Michelle: Les Français est leur Fromage

January 27, 2011

France is a land of cheese. I see it everywhere. There are countless fromageries, street vendors, and even some restaurants that specialize in cheese. After most meals, there is even a cheese plate. From this, I should have known not to tell a French person that Wisconsin is known for their cheese.

Yesterday in my Civilization of Southern France class, the professor wanted to get to know us a bit and asked us questions like, what do you want to do while you’re in France? where are you from?  etc. (This was a class for Americans). Beforehand, the lights had been turned off so we could see the projector. When she got to me, she asked, “where are you from?”
“Wisconsin,” I said.
“What is Wisconsin known for?” she asked. I said the first two things that came to mind.
“Cheese and Beer”
“Mais non,” she said, “France is the land of cheese.”
“Oui,” I said, “but Wisconsin has different types. We even invented some cheeses.” At this point, the lights came on.
“I want to see the face of the person who says that they invented cheese.” I tried to apologize, but my French caused me to stumble over my words a little.
“I didn’t say that we invented cheese, I said that we invented some cheeses. In my opinion, the best cheese is European.”
“and from France.” she added.

The whole class was smiling by this point.  Although I know the exchange was amicable, from now on, I think I’ll keep my mouth shut about Wisconsin cheese…although, Colby Jack (a Wisconsin original) is pretty darn good.

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