So, a few weeks ago, I got interviewed by Lonely Planet. After the interview, Rana, a worker-coop veteran and ex-Rainbow Grocery worker, called me up with an unexpected request. Basically, they had a table at one of the Pixar events at the Oakland Museum . Since it was “Ratatouille”, they were thinking (Yes, I’m making this up but I’m not sure I’m wrong) Ratatouille… rats… rats like cheese… let’s serve cheese.
Anyways, they had a great idea: find out which local cheesemakers accommodate visitors and then make day-trip travel itineraries. This is where I came in. Now, for my own book events I have tapped pretty much every local cheesemaker I know as well as quite a few from out of town.* I had resolved to not ask for any favors for awhile. Also, I had promised myself that I would have no events in November and December because of the craziness of the food holidays. But I like Oakland, museums, and Lonely Planet and this seemed like a fun event so I said, ok, last time for 2010.
And it was great.
Here’s me at the museum with my badly-in-need-of-a-haircut hair. We had to rotate cheeses, but on the table at the moment of the picture was (from foreground to background) Harley Farms big Monet, Loma Alta, Nicasio Square, Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel, Redwood Hill Chevre with Roasted Chile, and Redwood Hill Smoked Cheddar:
Mind you, I was exhausted. I was at work at 7 AM at Rainbow, received about a half ton of cheese, placed my orders, did a little prep in our cheese room and left at 3:30 for The Biggity. There were already people milling about when I got over there and, as is the pattern of people seeing free cheese, I had to set up while folks tried to pick cheese off the edges of the table. Watch your fingers folks, these knives are sharp.
Part of the reason they wanted me to do the cheese was so that they could have a lot of varieties on their 6 ft. table. Cheesemakers repping their own cheeses take up a lot of room. This worked for everyone because the cheesemakers know I can adequately describe and answer questions about their cheese. Well, at least the ones who came through with donations.
I had expected there to be a crazy pre-movie rush: a twenty people deep rush of rude cheese grabbers, but no, it was really relaxed and calm. Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers were even playing at the other end of the outdoor area. This was my first Oakland Museum of California** Friday night event, but I would go back in a second, even if I wasn’t pushing cheese at people.
Also, I grabbed the extra travel itineraries so ask for ‘em at the cheese counter if you want one!
*I feel bad for other authors who can’t offer free cheese as a bribe to get people to come to their events.
** And hey, my book is available at the Museum bookstore! Everyone working at the museum was super nice, especially the book buyer.
Read the original post at Gordonzola’s Blog.
|Gordon Edgar is the author of Cheesemonger, A Life on the Wedge.|