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National Moldy Cheese!

Today we celebrate National Moldy Cheese, an unusual holiday, celebrated for no rhyme or reason.  This day is observed annually on October 9th.

So let us talk about moldy cheese.  Who would imagine that a moldy cheese has its own day to celebrate?  When I was growing up, my father used to eat Blue cheese, to me it doesn’t just look moldy but it stinks.  It has a pungent smell that can lose your appetite, but hey, my father loves it, and I was so curious I have to taste it, and to my surprise, it was actually good.

Moldy cheese.  Is it safe to eat moldy cheese? I guess it depends on what type of cheese it is.  Sometimes, we store cheese in our refrigerator and have forgotten them and when we remember, it already has some furry, greeny growth, or mold shall I say, and that type, you don’t want to eat and needs to be thrown away.

But there is some cheese that is cured and stored to develop mold, like Gorgonzola cheese which is made with three different kinds of mold spores. It’s like a milder blue cheese, but gorgonzola is creamier and earthier. This type of cheese is good to toss with pasta and mushrooms for an outstanding meal.

Blue cheese is a general classification of cheeses that have had cultures of the mold Penicillium added so that the final product is spotted or veined throughout with blue mold that carries a distinct smell, either from that or various specially cultivated bacteria.  Meanwhile, Gorgonzola is one of the oldest known blue cheeses, having been created around AD 879, though it is said that it did not contain blue veins until around the 11th century.

The characteristic flavor of blue cheeses tends to be sharp and salty. The smell of this food is due to both the mold and types of bacteria encouraged to grow on the cheese: for example, the bacterium Brevibacterium linens are responsible for the smell of blue cheese, as well as foot odor and other human body odors.  A portion of the distinct flavor comes from lipolysis (the breakdown of fat). The metabolism of the blue mold further breaks down fatty acids to form ketones to give blue cheese a richer flavor and aroma.

So, if you’re a cheese connoisseur, and love moldy cheese, celebrate this day by grabbing some at your local store or a cheese store to enjoy with a glass of wine.  Share on social media how you celebrated this day using #MoldyCheese.

1946 “The Iceman Cometh,” by Eugene O’Neill, opens on Broadway

Hailed by many critics as Eugene O’Neill’s finest work, The Iceman Cometh opens at the Martin Beck Theater on October 9, 1946. The play, about desperate tavern bums clinging to illusion as a remedy for despair, was the last O’Neill play to be produced on Broadway before the author’s death in 1953.

Like many of his other works, the play drew on O’Neill’s firsthand experiences with all-night dive bars and desperate characters. Although his actor father sent him to top prep schools and to Princeton, O’Neill dropped out of college after a year. He went to sea, searched for gold in South America, haunted the waterfront bars in Buenos Aires, Liverpool, and New York, and married briefly. He drank heavily. In 1912, when O’Neill was nearly 30, he came down with tuberculosis and was sent to a sanitarium in Connecticut. While recovering, he wrote his first play and decided to devote himself to drama. He began churning out gritty, realistic plays about lives on the margins of society. He wrote nine plays from 1913 to 1914, six from 1916 to 1917, and four in 1918. In 1917, a Greenwich Village theater group, the Provincetown Players, performed his one-act play Thirst. The group became closely associated with O’Neill’s future work. In 1920, his first full-length play, Beyond the Horizon, was produced on Broadway.

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