the cheese was an old lover long lost but recently found. My eyes rolled back into my head like I had just taken a hit of some illegal substance that went straight to my brain. It was beautiful.

The woman behind the counter brought me back down to earth with a concerned, Sir? I opened my eyes and she had the cheddar ready for me to try. She had a small piece of melba toast for me to neutralize the flavor of the gouda and clear my mouth for the next sample. After a couple of seconds, I took the cheddar ready to enjoy a similar experience. It was nice, if you’re into cardboard. After the gouda the flavor of the cheddar seemed weak and waxy. I asked the woman what kind of cheese was that behind her. When she turned, I spat the cheddar out as if it was gelled caster oil. When she turned back around I had the expelled wad of cheddar wrapped in the tissue paper, ready to pitch in the garbage. Before the woman could say anything I asked her for a half pound of the gouda. And thus, my downfall started.

Shortly thereafter I found some chicken sausage links with smoked gouda in the local Costco store. I bought a couple of packages to try. And damn if that stuff don’t make anything from Oscar Meyer look like doggie bones or some Beggin’ Strips or something else that might pass for dog food. I started making special trips to Costco just to keep the deep freezer filled with sausages. Whenever I got down to my last pack of twenty or so links, I grabbed the car keys and made the Costco trek. They were quick, they were easy, and they made the best chili dogs.

So imagine my surprise when I went to the health fare at work and saw my overall cholesterol numbers spike thirty points over the past year or so. All year I had been doing my best to lose weight. I’ve been going to the gym. I’ve been avoiding red meat. I haven’t met my goals just yet. But I have been able to see a few subtle changes in my body shape that led me to believe I was heading in the right direction.

“Was” is the key word. After all the gouda and chicken sausages and right after the obligatory Thanksgiving Day dinner with the family consisting of all kinds of foods better left off a healthy diet, I went and had my cholesterol checked. And did I add the fact that just this past weekend we had barbecued pork steaks? One of my sisters from out of town stayed an extra week and decided she wanted barbecue on her last night home and we did the her right. Even though there was some chicken grilled as well, barbecue pork steaks are like manna from heaven. It is one of my few kryptonite like substances. It cuts through all my defenses like a hot phaser through butter. The barbecue sauce had caramelized on the pork steaks with perfection making the steaks totally impossible to resist. I simply dropped any consideration that I was going to have my cholesterol checked in just a few days. And after last year’s slightly high numbers, I made myself a promise that I would have better results this year.

Even though my current cholesterol numbers are high I know I have what it takes to get them back down to humanly acceptable levels. No more gouda and no more sausage and no more pork steaks. It’s time for diet mode ALPHA! In six months, I will drop my cholesterol numbers by no less than thirty points. This will happen before the end of June and it will happen without medication. No more excuses. It will happen. It won’t be easy because that gouda was really damn good!

Sunday, December 13, 2009 - Posted by | Health, Life, Thoughts


  1. The holidays are tough on the cholesterol numbers. Last year I had my cholestral test right after Christmas — and I was put on Lipitor. I wasn’t even given the option for diet and exercise because they were so high, but I managed to reduce the dosage and still keep it low through at least October. But the holiday season is here again and for me it’s the desserts. I’m doing my best, but it IS hard even thought I keep up the exercise and the whole grains.

    Good luck!

    Comment by Bettina Hansel | Sunday, December 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Bettina Hansel,

    I’d like to blame my cholesterol on the holidays. But the bottom line is that I’ve been taking my health for granted for a while now. And I would really like to avoid taking any medication to control it. I have an aversion to taking pills or relying on any controlled substance to help regulate my health. And like you I have a sweet tooth. To say I like desserts is like saying a hydrogen bomb is explosive. I’m a sugar and trans fats junkie.


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Monday, December 14, 2009 | Reply

  3. Good luck to both of you. Having been in the medical field for years I know how hard keeping an eye on the cholesterol is. And I usually worked CCU/cardiac care unit, where the MI/heart attacks would be.

    And the people usually had out of control cholesterol and had no intention of trying to fix it. So you two are way ahead of the game in that you are at least making it a point with or without medication to try and head off the problems.

    It is hard, but lots of fruits and veggies and exercise goes a long way. I am not that big on sweets, except recently I have been on this gummy bender. And meat is not my friend, I just can’t do it. And that is probably the only thing that keeps my levels low.

    But, I have faith that you will both be able to do what you set out to do. And sorry BP that you are now off the Gouda. That is some very, very good stuff. I’m sort of a cheese nibbler myself.

    Comment by theblacksentinel | Monday, December 14, 2009 | Reply

  4. Brother P- I was once told a short story by a wise old short fatman. He said he was told by his doctor that by not eating donuts, he could add ten years to his life. The fatman looked at him puzzled. He asked the doctor, “Why would I give up the joy that donuts bring me, only to live 10 more years without donuts?”

    Its a tough situation, but for a guy getting up there in the years (I’ll turn 31 in April, afterall!), it’s all about quality of life. If my body and a doctor tell me that I’ll be on meds and die soon if I keep eating my bacon and eggs, my whopper juniors with cheese, and drinking all that soda and coffee with sugar constantly, well, I have to think to myself, what good is the rest of those years if I can’t enjoy them through the foods I eat? It’s all about quality of food, err, life for me….so, I’ll ignore the doctors. Most of my elders ate the same crap I eat (well maybe not the BK and McD’s) and most lived well into their 90s without much in the way of issues.

    As for your cholesterol, the overall number isn’t as big a deal as the ration between LDL and HDL cholesterols. but other than that, workout to make yoursefl look good, and beyond that, screw em, I say!

    Comment by Mike Lovell | Monday, December 14, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: