How, beyond sale numbers, might one determine if a foodstuff is popular and widely enjoyed by many?
Sure, peeking inside strangers' pantries and refrigerators might do the trick (if the strangers don't get angry with you). But the lively line-up of national food holidays is another interesting indicator. And what is it indicating, quite loudly?
Get ready to not be shocked: Cheese is huge. It gets not one holiday but many, including Cheese Day (in June) and Cheese Lover's Day (on Jan. 20).
There's a fine distinction between the two, as fine as a thin slice of cheddar, but clearly Cheese Lover's Day is about the people who must have their dairy-based creaminess. Pasadena Cheeseburger Week is delivering on that ahead of Jan. 20, but there are cracker-spreadable happenings beyond that, including a free cheese-tasting at Santa Monica Place on Friday, Jan. 16.
Make that free and open to the public and brimming with the cheese of Europe, which makes complete sense, as the gathering is hosted by The Cheeses of Europe.
Cheese will also be for sale, and there's a cheese-themed art event, to boot. (Or, hmm... to Brie, perhaps?)
The happening'll unfurl -- or unwrap, in the way one might unwrap a block of Parmesan -- in the Central Plaza of Santa Monica Place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m on the 16th. And if you think it will be simply about you selecting tooth-picked cubes of cheese made on The Continent, know there is an educational component.
Cheese company representatives will be on hand to answer questions, so arrive with your "will it melt well for fondue" and "can I make a grilled cheese with it" and "is it okay to eat at 1 a.m. alongside a slice of cake while I stand before the open refrigerator door?"
We all have cheesy questions, in large part because the foodstuff plays such a large part in our lives. Look to our fridge doors and drawers for confirmation, to what dominates dinner and lunch menus, and to the national food holidays calendar, which features a full complement of dairy-themed days.