Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Inflight Update – Cheese Etiquette Explained


In a previous blog, entitled Inflight Update, I posed the following question to Paul Kelly, Hemingway’s de facto Cheese Ambassador:

Question for Paul Kelly: what is the correct procedure if, when cutting into a sliver of Cambazola, one finds that a few crumbles of Double Gloucester have remained on the knife, surreptitiously stealing the opportunity to attach themselves to the krautkäse? Gently brush off the offending flakes? Or perhaps ignore them, and simply chug down the whole fromagesbord together?

His answer is so good, I thought I’d publish it:

“Whilst one may have lowliness thrust upon one, and in this case one has, as Cheese Ambassador, I feel that only a suitably diplomatic response to your enquiry can be proffered. As your dilemma pertains to social manners, may I direct you to the Ministry of Socially Acceptable Manners as this office of ambassadorial duties is already well versed in all such matters. For a more immediate and long term solution please refer to Emily Post’s 1922 book entitled ‘Etiquette’ for all you’ll need to know to avoid any future faux pas. To get you started on the right path, it is important to know that a soft cheese like cambazola and a semi hard cheese such as Double Gloucester should never, ever be cut with the same knife. That’s the sort of thing associated with people who have to buy their own silver.
[I think he means me – The Kaptain]

For Cambazola, or any soft cheese, a flat bladed knife is the best option, something resembling a butter knife would be passable and for semi or hard cheeses then a de facto cheese knife is the implement of choice (ivory handled preferably, although optional). This would at once make ‘chugging’ the fromage farrago a moot point and the world a more pleasant place. And, of course, having the cheese cut and served with white gloves on is an absolute necessity.

From the Office of Hemingway’s Cheese Ambassador.”

So now we know. All in all a damn fine explanation, what?

posted by Kirk at 3:51 am  


  1. One would actually like to know, given any future tricky conundrums, how much of that reply actually stemmed from the ‘Cheese Ambassador’ himself and how much from the lovely ‘Cheese Ambassadress’.

    Comment by Emily Post — September 25, 2008 @ 1:05 pm

  2. It’s great to hear from you, Emily. You must be – what – 150 years old by now…?

    But I share your suspicions regarding the source of the Cheese Ambassador’s knowledge of etiquette…

    Comment by Kirk — September 25, 2008 @ 10:44 pm

  3. In response to your wavering disbelief Ms Post and the Kaptain’s suspicions I have no other recourse than to address this calumny.

    Whilst the Ambassadress is indeed a most erudite individual and provided a useful sounding-board, all, and I mean ALL, the Cheese Ambassadorial vernacular originated from my good self.

    So there you have it Mr Z, for yes, I know that you are the long deceased ‘Emily Post’. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle trumps the upstart Ellery Queen (only demonstrating that one Englishman is better than two Americans!).

    Knowing your fondness for history ’Emily’, I thought I’d let you know that on Wednesday there will be a nuncheon of cheese aficionados at Hemingway’s on Wednesday, an Old English term that has sadly slipped from common usage, but one I’m sure you will appreciate.

    The Cheese Ambassador and plenipotentiary

    Comment by Cheese Ambassador — September 28, 2008 @ 1:37 am

  4. Ah, so now we know…

    Comment by Kirk — September 28, 2008 @ 5:38 am

  5. Ah I beg to differ.. Cutting one’s cheese is as far from Double Gloucester as Pigs ears are to biscuits. Depending on the shmeer in the ‘cheese’ would certainly contribute to how much it ‘sticks’… in this case, to a knife. When left undesturbed, if you know what I mean, the ‘cheese’ tends to lend itself to a more elastic, yet less pliable state. It is to this that timing is everything, and should you fine that while ‘cutting’ ones cheese, it stick like crap to a woolen blanket, then simply pass the knife though light olive oil before cutting..

    Comment by Kevin — October 10, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

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