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My Cheesiest Customer


Published August 4, 2007 at 8:39 p.m.

The two women in the back of my cab were atwitter. "Do you know who you're sitting next to?" one of them asked.

I looked over at a perfectly pleasant looking man, vaguely foreign, a smile on his face that would not quit.

"OK," I said, "I'll bite. Is he a famous Belgian sports announcer?"

"Close," the replied the woman. "Garrett actually won first prize today for his homestead cheese."

"Really?" I said. "What - was there a contest?"

"At the Sheraton?" the woman replied incredulously, as if it was hard to imagine a person so totally out of the loop. "This weekend is the American Cheese Society Conference."

"Well, that's really cool," I said, turning to Garrett. "Where's your farm?"

"We're from Indiana," he replied in an accent I couldn't place. "Our cheeses are based on traditional Dutch recipes, but I add my own twist."

"Didja grow up in Holland?"

"I did, but I've been here for 15 years."

We pulled into the Sheraton and turned into the entrance. "The only Dutch cheese I can think of is Gouda," I said with a chuckle.

"You mean ccchhow-ducch?"

"That's how you say it in Dutch?" I asked.

"You got it."

"Well, I'll remember that," I said. "Just like Vincent Van Gahchh."

"Yes," he said, laughing along with his two cheesy groupies. "Just like Vincent."