Aug 20, 2014

Baby Blue: Bleu de Chèvre


Here in France, they don't seem to have gotten the memo that pink is a girls' color and blue is for boys. Thank heavens. Nothing makes you detest the color pink more than living in the US with young girls, for whom anything produced, created, and marketed, is obligatorily pink. For the record, so is vomit.

In fact, pink used to be considered, as a version of red -- the color of blood in battle, a boy's color. Blue, considered to be more homey and nurturing, was the distinct domain of women and girls. That changed fairly recently, in the 1940s, largely due to the desire to sell you a whole crap-load of stuff you don't need for subsequent babies of other genders. The decision to link pink with girls and blue with boys was fairly arbitrary, and could easily have gone the other way. Honestly: the Smithsonian says so, and they wouldn't lie. On a related note that has nothing to do with France at all, in the 19th century, American and English boys were supposed to wear dresses until age 6 or 7, when they would also get their first haircut.

OK, I exaggerate a little. France isn't as isolated as all that, and of course they have received the Disney-GAP memo, and little girls do wear more pink than little boys.

However, it is certainly true that you will see perfectly masculine, heterosexual, non-fashion-forward men and boys in France wearing lilac, pink, and peach, and not making a big deal of it. For heaven's sake, people, it's just a color.


THE CHEESE: Bleu de Chèvre

There is some dispute about whether or not Bleu de Chèvre is really a blue. I mean, it's not as though anybody argues it's a different color. But technically, blues are normally made with sheep's milk. In fact, when I first check out this cheese, the seller tells me it's a "blue cheese that's not a blue cheese" ("un bleu qui n'est pas un bleu").

It's a raw goat's milk blue -- convention be damned: I'm not color-blind. I can see it's blue. And I'm not taste-blind, either. It tastes like a blue, too. I'm told it can be a creamy cheese, but the version I try is most definitely crumbly and dry. That's not a bad thing, mind you. It's got that nutty flavor that nice aged, hard cheeses sometimes get, along with a mellow blue tang. I find it lovely.


The milk this cheese is made from is originally intended for kids (kid goats that is), but the blue cheese (that's not actually a blue) is itself gender neutral. Just for the record, there is no such thing as pink cheese or cheese meant for girls. All this color stereotyping is making me blue.


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