When I was first in Lisbon, I learned about the unique concept of saudade, described as “a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves”.
That sounds accurate about how I currently feel about cheese, the evening before I attempt to go vegan for 40 days.
Absence makes the heart grow stronger. Impending diet constraints make the cravings grow exponentially. And lead me to spending more money than expected on dairy products.
In the past few weeks leading up to my challenge, I found myself lingering around the fancy cheese counters at the supermarket more often than normal — once I realized that *gasp* cheese isn’t vegan, I managed to walk away with at least a wedge of something nearly every time I went shopping.
I have spent almost triple the amount on cheese than I normally do. Probably because I thought if I’m going to have some, I’m not going to waste my time with some standard Brie-like cheese — I’ll pick up a wedge of Saint-Nectaire. Screw Velveeta, I’m making my mac and cheese with a mix of Greyerzer and Appenzeller — because I want to have fondue with my pasta, thank you very much.
It got to the point where I purchased Reblochon for dessert. Because why limit yourself to having cheese for only appetizers and mains?
My last memory will be of glorious Raclette, roasted and slid onto a piece of bread with ham and lingonberries and everything else:
If you have never experienced the gloriousness of raclette, the at-home experience is great for the coziness of the experience. Much like fondue, it’s a nice gathering at the table with everyone fighting over access to dangerously hot but delicious cheese.
But raclette at open markets like those above are magical because you get to watch this amazing theatre:
Oh cheese, I will miss you and your associated dairy friends so much. I think that absence will truly make the heart (and stomach) grow fonder…