The events described here took place around Christmas 2016 (not 2017 as I previously claimed).
In the lead up to Christmas I did my normal trick of buying enough food to last a family of eight for a fortnight. We are, of course, a family of four and Christmas lasts a day. If you really resist the great outdoors you may manage to make it last three days before close confinement with the family starts to make your thoughts turn to murder.
This included buying an industrial quantity of Stilton from Long Clawson Dairy and a selection of Lesser Cheeses from the supermarket. These included various waxed truckles, Lancashire Cheese with Apricots and a large wheel of Camembert.
Even for a family of cheesophiles this is a lot of cheese.
The proper word for a cheese lover is, it seems, turophile. I’m not keen on that – it’s far too close to turdophile for my liking and any confusion could result in a very regrettable selection of sandwiches.
So, that’s the first stage.
At this point it’s necessary to confess something about the fridge ecosystem. The clue, of course, is in the word ecosystem. I once produced a very acceptable blue cheddar in the fridge by leaving a large chunk of badly wrapped non-blue cheddar concealed behind the top shelf chutney jars.
There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy, as Hamlet said. The same principle would appear to apply to our fridge.
That’s the second stage.
Finally, you overfill the fridge in a chaotic manner, eat stuff, put it back, wrap it badly and have an enjoyable Christmas.
A week or two later there was a suspicion that all was not well in the fridge. This manifested itself as a slight but distinctive smell. We couldn’t see anything obvious, so I moved a few things, produced soup from a selection of mis-matched left-overs and tried to ignore it.
It carried on for a week or so, with Julia suggesting there was something on top shelf that needed attention and me avoiding doing anything about it. (She’s not tall enough to reach the top shelf and I’m very lazy).
From my observations I can state confidently that Camembert, when half used and then stored in a fridge, stays fresh for a while then starts to smell a bit. It’s probably a good idea to do something at that juncture.
If you don’t, the consequences are not good, and the change is both rapid and traumatic.
The slight whiff of ripe Camembert can escalate rapidly while you are out at work, as Julia found when opening the fridge one evening. It had risen in pitch from being a bit whiffy to something that filled the entire ground floor with the smell of week old rugby socks.
Fortunately it tasted a lot better than it smelt.
And that, my friends, is why I am banned from buying, possessing and storing Camembert.