Monday, August 30, 2021


My apartment mate, who is concerned about my well-being despite the fact that she and I are not involved in a relationship beyond the friend level, often buys me goodies to eat. And she knows that Dutchmen thrive on cheese. So there is cheese on hand. It's vicarious Dutchness, much like my scarfing down pastries in Chinatown is vicarious Cantonesity.

My doctor and my cardiologist, both of whom are Chinese American, though that isn't really relevant in this instance, would be shocked and horrified. I'm not sure what the staff at the clinic would think. They are Chinese too, so on the one hand they'd be on the same page as the pastries, but they might be appalled by the cheese. Or, like my apartment mate, have no problem whatsoever with the concept.

The Cantonese, after all, invented the baked porkchop covered with melted cheese on a bed of spaghetti in tomato sauce. Extra cheese gladly added. You just have to ask!

I am surprised that there is no cheese shop in Chinatown.

One is within walking distance, however.

I do not take full advantage of my lack of lactose intolerance.


It's been ages since I had the cheesy spaghetti porkchop. And no, this does not mean I plan to have one soon. I would gladly watch someone else eat it, but it's too rich for my blood. I am neither a starving student nor a frustrated office worker, and don't have quite the appetite for something so rich and wholesomely delicious. I'd probably get a vicarious frisson watching a nurse scarf it after a long shift, or some auntie deciding screw it all I'm going to enjoy myself, but I'm more likely to have a chop without cheese, or something stewed or stirfried mixed veggies and meats, with rice. And a hearty dollop of chilisauce (sambal).

I am a temperate man, with modest tastes.

Cheese is just a guilty snack thing.

Surely everyone knows that?

All over the Netherlands, and maybe England and France, people secretely rip into cheeses in the middle of the night, when no one is watching. Pass the crackers and melba toast.

It's a way of life.

As an afterthought, I should mention that when I last visited my brother in Utrecht, we ate at a restaurant that specialized in "porkchops Hawaii". Which, it turns out, is a cutlet topped with a pineapple slice and melted Gouda. It might appeal to Italian Americans or Cantonese folks.
But Anglos would want ranch dressing to go with it.
It was okay with lots of sambal.

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