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The Magic of Blue Cheese and Spotify


One of my favorite sayings about parenting and running a home kitchen is: “Amateurs talk strategy and professionals talk logistics.” The line comes from the military (it is often attributed to the U. S. Second World War field commander Omar Bradley), and to me, it means that getting food into the kitchen and keeping the supply lines running is the central thing to achieving victory at dinnertime. I’ve long been obsessive about keeping a shopping list, and making a weekly pilgrimage to the store to make sure we have milk, bread, chicken, eggs, and other staples on hand.

Occasionally, the advance shop pays off in unexpected ways. Over the weekend, Santa Maria picked up a few things up at Brooklyn Larder, including a wonderfully stinky cheese, Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen, a raw cow's milk blue, from Greensboro, Vermont. On Wednesday, it transformed a rather dull weeknight dinner of pasta, jar sauce, and mozzarella, into savory treat when, much to my delight, I remembered that it was in the refrigerator. I sprinkled it over a salad of hearts of romaine and arugula, and suddenly I was transported. I felt like I was sitting on a sunny hillside eating lunch while on vacation in France.

Of course, you need to like blue cheese for this sort of thing to work, and I know it’s not the most advanced bit of culinary advice to tell you to shop ahead of time for things you like, so I’ll leave you with something more.

Just as stocking your larder can lead to joy in the kitchen, having a good collection of music can do the same for your soul. In the past, this meant going out and buying a bunch of LPs or CDs, but now you can just go to the Internet. A few months ago I started using Spotify, and it has about 85% of any music I might want to listen to, ever.

Beirut, Raul Malo, Devotchka, the Cowboy Junkies, and other artists I’ve mentioned before are all available (as are thousand and thousands of other, including the great flamenco singer Diego El Cigala, who I saw perform the other night; if you’re on Spotify already, click here for my favorite album of his, “Dos Lágrimas”). The best thing is that it’s free, easy, and legit. I’m as excited about it as I am about blue cheese. Go and get thee Spotify.

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