Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

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Alan Eden
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Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#1 Post by Alan Eden » May 9th, 2019, 10:25 am

Everywhere else in the world they treat cheese as a desert, served with biscuits, crackers or fruit and with a desert wine like a port or maybe even a cognac. Yet in the US its eaten before a meal, why ? its heavy and strongly flavoured not what you want early in a meal
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#2 Post by Joe Dulworth » May 9th, 2019, 11:04 am

Don't know where you're getting your intel on American dining habits but most of the multicourse meals I've had for years had the cheese course at the end. Only exception would be an appetizer that contains cheese.

You might want to chastise Italians for antipasto plates while you're at it.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#3 Post by PeterH » May 9th, 2019, 11:19 am

Just speaking for myself, I love chevre as an appetizer, but if hard cheeses are served before a meal I abstain.
Other soft cheeses are a maybe. If I'm famished and it looks like other food courses are going to be a long time coming, I'll tamp down hunger pangs with a small amount. This usually happens at informal meals, particularly neighborhood or large family gatherings. Like Joe says, serving cheese before other courses is not normal at multi-course sit down dinners.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#4 Post by Mark Y » May 9th, 2019, 11:37 am

Everywhere else in the world? many parts of the world don't even eat cheese...
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#5 Post by Alex N » May 9th, 2019, 11:45 am

It's nice to be American (or Indian or Australian, etc) and not have to worry about following silly French and British etiquette. neener
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#6 Post by Todd F r e n c h » May 9th, 2019, 11:48 am

Only time we have cheese before a meal is if we have a couple over for dinner, or a small party, and have cheese out for appetizers/snacks with wine
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#7 Post by Alan Eden » May 9th, 2019, 12:05 pm

Alex N wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 11:45 am
It's nice to be American (or Indian or Australian, etc) and not have to worry about following silly French and British etiquette. neener
You mean culture ?
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#8 Post by Bill Tex Landreth » May 9th, 2019, 12:22 pm

I eat cheese as my meal. Ever heard of nachos?
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#9 Post by mark rudner » May 9th, 2019, 1:35 pm

yet another thread i don't understand
isn't cheese generally served at or near the end?

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#10 Post by Chr!s G|@rn3r » May 9th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Because it is delicious, bite sized and pairs well with wine.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#11 Post by RichardFlack » May 9th, 2019, 2:38 pm

Similar question about salads before the main course not after.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#12 Post by Matt Fleming » May 9th, 2019, 2:49 pm

Joe Dulworth wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 11:04 am
Don't know where you're getting your intel on
...anything worth a damn.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#13 Post by George Hejna » May 9th, 2019, 4:09 pm

Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 2:32 pm
Because it is delicious, bite sized and pairs well with wine.
This... I don't particularly like something heavy like cheese after a meal. I very much prefer to have some really nice cheese and wine then a lighter dinner.

I guess I am a heathen.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#14 Post by Keith A k e r s » May 9th, 2019, 4:44 pm

Chr!s G|@rn3r wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 2:32 pm
Because it is delicious, bite sized and pairs well with wine.
^exactly

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#15 Post by Alex N » May 9th, 2019, 10:21 pm

Nah I meant etiquette for sure. Eat what you want, when you want and in any order you want. It's weird enough to scrutinize people for eating cheese or any piece of food before or after anything else. If you're enjoying good food and wine and meals and allowing the snobbery of centuries old customs and lame-azz food rules to interfere with the way you like to do it, it doesn't make much sense, unless you're aiming for a traditional experience like a traditional French multi course menu.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#16 Post by Bdklein » May 10th, 2019, 1:37 am

So they can cut the cheese after the meal.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#17 Post by Robert M yers » May 10th, 2019, 4:20 am

Because at family gatherings someone usually brings a cheese and vegetable tray that gets set out before a meal for people to gather around and eat something while dinner is being put together. Usually has Swiss and yellow cheddar too, but I’m going for that before the celery. We are an unrefined group.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#18 Post by Jim Stewart » May 10th, 2019, 4:30 am

Robert M yers wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 4:20 am
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . . We are an unrefined group.
This nails it. Most of us are peasants, so cut us some slack, Alan!

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#19 Post by David K o l i n » May 10th, 2019, 5:00 am

Because it’s there

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#20 Post by scamhi » May 10th, 2019, 5:44 am

i don't understand a big cheese plate before the meal. However we sometimes start with a caprese salad or a burrata and broccolini- (recipe from Suzanne Goin at Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#21 Post by Andrew Kotowski » May 10th, 2019, 6:05 am

scamhi wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 5:44 am
i don't understand a big cheese plate before the meal.
Takes 5 minutes to throw together with some charcuterie and can be a great appetizer while you're catching up with friends before dinner.

Alan's troll assumes that the cheese tray and an appetizer/entree are separate courses; I'd argue that in the US, cheese trays are used as a substitute for a formal entree, rather than a separate course. I'd also note that a cheese and charcuterie plate, with a baguette and a bottle of wine thrown in, is a stand-alone dinner for half of Europe.

"Because it's delicious" is the most important point, and nails it.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#22 Post by Alex N » May 10th, 2019, 6:20 am

Bdklein wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 1:37 am
So they can cut the cheese after the meal.

Exactly! [cheers.gif]
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#23 Post by David K o l i n » May 10th, 2019, 7:51 am

I guess I don't understand the antipathy to cheese before a meal. Cheese is common as an anitipasti option in Italy, feta is common as an opening dish in Greece, etc. I love a proper cheese plate at the end of the meal in France, but frankly there aren't many places in the States that do cheese as well.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#24 Post by Jay Miller » May 10th, 2019, 7:54 am

Alan Eden wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 12:05 pm
Alex N wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 11:45 am
It's nice to be American (or Indian or Australian, etc) and not have to worry about following silly French and British etiquette. neener
You mean culture ?
lol, I certainly hope the pun was intended. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#25 Post by Al Osterheld » May 10th, 2019, 8:10 am

Alan should write a book on how to be cultured. Sure to be a best-seller.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#26 Post by Brandon R » May 10th, 2019, 8:37 am

Jay Miller wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 7:54 am
Alan Eden wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 12:05 pm
Alex N wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 11:45 am
It's nice to be American (or Indian or Australian, etc) and not have to worry about following silly French and British etiquette. neener
You mean culture ?
lol, I certainly hope the pun was intended. [cheers.gif]
Ha! I see what you did there...
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#27 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » May 10th, 2019, 8:39 am

Al Osterheld wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 8:10 am
Alan should write a book on how to be cultured. Sure to be a best-seller.

-Al
So long as someone else punctuates it. ;-)

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#28 Post by Brandon R » May 10th, 2019, 8:39 am

scamhi wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 5:44 am
i don't understand a big cheese plate before the meal. However we sometimes start with a caprese salad or a burrata and broccolini- (recipe from Suzanne Goin at Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
Just looked that recipe up...holy hell that sounds tasty. I'm going to do it this weekend!
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#29 Post by scamhi » May 10th, 2019, 9:41 am

Brandon R wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 8:39 am
scamhi wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 5:44 am
i don't understand a big cheese plate before the meal. However we sometimes start with a caprese salad or a burrata and broccolini- (recipe from Suzanne Goin at Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
Just looked that recipe up...holy hell that sounds tasty. I'm going to do it this weekend!
it is really great. the pine nut, toasted breadcrumb, parsley topping is the bomb
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#30 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » May 11th, 2019, 3:16 pm

Alan Eden wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 10:25 am
Everywhere else in the world they treat cheese as a desert, served with biscuits, crackers or fruit and with a desert wine like a port or maybe even a cognac. Yet in the US its eaten before a meal, why ? its heavy and strongly flavoured not what you want early in a meal
I'm sorry, Alan. I know you're doing this for our own good, but... the fact is, we're just crackers about cheese!
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#31 Post by Brandon R » May 13th, 2019, 9:36 am

scamhi wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 9:41 am
Brandon R wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 8:39 am
scamhi wrote:
May 10th, 2019, 5:44 am
i don't understand a big cheese plate before the meal. However we sometimes start with a caprese salad or a burrata and broccolini- (recipe from Suzanne Goin at Sunday Suppers at Lucques)
Just looked that recipe up...holy hell that sounds tasty. I'm going to do it this weekend!
it is really great. the pine nut, toasted breadcrumb, parsley topping is the bomb
I was going to omit the pine nuts because of what I've read pine nuts can do to your palate. Think it'll still work? I could substitute some unsalted roasted sunflower seeds.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#32 Post by scamhi » May 13th, 2019, 10:54 am

if you purchase good quality pine nuts from Italy they're less likely to give metallic problems. It's the cheap stuff from China sold by Trader Joes and Costco. Pine Mouth is a result of eating raw pine nuts and these are toasted.
One study showed pine nuts from China both the white pine (Pinus armandii) and red pine (Pinus massoniana) cause problems
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#33 Post by George Hejna » May 13th, 2019, 2:17 pm

scamhi wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 10:54 am
if you purchase good quality pine nuts from Italy they're less likely to give metallic problems. It's the cheap stuff from China sold by Trader Joes and Costco. Pine Mouth is a result of eating raw pine nuts and these are toasted.
One study showed pine nuts from China both the white pine (Pinus armandii) and red pine (Pinus massoniana) cause problems
This.

Buy the real ones. Not worth it to save money on the ones from China

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#34 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » May 13th, 2019, 7:03 pm

scamhi wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 10:54 am
if you purchase good quality pine nuts from Italy they're less likely to give metallic problems. It's the cheap stuff from China sold by Trader Joes and Costco. Pine Mouth is a result of eating raw pine nuts and these are toasted.
One study showed pine nuts from China both the white pine (Pinus armandii) and red pine (Pinus massoniana) cause problems
Huh, I've never heard of this before, although I have experienced such a persistent metallic taste several times in my life. But to my knowledge, it never associated with pine nuts, which I rarely eat. My perception was more with it being a consequence of eating asian food. Are there any common asian dishes or sauces that include pine nuts?

https://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/ ... olumn.html

A more recent Bon Appetit article claims it can no longer be associated with a particular species or origin of pine nuts:

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/pine-n ... h-syndrome
Last edited by K_F_o_l_e_y on May 21st, 2019, 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#35 Post by John Davis » May 14th, 2019, 4:56 am

Anyone have a source for non-Chinese pint nuts?
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#36 Post by Jay Miller » May 14th, 2019, 6:12 am

John Davis wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 4:56 am
Anyone have a source for non-Chinese pint nuts?
Buon Italia in Chelsea Market sells them. Not sure if they ship.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#37 Post by John Davis » May 14th, 2019, 9:55 am

Jay Miller wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 6:12 am
John Davis wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 4:56 am
Anyone have a source for non-Chinese pint nuts?
Buon Italia in Chelsea Market sells them. Not sure if they ship.
Thanks they are hard to find. I was in retail grocery for years and as soon as I would find a vendor they would disappear.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#38 Post by John Morris » May 14th, 2019, 11:29 am

Alan Eden wrote:
May 9th, 2019, 10:25 am
Everywhere else in the world they treat cheese as a desert, served with biscuits, crackers or fruit and with a desert wine like a port or maybe even a cognac. Yet in the US its eaten before a meal, why ? its heavy and strongly flavoured not what you want early in a meal
Because we are cretins.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#39 Post by D Lewis » May 14th, 2019, 3:38 pm

Is there a sit down American restaurant that gives you cheese before taking your order? All I've experienced is butter/oil and bread.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#40 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » May 17th, 2019, 9:12 am

Hanging out, casual - if cheese is there I eat it. I love cheese. It's the last food I would give up.

Formal dinner - cheese course always at the end, usually instead of a sweet.
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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#41 Post by cjsavino » May 17th, 2019, 9:36 am

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#42 Post by MBerto » May 17th, 2019, 12:28 pm

The only appropriate time for cheese is before the meal. Although I will make exceptions for "during the mean", "including in the dishes served", "after the meal", exclusively for breakfast and lunch, and of course, night cheese.

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Re: Why do Americans eat cheese before a meal ?

#43 Post by David K o l i n » May 17th, 2019, 12:38 pm

D Lewis wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 3:38 pm
Is there a sit down American restaurant that gives you cheese before taking your order? All I've experienced is butter/oil and bread.
I don’t know any US restaurants that give you cheese after a meal unless you order it

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