What is A Year in Fromage? It was envisioned as a one-year project to publish a post about a new cheese every day for a year (though it has now been going on for over two years with no end in sight and, after the first year anniversary, is no longer daily) along with some aspect of life in France suggested by the cheese. I will be the one interpreting what the cheese suggests, since most of the cheeses I know aren't very articulate. And the rest are indecisive.

Will you be eating a different cheese every day? I say "publish" but not "write" or "taste" because, let's face it: I have two school-aged kids, both of whom have after-school activities and Wednesday afternoons off of school. I also have two-week-long school vacations every two months, and a strong need to grocery shop, cook, eat, travel, exercise, socialize, hang out with my husband, explore the city, walk my friend's dog, and shower on occasion. Plus, I am trying to make sense of both the stories and the cheeses. So I admit it: I may taste 10 cheeses at one time and write some up in advance. But I do promise that when I post a cheese and describe it, I really have tasted it. It's only the timeline that might be a little off.

Are you a leading authority on cheese? I am not a cheese maker, cheese historian, or cheese expert in any way. Nor do I claim to know everything there is to know about France. On the other hand, I'm not an ignoramus, either. I have much-more-than-average experience with France and cheese, and French cheese. This is a project of discovery -- so you will watch me grow (hopefully in the metaphoric, rather than literal, sense) over the year. We will discover it all together. Just think of me as your Paris-based eyes, ears, nose, and taste buds.

Will you only talk about cheese, then? Every day will have a cheese and a story about life in France: anecdotes, minor disasters, observations, and research on daily life in Paris, travels around the country, food, language, history, and traditions.
Will you earn any money? Only if I get sponsors (hint) or a book deal (hint, hint). But realistically, the only one who'll be making a lot of money off of this venture is my local cheese shop.

Are you the photographer? Unless I give credit for photos borrowed from other websites, photographers, or press materials, I am, indeed, the only photographer. Except when I'm in the photo, then it was probably my husband or one of my kids, but I'll probably forget to give them credit.

Can I find you on Facebook and Instagram? Yes! You can "like" me at A Year in Fromage on Facebook, and I will post links to most of my stories that will appear on your feed. You can also "like" me in real life if you meet me. Or not. That's your choice. You can follow me on Instagram @ayearinfromage. Please do not follow me in life, especially down dark alleys, as that will freak me out.
So given that you're not earning money, are you for hire? Yes, as a writer, photographer, speaker, tour guide, or cheese party host. My very patient and supportive husband will thank you.

Did you ever think of calling this website "C'est Cheese"? Of course I did! But that name has already been taken by a cheese store in Southern California. I also thought of calling it CheeseP*rn, but I'm afraid that it would get blocked for too many people, or that they would accidentally end up on a CheesyP*rn site, which probably exists, and is probably horrible, though I can't say I've actually looked for it. And I did also think of calling it Cheeseday, but that url was also taken. A Year in Fromage about sums it up nicely, however, and also pays a little nod of homage to authors Peter Mayle and Stephen Clarke.

Why start on November 19? I've been formulating this project for a while, but I manage to keep procrastinating because a) there's always a reason to procrastinate and b) I kept hoping to make it perfect before launching. But as with everything in life, I've come to realize that the only way to make it happen is to allow it to happen imperfectly. So it may evolve. Or not. You'll just have to live with the flaws; I know I will.

Speaking of which, did you create this website yourself? Pardon me while I wipe my eyes from the laughter tears. No, I owe the technology of this to my generous husband, patient web designer Mihai Jepan, the person who designed the blog template that was used as the foundation (freshlook), and the people who invented computers and software. If it were left up to me, I would either hand-write this whole thing or else dictate it to a stenographer to chisel in stone.
Are these really Frequently Asked Questions? No. They are Questions I Imagine You Might Have, but if I labeled them QIIYMH, you wouldn't know what I was talking about.

Will we be reading about a heart attack somewhere in the middle of the year? I moved to France with a cholesterol level of 203 (just over the ideal range up to 200), 63 HDL (good cholesterol in the middle of the range), and 131 LDL (bad cholesterol a little higher than the ideal range up to 100). Two years later, when I started this project, my cholesterol has lowered to 194 (sneaking within the ideal range up to 200), my good cholesterol has risen to 81 HDL, and my bad cholesterol had lowered to 104 LDL (just the tiniest bit over the ideal range up to 100). After two years of A Year in Fromage (Two Years in Fromage, that is), my current total cholesterol is 202, with good HDL cholesterol of 69 and bad LDL cholesterol of 118. So it hasn't changed much, but it looks like -- if anything -- living in France and eating a lot of cheese has helped rather than harmed.

What will you do when you're done? Stay tuned for A Year in Brussel Sprouts: Discovering Belgium One Cholesterol-lower Vegetable at a Time.


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