It is with some disappointment that I appear before you today to discuss a topic I feel should not merit a manners conversation. There is just no other way to say it: Buffet manners have become atrocious, particularly with regard to the cheese tray or board.
I don't know how we turn it around, Friends of good taste. Frankly, I can barely lift myself from the chaise where I toppled over after going into the fridge to get perhaps a small wedge of Saint-André and a cracker or two. Here I lay, still holding what remains of that brie-like triple cream wheel acquired for New Years. It looks fine, from the rind mold side. But turn it around and realize the inside of the wheel has been hollowed out with a cheese knife while the innocent moldy sat upon the buffet. Barely a bit of cheese left to the thing. I am not pointing any fingers. On the contrary, I place blame soundly upon the shoulders of every potential suspect without regard to their Saint-André despising claims of innocence. And be advised, I never forget.
Herewith then: Cheese Boards, a review...
1. Cheese is to be placed upon the board. Label them if you like, but many cheese eaters know brie from blue at fifty paces.
2. Make sure there is a means of both cutting each sort of cheese and lifting the sliced cheese away from said board without a finger needing to touch the tray or board. Toothpicks in a crystal or sterling toothpick holder will work nicely. But, you know, use flaming spears for all I care.
3. Kindly, for my sake, approach the soft cheeses on the board and, cheese knife in hand, cut a wedge from the cheese wheel which includes the rind. Remove said wedge with pick, flaming spear, or chopsticks and place it on your cracker atop your cocktail napkin or on your plate with the rind intact.
4. If you are one of those people who will not eat the rind and are determined to surgically extract the interior portion from the rind (apparently at any mannerly cost), please note the following:
- Place the cheese wedge with the rind intact on your plate or napkin.
- Remove the rind with your cocktail fork or fingers, if you really must.
- Leave the rind on your plate or napkin. Dispose of the plate or napkin properly; on the bus tray, for example.
- Under no circumstances should you cut a wedge, remove the rind and leave it on the cheese tray.
- Under no circumstances should you attempt to cut the cheese on the board so as to leave the rind remaining on the wheel but with no actual cheese inside.