Sometimes, over the incessant noise of my brain, the running recitation of to-do lists, and self critiques, I notice goat cheese. The gently sharp, fermented taste, making itself known through waves of creamy texture. It whispers to my taste buds and reminds me of when the experience was new. A time when I was freshly on my own, making shopping lists and feeling very grown-up about it. When spending hours at the store didn’t feel like a tedious chore but an adventure that I must go on, once a week, (twice if I needed something to do on a wednesday night after class.) Every purchase was a careful, important choice. Like the red pepper tortillas that I used to make burritos for a boy who rode a motorcycle, on our first date. Or my first bottle of Rose I’d bought on a Friday night after turning 21. I was aware “adults" sometimes stay in and have wine. So that Friday I stayed in, forgoing parties for a quiet night in my West Hollywood apartment, to drink my Barefoot rose. Which, turned out to be quite terrible, with a sickeningly sweet flavor. That was the first and last time I bought it. The goat cheese however, has been repurchased repeatedly over more than a decade. I’m sure I’ve consumed at least 30 logs over the last eleven years. The novelty of it fading away and replaced with the dependability of a consistent culinary staple.
I’m now 32. I married the boy who rode the motorcycle. He now drives a much more sensible car and we have a dog a dog we adore. I started a business and sold it. My favorite genre is now horror, and much to the absolute shock of a 21 year old me, I’m still not a star. In fact, I can’t even claim any truly notable credits. But on a Tuesday night, in the middle of a global pandemic, having not left my Toluca Lake apartment in any meaningful capacity in almost a year, I will sit down with an apple and a hunk of goat cheese. And suddenly, the sharpness hits my tongue with the same gusto as when I first tasted it. I didn’t even have to search, it was just sitting right up front, as if to say, “Hi, nice to meet you, I’m goat cheese. Do you really like me or are you just pretending to be a grown up?” To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I was fully on board with this new tangy, soft, dairy product. If I stuck it out or a curious fondness caused it to jump in my cart each time. Caused it to pirouette onto my crackers and demanded it be added to my salads.
I can say with absolute certainty now, “World, listen up! I LOVE goat cheese! I really do!” But I’m the 32 year old version of me, who has turned out to be less apologetic and more certain. I’m still opinionated, but my opinions have changed. I love plants, and dogs, and the color green. I read more, I’m too ambitious, and am almost always grumpy in the mornings. And on a quiet Tuesday, when I was 32, I traveled back in time for a split second, to taste goat cheese again for the first time.