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The professor of cheese

John Launer
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/qjmed/95.2.133 133 First published online: 1 February 2002

The most self‐important person I have ever met was the proprietor of a cheese shop. He wasn't hostile, like the famous cheese salesman portrayed by John Cleese in the television sketch. He behaved more as if he was a professor of cheese studies at Oxbridge. If you named a cheese, he would hold forth on its history, its bacteriology, its merits and its drawbacks. He didn't sell Gorgonzola, only ‘Mountain Gorgonzola’. I once asked him if he stocked valley Gorgonzola, but he didn't think that was funny. Then I had the temerity to ask for some ‘cheap and cheerful Cheddar’ for a cauliflower cheese. He explained solemnly that, if a cheese was worth cooking with, it was worth paying for, too.

We finally fell out when I arrived one day to find a hole in the pavement outside his shop, because a water main had burst. I asked him if one of his cheeses had exploded and he …