I have cheese phobia–a fear of cheese. It’s a very strange thing to admit and even write about. I’ve had it for most of my life, having it start back when I was about five years old. You see, when I grew up, I was never really exposed to cheese and my first experience was quite extreme.
My mother gained her cooking skills from her mother, which is to say, she had very little in cooking skills when she married my father. Her skill set was limited to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, soup, hamburger helper, hot dogs and Swanson frozen meals. To me, a gourmet treat was the school cafeteria where I had tacos and corn dogs for the first time. I was elated when at age five I spent half days with an old grandma type lady who became my baby sitter for five days a week. She was an amazing cook. Each afternoon should would prefer a special treat for five or six of us. Sometimes it was jello with fruit somehow captured inside. Sometimes she would have home-made cookies hot out of the oven. There were oatmeal, peanut butter, sugar, and chocolate chip–all mouth-watering delicious. Up to that point in my life, I had very little experience with candy or treats. I recall my first Halloween tricker-treating and getting butterscotch cube candies. They were amazing! I loved pealing off the clear wrapper and letting them melt slowly in my mouth.
One day the grandma baby sitter had a special treat for us. She had made home-made butterscotch candy cubes. They were huge–at least double the size of the ones I had for Halloween. She had them all piled up on a little saucer sized plate. Each of us kids lined up in her dining room and opened our mouths as she walked down the line popping the candy into open mouths. The kids were elated making mmm mmmm good sounds. I was last in line and quivering in anticipation. I opened my mouth wide; my mouth was watering. To my shock and surprise, it wasn’t butterscotch. It was some other horrid tasting thing. I found out later it was some sort of strong cheese–perhaps blue cheese. I immediately threw up all over her floor.
Since that time I have the same reaction to cheese; it makes me want to throw up. I’ve worked hard over the years to learn to eat it. I love dairy in general and drink huge quantities of milk. With cheese, over the years I’ve gotten to the point to where I can eat it in limited quantities and certain situations, but never solo. I can’t do sliced cheese, cheese cubes, or cheese sticks. The only way I can eat cheese is if it is very mild and on something in very limited quantity. I think it is somewhat similar to the way most people might treat mustard in their diets. For many, mustard is fine on a sandwich or as a condiment. They wouldn’t eat it solo or in large quantities. They don’t eat mustard cubes, stuffed mustard pizza, fried mustard sticks or macaroni and mustard. Substitute cheese in for each of these and you more-or-less have the picture of how I feel about cheese.