Rogue River Blue and Prioritizing the Important Things

Merry Christmas to all, and to all....

Cheese ~ Storytelling ~ Authenticity ~ Creativity

Happy Sunday and Merry Christmas Eve to all who celebrate! Keeping it quick-ish this week so you and I can spend our time indulging in food and story in real life away from our devices.

Here’s something tasty, something true, and some musings on food in storytelling to ponder over your favorite Sunday Treat.

Something Tasty: A cheese pairing to try

Rogue River Blue

Collage by Anne-Marie Pietersma

One of my favorite cheeses on earth. Only available this time of year. A truly special cheese. Here are the stats:

Cows milk ~ Blue ~ Rogue Creamery, Oregon

Rogue River Blue is a stunner American blue cheese (that was voted best in the world at one point- which was a huge deal for many reasons) wrapped in Syrah grape leaves that have been soaked in pear brandy. YES PLEASE.

If you can get your hands on any perry (sparkling pear wine) it’s an unbelievable pear-ing (sorry). You can match this with anything you’d normally pair with blue cheese- fruit preserves, crackers, chocolate, sweet wine, etc but…

HOT TAKE: Just eat it by itself.

There’s so many beautiful things going on, I don’t like to distract too much from all the fruity and savory flavors inherent in the cheese. It thrives solo.

Something True: A truth about myself

Prioritizing the Important Things

Probably the best Christmas tree my family has had circa 2019. Always decorated listening to The Beach Boys TERRIBLE Christmas album.

Here’s the truth.

Much like Rogue River Blue and Ebenezer Scrooge, I also tend to thrive solo.

I have become more of an introvert- especially since covid. Maybe because of my uptick in social anxiety, maybe because I had an crash course in introspection and listening to myself.

Whether I have become this way, or have always been this way, I mostly need to recharge with solo time.

However, this holiday season I’ve been working remotely so much I’ve had a TON of alone time, and found myself craving time with friends in crowded over-decorated bars and chaos shopping amongst the masses. I also found myself VERY BEHIND on all things merry and bright.

Now back in California with my family, as soon as I shut my work laptop on Friday I started ~panicking~.

I went to a Barnes & Noble at the mall (you can image what that parking lot looked like) to find a book to gift that was not there. I went to the lot to get even a dinky Charlie Brown Christmas tree and there were none to be found. I went to the grocery store for Christmas dinner ingredients and they were out of a few necessary to make the planned recipes.

It was the capitalist version of having no room at the inn. So many things left to buy- and nowhere to buy them.

And then, as it often does, the true magic of Christmas came around. I surrendered the need for anything I planned to happen. And once I did that…

I did find a dinky tree (today, even though I accidentally walked in to a garden center an hour before they opened- sorry Armstrong). I didn’t find that book but I found something better. I still have not decorated my house at all or baked anything or wrapped anything…

…but I did put on fuzzy socks and watched Great British Bake Off with my mom to get ideas for a Yule Log, and I did play Santa with my dad around the dairy and passed out presents to the people that help produce all the milk and butter and cream that delights holiday baking and keeps people fed.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the way things “should” be, or stay stuck on a present that fell through, or a recipe gone wrong, or any of the things that add up to make unnecessary stress this time of year.

So as a reminder to myself (and you, if you need it). It will all be fine. Prioritize the things you can’t get back- like quality time with the people you love (or solo time to recharge away from work). And if we’re grateful for the time, the things that fill it will probably be great no matter what.

Farm to Fable: How food shows up in storytelling 

A Muppet’s Christmas Carol

Michael Cane as Ebenezer Scrooge in A Muppets Christmas Carol

This is one of the greatest movies ever made. Full stop. I will die on this hill.

The songs are brilliant, the acting is superb (muppets and humans alike), and it is RICH with food fun and attention to gastronomic detail.

Neither of us have time for me to elaborate as much as I’d like. Vice wrote a great article about how it’s an underrated food movie- but I’ll tell you all my thoughts another time.

The first song we get “no cheeses for us meeces”, the grand payoff of the feast at the end, the abundance of Christmas Present, and true to the Dickens text- when Scrooge sees Marley’s ghost for the first time he says:

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There's more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

Come ON! We love it. And we love a sensible snack of meat, mustard, potato, and cheese. What more do you need?

I would bet a lot of money the cheese in this scene is a Stilton- another one of my favorites. But if you are a lover of blue and can get it- do yourself a favor and have some Rogue River Blue and watch this movie, solo or in good company. I honestly can’t think of a better evening.

The cheese is pricey but I promise it’s worth it. Pretend you’re Michael Cane in a top hat with a stack of gold and treat yourself.

Wishing you Good Tidings and Great Gonzos,


P.S. - Sunday Scaries

A terrifying AI image to help us all rest knowing AI bots could never replace a real human artist:

This week the prompt was “Muppets feasting on Christmas cheese.”

I hope you dream of dancing sugarplums instead of this image.