Anyone that has known me for longer than a few minutes and has had a meal with me – or discussed food – will know that I don’t like cheese. It smells and tastes like feet and is a great way to ruin food.
There are a few exceptions to the rule – basically if it’s very mild and / or doesn’t taste of cheese, then it’s fine. Mozzarella on pizza is a perfect example. Even then, if there’s too much of it, I don’t like it.
You would think that this would be a major problem for me if I had relocated to France. Now, we all know that Americans like their cheese but they are also the Czars of Customer Care (written alliteration counts). In a world where you can order a meal at a restaurant, painstakingly swap out every component for something else, and still have your order taken with a smile (as opposed to the punch in the face such an act truly deserves), you would think that getting a meal without cheese on it would be simple, right?
On occasion (particularly every Friday), I like to avail myself of an English Muffin with bacon and egg at a place called PAX, on the corner of 41st and Sixth, just near our office. Every time I go in there, I order ‘Egg & Bacon on English Muffin’ and they ask ‘No cheese?’ in a way that suggests I just ordered a sandwich without the bread.
I dutifully say ‘No cheese’ – my assumption being that the omission was implied as I hadn’t asked for it in the first place.
This morning, I did the same. This time the guy (it’s always the same guy) didn’t ask. I figured ‘Oh great, they finally recognize me’.
Nope. I got to my desk, unwrapped and … there it is. A slab of American Cheese, ruining my bacon.
This isn’t the first time it’s happened, and it’s not limited to quick takeaway meals either. AJ and I went to a nice lunch restaurant near my office last week and I ordered a sandwich ‘with no Gruyere’. I even specifically called out the offending cheese and asked for it to be removed.
Guess what I got with my lunch? That’s right. Fucking gruyere.
The most egregious offense though, is Pret a Manger. Anyone who has worked in London, or even visited, will know that Prets are on every corner. They are less prevalent in the US, but they serve the same food as back home and as such serve double purpose as a quick bite to eat as well as a slice of familiarity.
Or rather they did, until I discovered that their entire breakfast range is the UK version with cheese stuffed into it. On every god damn item. WHY AMERICA.
It’s the land, and specifically the city, where you can find your needs catered to whatever your dietary constraints. Unless, apparently, you don’t like cheese. Because in true American fashion (and anyone that’s worked for a US-headquartered company will also sympathize with this) “well, we do this, so the rest of the world must do it too”.