I love French cheese. The seemingly infinite varieties may according to de Gaulle make the country ungovernable, but what do I care? Bring on the Roquefort, Epoisses, all the cheeses that run and spread, all the round goat cheeses wrapped in chestnut leaves, and the squared-off pyramids dusted with ash.
All the cheeses, in short, that I can't eat right now.
I'm a little bit frustrated, you see. My husband does his best to track down the best of the pasteurized variety, but let's face it, it just isn't as tasty. He rightfully still buys the unpasteurized stuff for himself and le Petit.
Le Petit, meanwhile, has picked up the important question that gets asked frequently at the dinner table: "Est-ce que c'est pasteurisé ?"
He doesn't know what it means and we explain that he doesn't have to worry, that it's just a question important for Mommy and the baby in her tummy.
"You can eat this," my husband explained jokingly, "because this is cheese for real men." He said it in French, of course: fromage pour les hommes.
As we laughed over le Petit's head, he assimilated this new information, as three-year-olds do. And he apparently noticed, too, that "les hommes" is pronounced with an added Z to meld "les" and "hommes" harmoniously together, without the silent H of the singular form.
The next day, we took out the cheese and asked him which one he wanted. He pointed out a block of unpasteurized Pyrenean sheep's milk cheese and said, "I want that one. Because je suis un Zhomme, moi!"