Archived Story

Wine and a conversation about donkeys cheese

Published 7:32pm Thursday, February 21, 2013

The following is an actual conversation that occurred a few days before Christmas, within a gathering of Paul’s extended family and myself, in a respected restaurant, at the dinner table:

Wine was involved. A cheap little Pinot, to be exact, when we laid it down 20 years ago.

“Donkey cheese just sounds gross.”

“The chef said it’s the biggest rage in Europe right now. Some Eastern-bloc tennis player supposedly bought up the world’s supply for his restaurants and it’s incredibly expensive.”

“Why?”

“Why the tennis player bought it or why is it expensive?”

“Both.”

“Because it’s supposed to be a delicacy and it’s very difficult to manufacture.”

“If Teddy is any indication,” (this came from Paul) “I would concur that it must be exceedingly difficult to manufacture. I can’t even imagine trying to milk Teddy.”

“And I should think Teddy can’t even imagine being milked.” (this came from me) “Considering he’s a male.”

“By the way, Paul, how’s the broken finger?”

“Pretty much healed up.”

“When people ask what happened, do you say you were pushing a child away from the path of a speeding car, or do you tell the truth and say a donkey broke it?”

“Hey, how do you milk a donkey, anyway?”

“How do you milk a goat? Or a sheep?”

“I still think it sounds gross.”

“Why? People eat goat cheese and sheep cheese.”

“I can’t do sheep. Too much funk to the flavor.”

“Yak cheese is supposed to be really funky. Like, really, really, funky.”

“It all sounds very Montenegro to me.”

“When have you ever been to Montenegro?”

“I haven’t, but I read that Angelina Jolie said her cross-dressing daughter, Shiloh, or Spanky, or whatever, looked ‘very Montenegro’ and I thought that sounded terribly sophisticated. I’ve been waiting for ages to toss that into a conversation.”

“Well, anyway, it’s supposed to cost something like a thousand bucks a kilo.”

“I don’t even know how much a kilo is.”

“Anyone who came of age in the ‘80s knows exactly how much a kilo is.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind. Eat your vegetables.”

“Here’s my take on this,” I said, leaning back in my chair and waving away the waiter who had attempted to remove my wine glass when a thimbleful of ruby liquid remained in the bottom. “I think this tennis player thought he’d sell a lot of donkey cheese and it turns out no one wants to eat the stuff, so after spending well over a hundred grand, he’s got to find a way to get his money back. So he created a demand by lying and saying there’s no more available and everyone will want it. Oldest trick in the world. In fact, I might try that with my book.”

“But who would want donkey cheese even if there’s not any available?”

“The producers of Fear Factor?”

“Teddy gave me a rash.” (this from Lana) “From where he licked me. Last summer. All of a sudden on the flight home, my neck started burning like crazy.”

“You didn’t wash? You didn’t wash it off before you left??”

“There wasn’t time.”

“How can you not make time to wash off donkey spittle?”

“The waiter wants to know if you want to open another bottle.”

(A chorus) “No!”

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