Monday, March 28, 2005

Let The Games Begin

The contest is really hotting up as the days to final selection dwindle down. The selection of the 2012 Summer Olympics host city will crown the efforts of either London, Paris, New York, Madrid or Moscow. Each of these cities has spent millions showing off its transport infrastructure, new running tracks, athletes housing plans and love for the Olympic Games. (In the spirit of fair play, slipping Outer Mongolia’s Yachting Team Coach $1 million has been discontinued in the new era of open competition.) After all, the chance to watch a bunch of nubile, suntanned, bikini clad girls jump up and down in a tense, sweaty beach volley ball tournament is a once in a life time opportunity. Especially since none of the cities in question is within 1,000 miles of a tropical beach. With incredible cunning and determination, one city has stayed under the radar: Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Each state in the US has a nickname that usually hearkens back to its history or promotes its attraction. Illinois is known as ‘The Land of Lincoln’. Florida is ‘The Sunshine State’ and Texas is ‘The Lone Star State’. Wisconsin’s sobriquet is ‘America’s Dairyland’ and the state is thus the obvious place to host the Olympics of Cheese. Cheese is as important to Wisconsinites as parallel vaults are to South Koreans. When the US Government announced that it would issue commemorative 25 cent coins for each state in the order of ratification of the Constitution, Wisconsin went for a design that included a cow, an ear of corn and a wheel of cheese. At the time, an opponent of the decision complained that the design ‘represents a narrow slice of who we are as a state’. Supporters disagreed and suggested that a thick slice of cheddar might be quite tasty.

Charles de Gaulle, commenting on the post-war chaos of French politics, once remarked ‘How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?’ President Bush might consider reopening the north 40 at the ranch in Crawford and moving back home. More than 1,000 cheeses have been entered in the Cheese Olympics from 25 states. Luckily Milwaukee has not had to spend $11 billion to construct a contestants’ village designed to house 25,000 athletes on tourist visas who will leave town after a month. There are several very nice Holiday Inns in town. There was also no need to build a pole vault field in the parking lot of the local brewery.

The opening ceremony saw the lighting of the Olympic Flame (no doubt under a massive fondue pot) and then the excitement really began. Judges in white laboratory coats and hats tasted, evaluated, graded, poked, squeezed and other wise interrogated havartis, camemberts, and goudas. After determining the point total, to Martha Stewart’s disgust, they spit the cheese out. This year, 7 new classes of cheese have been added to the contest, bringing the total to 42. The International Olympic Committee has only managed to come up with 35 summer event competitive categories in over 100 years. The judges bring years of experience and technique to their assignment. One observed ‘we breathe through our mouth and out through our nose, so if there’s any aromas that are coming with the cheese, then it comes right around through our nose’. Here is a technique that might be considered by the IOC for contestants in the Graeco-Roman Wrestling event.

All in all, the Cheese Olympics is an honest, fun contest that celebrates a nutritious food group and gives unsung emmenthal producers a chance at the gold. Luckily there are no longer any East German judges to come in with a 1.2 for the synchronized slicing event.

7 Comments:

Blogger Michael K. Willis said...

Clever bit of business...thanks for the smile :-)

7:03 PM  
Blogger Abby Taylor said...

Spitting the cheese out? I tried this technique once with wine in a restaurant when the server asked if I wanted to sample it first. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy. After reading this, I feel validated. Thank you, Homo Insapiens.

1:10 AM  
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3:55 AM  
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8:07 PM  
Anonymous wooden rocking horse said...

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