Jul 21, 2017

Straight Shooter: Boursault


My husband doesn't mince words; you might say he's a straight shooter. For example, he doesn't mince words when it comes to my photography, when he teases me for not being such a straight shooter. That is, I have a distinct tendency to lean slightly to the left (true for my politics as well as my photographs). Thank goodness for photoshop, where I can often straighten the problem out. But not always, because sometimes I swear the problem is not me, it's the old French buildings.

Here, I admit I'm the problem:

Move over Pisa, Paris has its own leaning towers (at least the way I sometimes photograph them)!

Here, I'm probably the problem, but then again I may not be. Colombage (wood and plaster) buildings are particularly tricky. The church spire certainly looks like it's pointing straight up.


And here, the architecture is clearly the problem. What, exactly, am I supposed to line up with the horizontal edges of the frame? There's a whole lot of zig-zagging going on on the façade of this building.

These old buildings make it impossible to have my vertical lines perfectly vertical, and my horizontals perfectly horizontal. How would I go about straightening these shots? Even the buildings own horizontal or vertical lines don't run parallel to each other.


Then there's this place, outside the Gare du Nord, which is neither my fault, nor the fault of old France. It's the fault of new France, an exhibition of art installed here as part of Nuit Blanche (a night of contemporary art and performance art installations through the city) on October 3, 2015, created by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich. Rather than take it down, the city has left it to confound photographers like me, who can't figure out how to make anything parallel to anything else.


THE CHEESE: Boursault

I've also heard that Boursault can be called Délice de Saint Cyr, but given that the name Boursault is printed in huge letters on their official box, I can't imagine who is calling it that. It's an industrial cheese, usually made from pasteurized cows' milk, invented by Henri Boursault in 1951 in Perreux-sur-Marne. I say "usually" because there are also sheep and goat versions, more rarely sold.

It's a triple cream cheese (that's triple-cream cheese, not triple cream-cheese) that's aged for twelve days, then further allowed to mature and age inside the wrapper for another month. The triple cream makes it silky and unctuous and decadent. It's buttery with hints of mushrooms and, overall, is a very successful, lovely supermarket cheese.

I am tickled by this actual review of the cheese I find online: "This cheese does not need anything but a lovely pain. One of the best cheeses we have tasted." Perhaps he should have bothered to translate the word "pain" into "bread" but I'm glad he didn't. A lovely pain, indeed.


Let me tell you straight: Boursault comes in a box with some edges that are clearly crooked. It's a round cheese (cut into a rectangular brick when I taste it) that comes in an almost-square box with concave sides. There is simply no way I could photograph this box (or this cheese) with perfect horizontals and verticals any more than I can for many of the old buildings throughout France.


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