It's three o'clock in the afternoon. The washing machine is whirring away the back-haul of laundry from our out-of-province holiday. Naptime has been re-established, and, with it, blogging hour. Proper eating habits, however, are still in flux, so I'm enjoying a post-brunch/pre-dinner snack of apples and fancy cheese. I'll figure out something for the children when they awake.
My choice of victuals may not appear overly festive, but in my household, nothing says "after-feast" like the presence of Bree in the cheese drawer. I'm the only one who eats it, and the good stuff is costly, both in terms of price and calorie count, so I indulge nigh but twice a year: Nativity and Pascha (i.e. Christmas and Easter). Thus, in the days following either great feast, I whittle away at my hoard of favoured dairy decadence, often accompanied by coffee and fruit, or some type of seasonal bread.
The current contents of my snack plate take me back to the season that started this culinary tradition: the few weeks that I "house-sat" for a friend of my mother-in-law-to-be prior to my wedding. Mostly it was a favour to keep my fiance and I from having to pay two rents after I moved out of residence, and an excuse to have someone to cook for between his travels. It was a rather Edwardian arrangement (minus the scandal of a maiden staying alone with a divorced man more than twice her age), much like an extended visit at the home of an easy-going uncle. There was very little house-sitting to do - basically water the plants for a few days here and there - and while he was at work, or away, I had the house to myself.
Every morning I rose somewhat late, made myself some hot cereal and coffee, and then moved on to my most serious house-sitting task: consuming the large amount of Bree that lay abandoned in the fridge. Apparently there had been some mix-up as to who was buying his family's traditional Paschal cheese, and the excess had been left with him. And I, in turn, had been left with the pleading instruction not to let it go to waste. Fortunately, I was more than up to the task. Ending my breakfast every morning with my favourite cheese was a joy that carried me through all the phone calls and list-making that my long-distance wedding planning involved. It's probably the most poignant food-memory I have: sitting at that kitchen table, phone in on hand while the other roamed between my wedding notebook, coffee cup, and plate of green grapes with wedges of Bree, munching and sipping my way down my prenuptial to-do list.
Prior to this period, Bree and I had met cordially off and on, but my parents had similar sensibilities when it came to over-stocking the cheese drawer, so such an extensive engagement had never occurred, nor has it been repeated since. But I seasonally revisit my fromagial relationship, on a more modest scale, in memory of this time of concentrated cheese-consumption. For when one spends that much time with another, there develops either love or hate. In the case of Bree, it's always been love.