My fridge is very dairy-heavy. Currently, it is stocked with whole milk, half & half, heavy whipping cream, two types of yogurt (store-bought Greek and a homemade recipe I’m tweaking), sour cream, butter, and all of my various cheeses. (I usually have some labneh in there as well, but I just ran out.) The cheeses are a category onto themselves. At any given moment, I need at least eight.
I do not need eight specific cheeses, but I do need at least one cheese from each of the following categories. (If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me tweet that I need seven cheeses, but someone pointed out I was missing cream cheese.) These are the cheeses I need to keep myself full and functioning. They are tailored to my particular lifestyle and desires, but I think everyone could benefit from identifying and categorizing their specific cheese needs.
My cheese needs are as follows:
- Snacking cheese: These are my string cheeses, my Babybells, my sticks and pre-wrapped Tillamook “snack portions” that I shove into my mouth as a pre-lifting snack, or in those moments when I’m feeling peckish, but don’t know what to eat.
- Cooking cheese: This is cheese that gets mixed and melted into dishes. It’s usually bagged and pre-shredded, but Velveeta also counts.
- Salad cheese: Ah, my crumbles. This is usually a pre-crumbled blue cheese, though it can be a nice feta, and sometimes there is overlap with our next category (finishing cheese).
- Finishing cheese: This is the cheese you use to finish a dish. It is usually “nice,” and packed with flavor, like Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and cotija. Finishing cheese can sometimes double as salad cheese.
- Sandwich cheese: These are (obviously) sliced cheeses that go on sandwiches. I usually have two—Dubliner (either a block or pre-sliced) and deli white American (both honor my heritage in their own way).
- Hangry cheese: This is just cottage cheese. It fills a more urgent need than snacking cheese, as it can be shoveled into my mouth.
- Cream cheese: She’s in a category of her own.
- Treat cheese: This is usually a small portion of something aged and crystal-flecked (I’m really into aged gouda right now), but sometimes it’s a super gooey washed rind specimen. I usually eat it with a really good apple.
That’s just me, and though I value my own opinions, I’d love to hear yours. How many cheeses do you keep stocked in your fridge? How many do you need to function? How many do you want? Tell me your cheese categories, your cheese desires, your cheese dreams. Identify your cheese needs, then demand they be met.