So there's something you should know about me: I do not have children, therefore MY birthday is the most important day of the year, marked in crimson on the fam-bly calendar.
(Hubster's birthday is a close second, but he doesn't make as big a deal of it as I do, so the cumulative Big Deal Factor tips in my favor).
Hub is a very good gift-giver. The BEST birthday I've had so far - sorry this year did not, could not, top it - was the year he gave me pearls and my very own full-size, do-some-serious-damage tool kit.
This year I got a gift card for a massage... mmmmm...zzzzzzzzzzzz .... and a Starbucks gift card - always much appreciated - and a book.
But not just any book. I got The Big Book of Cheese. Actually, the title is Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the Very Best.
I know cheese is usually Country Girl's area of lactic passion but, kids, this book rocks.
I am a beginner in the world of cheese, and so is Hub, so this is perfect for us. Notice I said "us," as he readily admits this was a totally selfish gift - ya gotta respect his owning up to it.
It explains ripeness and the difference between the milks used, the aging process - the whole shebang. THEN, in alphabetical order, it lists the cheeses - each one gets its own page - with a photo, a description, place of origin, a stinky meter, a list of wines for pairing and a list of cheeses it is related to.
How awesome is that? So it's perfect for beginners, but it's also a good, quick reference guide for the cheese-experienced. Putting together a cheese board for company and you're not quite sure what matches with a cool-looking Cabrales you stumbled across at Sam's Club? The book will tell you.
Seriously, go to your local bookstore and just leaf through the pages. You don't have to buy the book, but it's worth spending time with this tome if for nothing other than inspiration.
(Yes we have no recipes today, but here's a tip - eat more cheese).