July 8th, 2004

Children and Cheese

As I spent some time with my niece and nephew this past weekend, I got to thinking: why is it that children's toys and books always depict cheese as a wedge of pale swiss?

Let's face it, when kids think cheese, they think bright orange Kraft individually-wrapped American process cheese food singles. Cheese is a flat orange square enveloped in cellophane, not a wedge. Cheese is practically two-dimensional. At room temperature, it's more malleable than margarine. You fold it in half twice and the fourths fit nicely on a Ritz.

Even if you are feeding your rug-rat aged Swiss, I don't know why, maybe to broaden their cultural horizons through cuisine, do you think they're going to like it? No! It's too sour for the little-tyke palate.

I know, I know. You liked Swiss cheese when you were a kid. You probably liked olives, too, and drinking the briny alum solution from the pickle jar.

If you see a mouse in a cartoon after some cheese, what is he after? He's after a pale wedge of Swiss.

What are we doing to the children? Are we deliberately confusing them by showing them one image and calling it cheese, and then feeding them another?