The Psychology of Cheese

May 4, 2018

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I have sometimes thought that, if you want to know, in one easy step, much about how a person was brought up, simply sit down with him or her and put a hunk of cheese between you. I’m a habitually non-interventionist person in other people’s affairs, but when I see someone cut away the rind while leaving a considerable margin of edible cheese on it, I want to jump up and take the knife out of their hands.

What does their practice mean? I’m convinced (and I’ve given this some thought) that it means that they were brought up with lots of money and no urge to economy. I’ve known extremely rich people who were at least as conscious of waste as I—anything but rich—am. I can understand the Fifth Avenue matron who goes around turning off unnecessary lights all the time (based on personal observation), but I’m at a loss when confronted with people who don’t even notice waste.
There’s a British expression of contempt that I know only from fiction: “Cheese-paring.” I imagine that it refers to us who have horror of waste.
In fact, I just Googled the term for the first time:
cheese-paring
adjective
1.
extremely careful with money.
“cheese-paring methods necessitated by desperate shortages”

This must be one reason I get along with the Catalans, since this is traditionally a chief complaint about them by the Spanish.

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