Trust Your Taste 023

Comté and Belonging

Cheese ~ Storytelling ~ Authenticity ~ Creativity

Happy Sunday! 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


Comté is a classic French favorite- perfect for snacking or cooking this time of year. Here are the stats:

Cow’s Milk ~ French ~ Alpine Style ~ Aged 4 months-4 years

Like other alpine’s, Comté is a “cooked and pressed” cheese. This means there is an extra heating step in the cheesemaking process where all the curds melt together to create one big wheel with a uniform texture. This makes it a great melter.

Depending on age and time of year, flavors can go from fresh hay to toasted nuts to caramelized onions. French palates (on average) tend to eat younger Comtés, but Americans prefer more age (which means more tyrosine crystals and a stronger nuttiness).

Try it at different ages if you can and see what you like best!

Something True: A truth about myself

Chita and Belonging

Me, Deidre, & Chita at The Carlyle, May 2016

Here’s the truth.

One of the best nights I’ve ever spent in New York was the night this picture was taken. And as our queen Chita Rivera has just left us, this is a tribute to her, and that night.

I had always dreamed of spending a night at The Carlyle Hotel. I started loving Elaine Stritch from a very early age, and I knew she always performed there (and for 12 years she actually lived there).

Many Broadway performers, musicians, and established cabaret acts will have residencies at Café Carlyle- so you can have dinner in their dining room during the show, or try to hear from their legendary Bemelman’s Bar.

It’s 2016- a mentor of mine in dance, directing, and life, Deidre calls to wish me a happy birthday, and to tell me that Chita Rivera is doing a show TOMORROW NIGHT at the Carlyle and a spot had just opened at her table (she was going with a group of friends- they had all worked with Chita in various Fosse shows).

I obviously dropped whatever plans I had, and I went.

I was fresh out of conservatory, and the youngest one at a table of Broadway vets- desperately trying to hide how giddy and in-awe I was of every moment to prove that I was “cool” and deserved to be among them.

I couldn’t help but tear up a little as the lights dimmed for the show to begin. Deidre grabbed my hand and all I could do was beam and silently mouth “thank you”.

Being there was surreal. The dinner was lovely, the show was of course incredible and full of Chita’s enormous talent, presence, and palpable zest for life. I didn’t think I could be more grateful.

Until I find myself after the show chatting with Chita (and her very large supportive family), and hanging out dishing about the dance and theatre scene after she took her shoes and her eyelashes off.

I did participate in conversations, but (as the last minute add-on to the evening) didn’t want to get too in the way of good friends catching up. So I listened and laughed for hours and tried to permanently absorb it all.

What Chita, Deidre, and the whole group did for me was much more than just fostering an unforgettable night.

They graciously folded in a 24-year-and-one-day-old stranger as one of the family. They showed me how small and intimate New York could be when you find your people. They showed me you can be wildly successful and well-known and still somehow be a humble, grounded, and wonderful human being.

They taught me that I could and did belong.

Farm to Fable: How food shows up in storytelling 

Fromage and Prayers in Madeline

Still from Madeline (the animated series), 1993

One of my favorite books growing up was Madeline, written and Illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans. This book gave us many beautiful things, one of which is the best dinner prayer that many people may know, but don’t know it comes from Madeline. Whenever the “twelve little girls in two straight lines” sit down for a meal, they recite together:

“We love our bread

We love our butter

But most of all

We love each other”

I can’t remember if the image is the same in the book, but in the cartoon from the 1990’s, the food in front of them is almost always a single croissant on a plate- which makes me giggle.

If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it for all ages, and as far as the cartoon, you should watch THIS episode “Madeline and the Big Cheese” where they lose an entire wheel of very special cheese (much like Comté).

Or, if you’re in New York, you could swing by Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, see the original Madeline illustrations that cover the walls, and have a toast to the memories of Broadway legends those walls so closely keep.

Until next time,


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 “The musical Chicago performed by different cheeses.”

Listen AI, I’m not upset…I’m disappointed.