December 11, 2007

Cheesy Memories

I think most of you know I have a brother, two years my junior, that lives out in LA. He's an actor. He goes by TN here in my comments.

When we were kids, my grandfather used to send us this ENORMOUS Swiss Colony package, filled with sausage, cheeses, tortes, nuts, and as TN puts it, 'the dreaded Swiss Colony fruit cake'. Every year we'd plow through that thing, crackers and cheese and sausage, trying the various items that came in the pack.

Morrigan may not remember most of this since she is six years younger, but I think that the Swiss Colony package from Grandaddy was one of the highlights of Christmas. We LOVED that.

And so this holiday season, I was thinking of TN and what to get him beyond my usual fare. There is not much he wants or claims to need, so typically I'll get a box and put together foods we ate as a child, Captain Crunch, Cheez Its, Circus Peanuts (those orange candy things... he HATES them now, calls them choking down orange granulated sugar), etc. And usually I'll have a little something, more grown up in the box as well.

He's still getting his standard box of 'memory food', but I remembered back to Grandaddy's Swiss Colony package and had an Ah! Ha! moment. And a memory....

I was probably eight at the most, making him six. (Morrigan... do that math, was two, so she won't remember this, although I feel certain she was part of it.) We gathered all the cheeses out of the fridge, got some crackers (I think... although we may have just been eating cheese) and set forth to try and eat every cheese that came with it.

Holy crap, there was a lot of cheese. They weren't big wheels of cheese, but the little sample sizes, enough for a few crackers a piece.

Some were GREAT, I salivate remembering how I loved them, and some were OK. I was not fond of cheeses with funky spices in them that looked like rye or thyme. Keep the spices out of my cheese.

But then... good Lord, we still talk about this... there was this white cheese with this funky texture... the texture of what I would say was cellulite. Fat. It was white and was just nasty and we named it Butt Cheese. It was AWFUL. Absolutely awful. We still have no idea what cheese it was, we just always say, "Hey, you remember when we were tasting all those cheeses and there was that Butt cheese?" to which the reply is always, 'Oh! Gag! Yeah! I remember that!" (And being as I said Morrigan might have been there, we were the type of older siblings that would have coerced her to eat all the Butt cheese.)

Remember the scene in BIG, where Tom Hanks tries caviar and starts to try to scrape it off his tongue? We were probably not far from that with the Butt Cheese.

Anyway, flash forward to last week, I was on the Swiss Colony site and I knew, that whatever I got him had to have two things: a torte and... Butt Cheese.

Do you know how hard it is to identify cheeses from their pictures on-line, let alone try to figure out if one would resemble Butt cheese? Yeah. I suspect I missed the boat.

So I got him this HUGE variety, including two mini-tortes, and in hopes... there is Butt cheese. Heh. That will make my day if I nailed it. Absolutely... make my day. He got the package today. Now I wait...

I know I'm not the only one that has these crazy annual Christmas gift memories. Come clean folks... put them in my comments if you have one. I want to hear!

Posted by Boudicca at December 11, 2007 10:38 PM | TrackBack

I used to love to give my dad prank gifts, I have one that I caught on video, I am going to email to you..


Posted by: P'cola Titan at December 11, 2007 11:03 PM

Years ago, for a family Independence Day gathering, there was 2 twelve-packs of an off-brand, diet iced tea in cans purchased. One (1) can was opened; then promptly spit out. It was the most vile, horrific taste- and everyone was made to try it.

Somehow, the unopened twelve-pack sat in the pantry until Christmas. We wrapped it up, and gave it to my mother-in-law- the one who had requested the drink in the first place. There were many laughs on Christmas day, then it was forgotten.

Until the next Christmas- where we got it back.

This went on for a few years, until my mother-in-law got divorced- and I believe she may have lost custody of the twelve-pack.

Posted by: Prestersean at December 12, 2007 12:46 AM

Clearly I wouldn't remember that year but I do remember later years. I loved the would cut us little slices after dinner and I felt like it was a very special cake.

Posted by: Morrigan at December 12, 2007 05:25 AM

PT- My email is down right now, so if you don't hear from me, its not because I'm neglecting it! Send it!

Prestersean- Oh I love those types of gifts that get passed from year to year! Our family has a few of those... nothing as vile as the iced tea you describe. One of them is a corn pone encased in plastic...

Mo- I wasn't sure if we still got them when you were fully cognizant. I think that Butt Cheese smelled too... I'm waiting for TNs take.

Posted by: Bou at December 12, 2007 07:11 AM

My Grandma used to make this Olde English Pudding, and being of the very young variety i just thought it looked like a gigantic turd that you were supposed to drizzle with this vile looking white...syrup. Although very few in the ENTIRE family actually ate it, she faithfully made it year after year. One Fateful Yuletide, i have no clue as to when, i mustered the courage to try it, or maybe it was my own older brothers and their coersion...nonetheless it made contact with my tongue. It was one of those "Hey Mikey, he likes it!" moments. I ate it every year after that and have found that in adulthood that i actually crave it, but no one has made it since she last did probably my senior year of high school in '86(she's been gone since '89). I think after all these years i've finally located the recipe from my dad's cousin and am looking forward to making it this year. The question at this point...where the hell do you find beef suet now?

Posted by: Jay- the friendly neighborhood piper at December 12, 2007 09:43 AM

We've been wrapping and passing a can of Heinz Spotted Dick around for years. I have it this year, and my dad is getting it!

Posted by: oddybobo at December 12, 2007 12:59 PM

I remember that fruit cake. No, really, someone gave that same one to me one year. I gave it to someone else. You'll never convince me there's more than one fruit cake in the world - I've never seen anyone eat that stuff.

But Butt Cheese? Yeah, I can't help you identifying that one. I don't eat wax, so I don't eat much cheese, either (well, except for on pizza).

Posted by: Ogre at December 12, 2007 02:22 PM

I remember the year that my sister was working on a bunch of gingerbread figures, trying to mold them properly while the gingerbread was soft (she can be a real perfectionist). As she worked meticulously on her likeness of Adam and Eve, this comment suddenly escaped her... (better cover the kids' eyes and ears)

"Oh no! Adam's getting hard!"

Posted by: diamond dave at December 12, 2007 05:42 PM

The texture was the nasty thing, but it is cheese, so there's a distinct possibilty it also smelled bad.

Last night after Chinese food, I polished off the Dobosh Torte. A couple hours later, I sliced into one of the sausages and the "normal" mini-brick of cheddar -- went through about half each. If I hadn't eaten so much of it, it would've been a much better midnight snack. Still tasty!

Posted by: Toluca Nole at December 12, 2007 06:34 PM

Just remember one gift to the family at Christmas time that got me in trouble..well, it twern't the gift it was my mouth...and the neighbor who brought my Mother a Minced Meat Pie..I allowed it looked like it had already been ate and the neighbor heard me and took offense...but it did..

Posted by: GUYK at December 12, 2007 08:55 PM

My dad would go goose and duck hunting, and we always had game for Christmas dinner. Mom would stuff them with apples and celery, slather them with butter, and roast them. I liked it, but I hated accidentally biting down on the shot.

Well, one year he winged a goose and didn't have the heart to kill it. He didn't damage it very badly, and he chased it down (a wild goose chase?) tackled it, threw it in the Jeep and brought it back to the house to recuperate. (Honestly, I don't know what that ride must have been like.) So we had our Christmas goose, alright, only it wasn't on the table where it belonged.

Instead, it lived on the enclosed porch, and all of us kids stopped using the back door to exit the house. It was an evil goose, and a very large one as well - as tall as one of my little brothers who lived in mortal fear of it. I don't remember why dad moved it INSIDE, but at some point it became a "house pet". It got labeled "Socrates". Pet? As if. It took a shining to the Christmas tree. I think it was attracted by the tinsel, because it de-tinseled the tree rather handily. It walked the perimeter of the tree skirt and kept us from getting within throwing distance of the tree. It also drank the water out of the tree stand. Seriously, it would have been sweet revenge to see that thing stuffed with celery and apples!

Our parents at least had the decency to lock the goose up in the bathroom on Christmas eve and again on Christmas day, so we could open presents. After New Year's the goose was carted off and released where it could hook up with some other geese. It probably died somewhere of tinsel ingestion.

Posted by: Peggy U at December 13, 2007 12:07 AM