Can a girl be so lucky?

The day had finally come: the first co-op shift in three years for member #43525.

I was excited for my new work slot: “food processing” from 1 to 3:45 pm every fourth Friday. Sounds boring? Bothersome? Banal?

Shame on you! Today I learned how to score and slice a 20-pound wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano; how to properly slice and package barrel-aged sheep & goat feta and what makes it different (and better) from the domestic sheep feta; and the difference between handling a Havarti vs. a Monterey Jack.

Cheese bliss for this food nerd.

Yuri Weber is the co-op’s cheese buyer. He’s one of the few co-op employees (as opposed to member-volunteers) and you can watch him talk about cheese inside the co-op here. I was introduced to him today when he tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Do you want to go on a feta adventure?” Once I said yes he said I couldn’t take it back. That’s when he took out the “special feta” and I was shown how to properly slice, wrap, and weigh it.

My buddy for the afternoon was Jim. He told me he’s only been working this shift for four months but the others always let him handle the cheese so they can weigh and price things like dried mango, almonds, olives, and spices instead. Well I’m with Jim – I think the cheese is where it’s at. He showed me how to take inventory on the floor of the cheese section, where to find all the various cheeses in the basement, how to set up my cutting board, replace the wire on the cheese slicer (after I broke it), and show me how to use the pricing scale (it’s very easy).

My whole crew of coworkers was great this afternoon. We chatted about cease-and-desist letters, how to name one’s new design studio, rose petal potpourri, the merits of Ben’s cream cheese (tangy, smooth, creamy), and Johnny Cash. Plus it was 80+ degrees outside so I was happy to be in the climate-controlled basement wheeling wheels of curds out of the walk-in cooler.