Parmesan V. Pecorino

In the quest to keep green fibrous vegetables in the diets of our children, we’ve long relied upon copious, blizzard-like gratings of parmigianno reggiano. Tonight, blanched green beans finished with a little butter and a grating of parmesan cemented our five year old daughter’s love for, well, green beans, butter, and parmesan. Our daughter had seconds. And then asked for thirds. But of only one component (you saw this coming): parmesan. She asked for big piece. I cut off a hunk. She ate it, a blissful grin crossing her face. “That’s the king of cheeses,” my wife said, echoing sentiments echoed and popularized by Mario Batali. Violet asked for fourths. My wife said “that stuff’s expensive.” Then I remembered we had some pecorino in fridge too.

Time for a taste test. I cut a hunk of pecorino for Violet. She ate it and her smile was just as quick, just as broad. When asked which she prefereed, she said the Pecorino. When asked why, the explanation was pretty vague. Something like “I just do.” It is saltier, I thought, and that can’t be argued with. Then Vi said: “Can I have more cheese?” I said, “we’re all out of Italian cheeses,” hoping that would stop this post-dinner dairy fest. “I want a cheese from another country,” she said. “Not from Italy.” She took the regional route, in search of more cheese. I was impressed.

I said: “You know what? We should go to the Cheese Store of Silverlake and have a cheese tasting. You can pick out five cheeses and figure which you like best.”

Vi turned to my wife and smiled a smile as big as the one she cracks when she hears a trip to Disneyland is in the works. She high fived my wife. She high fived me. I said: “You can pick a sheep’s milk, a cow’s milk, a blue, a goat, and whatever else you want.” I caught myself, thinking, this is pretentious and foodist as heck. She won’t care, I thought. Then Violet said: “Can we go to the Cheese Store of Silverlake after school tomorrow?”

Stay tuned.

—Hugh

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