Touring the Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory

This is it. The famous Tillamook Cheese factory. At least, it’s famous to me since I’ve been eating their cheese for around 15 years starting in Alaska, and now in Minnesota when I can find it.

Mike and I took the self-guided tour, where we learned that cheese comes from cows. Here are a few we passed on our way into Tillamook:

Tillamook Cows

Apparently, cows are milked in the morning and dairy farmers wake up very early. I would not be a good dairy farmer.

After that, we tried the free samples. You could have as much as you wanted as long as you used a fresh toothpick for each sample:

Free Cheese Samples

My favorite was the extra sharp cheddar:

Extra Sharp Cheddar

You can buy cheese at the factory. They have chunked, sliced, and shredded varieties in a ton of different flavors:

Tillamook Cheese

And ice cream. Mike and I skipped this after biking 70 miles in 60 degree temperatures:

Tillamook Ice Cream

Paul Jahn’s Wisconsin Cheese Shop Tour

Welcome to Wisconsin, originally uploaded by localmn.

Paul Jahn went down to Chicago for an inline marathon this weekend.

Based on the photos from his Flickr account, it looks like the highlight of his trip was taking pictures of cheese shops along the way.

It’s not clear whether Paul consumed a bag of cheese curds from every one of these stops before his race.

Volumetrics Diet Tips

This is the first time I’ve heard of The Volumetrics Diet:

“Fruits and vegetables are one of the keys to good health. Barbara Rolls invented the sensible Volumetrics diet, which encourages people to eat large quantities of low-energy-dense foods rather than small portions of energy-dense foods. This plan makes sense: You feel full, lose weight and end up eating a lot more fresh produce.”

It sounds like this is meant to be a pro-roughage kind of thing, which is certainly a good rule of thumb for healthy eating. But what about the following volume-increasing diet tips:

1. Whipped Cream

2. Ground Beef

3. Shredded Cheese

4. Blended Margaritas

5. Candy Foam

Brie String Cheese

Mike over at Jackalope Ranch came up with the idea for Brie String Cheese back in ’03. At the time, one of his concerns was that someone would steal his brilliant idea once he released it into the public domain. With more than three years having passed and no sign of string brie on the shelves at my local Rainbow, Cub, Lunds, or Bylerly’s, I think Mike’s idea was either too early, or the world’s best food scientists with an emphasis in dairy have had as many problems bringing this to market as Bush has had figuring out what to do about the war he started in Iraq.

Personally, I find the concept of a string brie somewhat beyond the reach of even 2006 dairy technology based on the simple fact that brie is not a stringy cheese. I think a more practical answer to the challenges faced by Mike (primarily inconvenience of dealing with the typical wedge with rind) would be a snack pack. Ideally, the snack pack would allow for rindless packaging and pairing with appropriate crackers. Brie eaters being the cheese snobs they are would certainly lead to painful focus grouping by the good folks at Sargento in Little Chute, Wisconsin and other fine cheese towns.

Assuming I’m on the right track with a snack pack for brie, why not pair it with an appropriate wine? A perfect impulse buy for Carly and I would be a brie and Pinot Noir Snackables placed right next to the French baguettes in Whole Foods.

A product like this is the perfect way to unite this country. Taking a French product and making it our own in a way that would completely disgust the originators across the pond. If brie Snackables existed, I bet Lee Greenwood and Toby Keith would put them on their concert riders.

Be sure to check back in 2009 to see if any progress has been made on this important issue. Until then, what will come first:

a) String Brie
b) Brie Snackables
c) End of War in Iraq