(If this is your first visit, it might make sense to start with the, uh, Cow-Losing Manifesto, which can be found here.)

I usually hate being all meta, blogging about the blog and so forth, and I promise it will almost never happen, but there are things that have to be said.

We’ve been live for . . . two and a half days, basically. And they have been, no fooling, some of the greatest and most gratifying days a girl ever had.

Three remarkable things happened on my first day in the new digs over here, just in terms of getting underway. First, I got linked by Pam. Second, I got linked (Site of the Week! Booty dance!) by Put Down The Donut. (If you read F&D, Joelle from PDTD is the same Joelle from BlogMoxie who did my site redesign over there — see how it all fits together?) Third, I got linked by Lose the Buddha. Between those three links and a bunch of others, a mondo quantity of traffic was driven here that has much more to do with other people’s work than with mine, and which is by far the most enjoyable and most motivating way to start a new project. So I thank all the excellent folks who threw me a link or have added me to their blogrolls. On the web, probably more directly than anywhere else, you genuinely stand on the shoulders of other people’s work and reputations, and it’s kind of like a little vote of confidence when people put their support behind you, so . . . you rule.

And to those of you who left comments . . . wow. Just, really, thank you so much. Not just for all your kind words, although they are overwhelmingly kind, but for your thoughtful and thought-provoking additions to the discussion. I am all kinds of humbled and moved and floored by your tales, and I seriously hope you’re going to keep sharing them.

On the administrative side: Yes, I’m working on what kinds of notice there will be of updates. I’ll keep you posted — there’ll be a way to keep track.

I also realized I never really told you who I am, figuring you’d all be coming from places where you already knew me, which hasn’t turned out to be the case, quite. So for what it’s worth, I’m Linda, and I also write here and here, and I’m partly an attorney and partly a freelance writer.

And now that we’ve discussed inspiration and given thanks, we will move on to the matter of cheese.

I was asked in the comments:

If you don’t mind indulging reader questions, tell me the truth: does nonfat cheese taste like ass?

(Reader questions are most excellent, and if I’m going to talk anyway, you might as well lay ’em on me. You can email ’em, too.)

Yes, nonfat cheese tastes like ass. More specifically, nonfat cheese has all the flavor of wax, but with the enticing texture of partially melted Saran Wrap. I realize, of course, that the transitive property would tend to suggest that I am kind of accusing your ass of tasting like wax, which I am so not. I’m sure your ass tastes much better than wax. (That sentence is in there just to generate weird Google hits, by the way, not that I won’t get them from having “cow” in the title.) And both your ass and wax actually taste better than nonfat cheese.

Admittedly, I cannot claim to have tried every sort of nonfat cheese there is. It’s entirely possible that out there somewhere, there is a nonfat cheese that might remind you of cheese, particularly if you were drunk. If there is, I humbly bow down to its genius. But the nonfat cheeses I have actually tried have been unfailingly vile. Not just unsatisfying — I’m saying vile. I’m saying the fact that you can still get nonfat cheese strikes me as a failure of capitalism.

In my opinion, the only people who should use nonfat cheese are people who (1) want to make something that looks like it contains cheese or is topped with cheese; (2) want to feel confident that it has no fat in it; and (3) intend to throw whatever it is away rather than actually eating it or, needless to say, serving it to anyone they like.

Oddly, nonfat cheese specifically lacks every quality that actual cheese contains. It does not (1) taste like cheese; (2) have fat; (3) melt; (4) combine with anything else; or (5) form strings that stretch across your chin. There’s an argument to be made that objectively, it is not cheese, with the only opposing arguments being that it (1) comes shredded in a bag; and (2) often has a distinctly unnatural orange hue. You’ll notice that those two qualities are not associated with your high-end products from Italy to begin with. Equally oddly, the closest thing I’ve ever seen to nonfat cheese that approximates what it’s supposed to be is nonfat wrapped slices — you know, the Singles you put on a grilled cheese sandwich. And they are successful, I suspect, because what they are mimicking is sort of not cheese, either.

Want to see something really funny? Look at this. It’s a recipe for pizza that uses shredded cheese without any fat in it, meaning that it will come out, at best, like it’s topped with tangled shoelaces. And then it says, “The Recommended Wine Is: Beaujolais.” Because you wouldn’t want to serve the wrong wine with your nonfat cheese. Chablis does not go with shoelaces, you silly thing! People might think you are not chic. Mon dieu! I’m telling you right now, that Beaujolais is not helping the “Mexican Pizza” unless you drink the entire bottle by yourself.

Note that this is not to speak ill of reduced-fat cheese, which I use constantly. I am particularly partial to the Kraft 2% bags. I realize they do not give you a restaurant-quality cheese experience or anything, but . . . I mean, at least they remind me of cheese.

But in many cases, I’d rather just have reduced-volume cheese. There’s real Parmesan in my fridge, as there is at all times, but I never do anything but grate it — it’s not like I eat a block of Parmesan for dinner. (Though that sounds kind of good.) There’s also, in that fridge, some kind of creamy wedge of genuine something that’s very good and very soft that I bought at Whole Foods and haven’t gotten around to eating with an apple yet, although I probably will. And because it’s so good, I will nibble at it and feel divine and wallow in my sparingly decadent glory.

If I may draw an analogy, I will compare the cheese issue to the syrup issue. The cat is basically out of the bag at this point that there’s nothing wrong with eating pancakes or waffles for breakfast, especially if they’re whole-grain and you eat them individually, rather than by the stack. But the syrup, in large amounts, can really put a dent in your day. For some people, the sugar-free syrups or the “lite” syrups are the answer, because they like their pancakes goopy, and a trickle of real maple syrup is going to ruin breakfast. I, on the other hand, prefer the trickle of regular, as every “lite” pancake syrup I have ever tried has been genuinely nasty. Don’t even get me started on the ones with artificial butter flavoring. (Shudder.)

I’m not making myself out to be a picky connoisseur of some kind — I’m not proud with things where I don’t care that much. I eat Boca burgers and the apparent oxymoron known as “meatless sausage,” and I even have been known to snack on fat-free hot dogs. Many of you would sooner die. Give you Jimmy Dean, or give you death. And I understand.

And that’s how I feel about nonfat cheese. It has nothing to offer me. I would, quite frankly, rather just lick my own arm. Because my own arm tastes much better than wax.


Before you go, it just occurred to me that there are a bunch of people here who got here from WW boards or PDTD, and who don’t move in the same DHAK circles that I so often do, and who might therefore never have seen Operation Find Don. If you haven’t, go read it. He’s just gotta be out there. Since Pam just found her old friend Kenya, I have new hope that one day, Sars will find Don. Thanks!