Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cattail Cheese ...


There was a time not long ago that I was required to travel about in some of the more definitively rural areas of the country ... seldom did I run across conventional eating establishments, well-known franchised convenience marts or self-serve gas stations ... on the contrary there were a smattering of small country stores here and there along the highways and back roads of which I often frequented ... surprisingly some offered delicious homemade snacks such as pepperoni rolls, barbecued chicken, fried bologna sandwiches, cakes, pies and other treats ... my favorite was pork tenderloin biscuits consisting of tender, thick, baked pork tenderloin nestled inside of a fresh, hot, homemade buttermilk biscuit all of which would melt right in your mouth without even chewing it ... I never drove past that place without stopping for two or three of those heavenly delicacies ...

One place in particular sticks in my memory like cockleburrs to a woolen sweater ... a small country store which sat along the way constructed of weathered barn boards and a tar paper roof with a single gas pump sitting at the far corner ... it's proprietor was a sweet, elderly lady everybody around those parts simply called 'Mz Mabel' ... Mz Mabel had operated the tiny market all alone since the untimely death of her husband thirty-five years prior and still permitted several of the more trustworthy local folk to run a monthly line of credit for any goods purchased ... I would often stop at Mz Mabel's for a snack and cold drink as it was the last chance to do so for the next forty miles ... usually I grabbed a small bag of chips, a cold RC Cola and a chunk of longhorn cheese to munch on as I made my way back home ... Mz Mabel always kept several pieces of cheese wrapped in plastic wrap and sold by weight in a huge glass-topped cooler along with a few other perishable items such as milk, butter, eggs and cold cuts ... but that day there was no sliced cheese in the cooler, so the extremely kind Mz Mabel offered to go cut me a wedge from the 'big round' ... "how big a piece do you want young feller?" she enquired as she made her way to the far end of the long wooden counter ... "oh 'bout a quarter pound I suppose" I replied ... about that time I heard the ol' lady sternly demand "git down off a there Tommy, 'till I git this feller's cheese" ... I glanced just in time to see a huge tabby cat scurrying from off the top of an uncovered round of longhorn cheese, it had been sitting there the entire time ... Mz Mabel retrieved my slice of cheese, weighed it, carefully wrapped it in plastic, walked back to the cash register, placed it with my other items then said "will that be all?" just as that cat jumped back up onto that round of longhorn cheese and assumed it's previous sitting position ... "how long has the cat been sitting on the cheese?" I politely asked ... "oh, fer as long as I've had him, 'bout six years now I reckon, he likes to sit up there and watch fer mice ... and it keeps the blowflies off the cheese!" ...

I've never really had a taste for longhorn cheese since that incident ... and often wonder just how many chunks of 'cattail cheese' I may have consumed over the years ...


--sja

9 comments:

Nicole said...

Now that's a great story!! That cheese sure sounded good until the 'end' lol

Jireh Ministries Foundation, Inc said...

Sometimes we are better off not knowing.

Beth in NC said...

Ewwww. LOL I have never heard of longhorn cheese. My husband always calls that hoop cheese (if I'm spelling that correctly).

Yeah, sometimes it is better not knowing. For instance -- what happens in the kitchens of restaurants. I just don't want to know ... I'll bless my food and eat in ignorance.

CherylT said...

I am sooooooo hungry for cheese after reading this. Not "Cockleburr to a woolen sweater" - what great imagery.

sja said...

Again, thank you everyone for stopping by ... really glad you all enjoy the posts!

sja said...

Nicole -- thanks! ... and that cheese 'was' good!

sja said...

Jireh Ministries Foundation, Inc -- yes that's true about better off not knowing ... mine was a classic case!

sja said...

Beth in NC -- longhorn or hoop ... just avoid the cattail cheese!

sja said...

CherylT -- I know where's there's a little country store where you just might be able to purchase some great cheese ... by the slice or by the wedge!