It came to be that I found myself starving one afternoon. As I mulled over what I might consume, a vision of a half-wedge of brie shimmered into my mind (or shimmied-- you pick). And I felt the thrill of excitement flutter deep inside that is unique to the prospect of having some brie. It is delicious and I only really eat it during the holidays so it's a special time indeed.
I found that piece, along with some Nutthins, my new favorite crackers. As I stood there, spreading the brie the best I could (it's best room temp but who can wait that long or have the foresight?) I made the important and brave decision to just finish it to the end.
The beginning and middle of brie-eating is glorious. The white rind, bursting with creamy-centered goodness, plentiful for all, never to run out. Until you eat it all and you find yourself in that last phase of brie-eating, the phase less-heralded, not really talked about among friends. The kind of brie-eating kept to oneself in the privacy of one's home, usually done in solitude, in silence. I felt a shift within myself and what was once only rapture was now replaced with loathing, shame, self-demeaning. Patheticism. It was then that Sean descended the stairs into the kitchen and found me in my moment of shame, scraping at the rind, trying to separate it from the cheese but not doing a very good job, and then not caring and eating some rind.
"Nothing, I don't know!" I hastily exclaimed, feeling caught in the act, totally busted in my embarrassing behavior.
Sean laughed and repeated the sentiment he had said many times before about the degradation one finds oneself in at the end of the eating of the brie, but was always met with blank stares. How one never knows when to call it and throw the rind away. For the brie is so good but the demoralizing feelings increase with every scrape and pick at the last remnants of cheese. Until you are pathetically spreading pea-sized blobs of cheese onto your cracker or worse, eating it straight with your fingers. Or worse still, scraping at it with your teeth. Perverting the good intentions and creation of brie-makers everywhere. I thought I had been expressing my devotion, my commitment and perhaps courage, by decided to eat it to the end. But now, I told him, I felt like I was digging in the trash for scraps. He nodded, knowing all too well. He has mentioned this several times but I had forgotten. "Yes," he said somberly, quietly. "You forget this part of it." Disgusted yet humbled, I decided to whisper a swift "thanks" to the brie for being SO GOOD, salvaged whatever self-respect I still had, and threw the rest of the rind in the trash. I mean talk about courage.
And that's my experience. May you have better luck than I on your next brie-eating.
Ps. I stole the title from a sign in the grocery store today. The store is kind of a bummer- dim and soulless, but that sign over the cheese section was quality.