The Book of Refreshments


Chapter 14 – Life in a Cheesebucket

The observations and meditations of Louis the Pink on all things concerning cheese.

Verses 7 through 16

7. There he found temporary employment stomping cheese so that it might be placed into squeezy-tubes and later enjoyed with crackers or even alone.

8. And Louis climbed into the cheesebucket and began to stomp.

9. The stomping was long and difficult, beginning as the sun rose and ending well after it had set.

10. And during a break another stomper offered to share his beverage with Louis.

11. It was a sweet, berry flavored water that Louis found to be greatly refreshing and also slightly fizzy.

12. And Louis turned to the other stomper and said “Thanks” and also “Dude, how do you cope?”

13. And the stomper that was called Andy said to him, “It’s cheese, ya know? You just got to stomp cheese. If we didn’t stomp the cheese then we couldn’t have squeezy-tubes, and then we couldn’t have saltine canapes, and then we couldn’t properly mellow out while watching the popular entertainments.”

14. Then Louis did stare at the stomper that was called Andy and did boggle freely for a moment or so.

15. And Andy did then continue and said “Oh, and always wear a clean thong.”

16. This then did Louis consider gravely as the taskmaster did entreat them to return to their labors in the cheesebucket.

Verses 22 through 23

22. And there was a great howling heard throughout the land as the cheesebucket had accidentally been overturned.

23. Then did the stomper that was called Andy swoon, and did not return to his senses for three or four days.

Verses 29 through 36

29. Louis did mingle carefully and found himself at the wrong end of the party, wedged between two guests who were engaged in a debate.

30. And since he had sat down on the comfy sofa he was thus rendered immobile and helpless.

31. Those on either side of Louis did talk over his head and very loudly, for the music was of great volume with a beat to which could be danced.

32. Then did the one named Tony speak saying, “Pizza! I love pizza! Pizza is especially good with duck sausage and goat cheese! No tomato sauce. No mozzarella. It has to have a great crust. What you put on top is what tastes good and what people like to eat. That’s it.”

33. Then did the one named Drew scream “BLASPHEMER!” and did leap upon the one named Tony, knocking Louis’ plate from his hands in the process.

34. And Louis did bemoan the loss of the little smokey sausages wrapped in crescent roll that had tumbled to the floor, and he was also soaked in the general area of his groin by the slightly alcoholic red punch with fruit that had been spilled.

35. It was then revealed to Louis, and his eyes were opened wide, that it would be very bad to ask either Drew or Tony if pizza should be thick or thin of crust.

36. For this is a matter of greater truth that is best left to the Prophets.

Verses 42 through 58

42. Louis did closely watch as Phil made the soup, for he thought that it would be a pleasant thing to serve on cold winter afternoons.

43. The margarine was melted and flour and salt and dry mustard were each stirred in, and it was cooked over a small fire until it was smooth.

44. And while Phil did this, he also drank a beer.

45. Then did Phil take the cookpot away from the fire, and he did add milk and the sauce from the western shire.

46. And while Phil did this, he also drank another beer.

47. Then did Phil place the cookpot back upon the small fire and cook the soup until it did cleave to a spoon.

48. And while Phil did this, he also drank still another beer.

49. The cheese was then added, for it had been cut into very small bits for just this purpose.

50. And while Phil did this, he also drank yet one more beer.

51. And Louis saw that Phil was sloshed, and it was so.

52. Phil then with great difficulty did stir in many vegetables of the family Brassicaceae that had been cut up into nice, bite-sized pieces and then cooked until they were just soft.

53. Then he did take one more beer and did pour it into the soup.

54. Louis then said unto Phil, “Beer? In soup?”

55. And Phil did look upon Louis in a way that was blurred and quite unstable and said only “It’sh firsty.”

56. Then did Phil finish stirring the soup and did crawl off to sleep on the floor, under a chair, and next to an attractive young lady who snored in a way that was softly feminine.

57. Louis did taste the cheese soup, and it was good, and he served himself a goodly portion and did garnish it with parsley and croutons.

58. Thus did he learn the secret of the Cheese Soup with Beer, though Phil still doesn’t remember having cooked that night.

Verses 64 through 83

64. In the lands far to the west there formed a strange cult, and they did meet in dark kitchens on Thursday evenings and did make pizzas.

65. Louis did befriend members of this cult, and did act as one of them, thus was he invited to attend these meetings.

66. At the first meeting Louis was instructed in the occult practices of Pizzaria by one who was known as Martin of the Old School.

67. Martin did impart to Louis the secret philosophies of pizza and then did command that Louis should cook.

68. With great nervousness Louis did throw the dough and ladle on a good amount of sauce.

69. And Martin did softly admonish Louis not to use too much sauce as the toppings would slide right off.

70. Then did Louis turn to the task of adding toppings, first reaching for the cheese.

71. And Lo! Martin did strike like lightning and did bruise Louis’ knuckles.

72. Then did Martin say “Toppings first, then cheese.”

73. Louis made a plaintive sound and protested that the pizza wouldn’t be as pretty that way.

74. But Martin was steadfast in his insistence, explaining “You must put the toppings down first so that the cheese will hold them in place, otherwise they’ll roll off when you pick up a slice.”

75. Louis thought upon this and saw that it was true.

76. Then did Louis reach for the artichoke hearts, looking to Martin for approval.

77. But Martin shook his head and said, “No artichoke. Pepperoni.”

78. Louis thought upon this and was a bit baffled, but he put the artichoke hearts down and did use pepperoni instead.

79. Then did Louis reach for the mesquite grilled chicken, looking to Martin for approval.

80. But Martin did scowl and said, “No chicken. Sausage.”

81. This was too much for Louis, and he did cry out, “Artichoke and mesquite grilled chicken are wonderful foods, what’s wrong with them?”

82. This Martin did consider, and then did answer quietly, “I like these new foods just fine, but I can’t deal with fancy pizza.”

83. So Louis made the pizza as would please Martin of the Old School, for that was who he was making the pizza for in the first place.

Verses 97 through 114

97. In this land they had chips made of corn, both large and small, that were dry and unfulfilling.

98. Also there did they have broccoli, and cauliflower, and brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables full of the bitterness of which children despise.

99. And they were inundated with bread sticks, and pretzels, and all manner of things that seemed to want dipping.

100. A terrible sadness descended upon the land, and many a child was sent off to bed without dessert.

101. Then did the Great Powers speak to Phil during a hangover.

102. ”Take a little butter and melt it in a sauce pan,” the Great Powers said, “and then stir in some flour.”

103. ”Cook this for several minutes and then pour in some milk, and continue to stir until it begins to bubble.”

104. ”Then stir in some grated cheese, a little mustard, and a dash of cayenne and cook it until the cheese is melted.”

105. ”Do not use cheddar cheese as it’ll turn out all wrong.”

106. ”Then take the Cheese Sauce and put it upon your eggs, for it will improve them greatly.”

107. And Phil did as he was bidden, and had happy eggs for breakfast, and he saw that his mood was also improved greatly.

108. So then did Phil take this recipe to the people of the land, and their moods were also improved greatly.

109. For their chips could now be dipped in the Cheese Sauce.

110. For their children would now eat of the bitter vegetables with Cheese Sauce.

111. For their breadsticks and pretzels could now be drenched with Cheese Sauce.

112. Even upon hot dogs could they put the Cheese Sauce.

113. Unless they used cheddar cheese, whereupon it turned out all wrong.

114. For a good cheese sauce enhances most anything.

Verses 138 through 155

138. Then did Louis break the plaster that did seal the door shut, and he cautiously entered the Secret Chamber.

139. And the ground did shake and dust did fall from the ceiling, and there was a groaning sound as if the earth were slightly worried.

140. The walls of the Secret Chamber were covered in paintings of strange figures eating lavish meals and engaged in acts of supplication to the Great Powers.

141. But the Secret Chamber was otherwise barren, except for a wrapped bundle about the size of a shoebox, resting in the exact center of the room.

142. Louis did go to the bundle, and did unwrap it carefully.

143. And behold! Within the bundle was a large block of one of the Legendary Cheeses of the Forebearers.

144. As was told in the old stories, the block measured one cubit by one half a cubit by one half a cubit.

145. Its rind was thick and yellow and ever so slightly fuzzy, and there were holes at regular intervals that showed it to be a blue-veined cheese.

146. Then did Walter speak, for he had silently followed Louis and did thus scare him half to death.

147. And Walter did say, “Whoa, that stuff really stinks. What died?”

148. Louis did wait until his heart rate did return to normal, and did scowl all the while at Walter.

149. Then he did say, “This is Roquellarius, one of the Legendary Cheeses of the Forebearers. It was made in the lands of Muumo by Shalnar the Cheesemaker, under the gaze of the Great Powers.

150. Of the freshest cream was Roquellarius made, and it was wrapped in the finest of cloth.

151. It was milled and salted and punctured and has rested in this chamber for one hundred and seventy four years.”

152. Through all of this did Walter stare blankly, and did wait for Louis to say something meaningful.

153. Then was there an awkward silence, wherein no one spoke but much was said.

154. Finally Louis sighed and did speak again, saying “It’s an aged cheese with delicate blue veins. It is quite crumbly, has a strong smell, an almost buttery texture, and a rounded mellow flavor which is best served with walnuts and robust, slightly acidic red wines.”

155. And Walter was very happy for he had remembered to bring the crackers.

Verses 184 through 208

184. At that time a leader come, wearing the mantle of The Office and claiming the will of the Great Powers.

185. He was taught of the Old School but he did not truly believe of their teaching and the Evil One held sway over his heart.

186. He shall not be named, for to invoke him is to give him power over the world, instead shall we just say “Officious Putz.”

187. By devious means did Officious Putz gain control of the Council of Diet, and under its auspices did he perform his evil works.

188. Then in the fourth year of the War of Bechamel, Officious Putz and the Council of Diet did decree that there was only one kind of Real Pizza.

189. Real Pizza must be round.

190. Real Pizza must not be more than one cubit in diameter.

191. Real Pizza must have a thin, but soft crust.

192. Real Pizza must be baked in ovens bearing the Council’s seal.

193. Real Pizza must have cheese made only in the region of Yob.

194. Real Pizza may have garlic or tomatoes, but not both.

195. There was no mention of a cheese-filled crust or a thirty minute delivery window.

196. The Makers of Pizza did rebel and the people did cry out for their large thick-crust pepperoni pizzas with black olives and extra cheese, but to them the Council of Diet was as one who has a banana in his ear.

197. For years did the Students of the Old School, with the encouragement of the Council of Diet, destroy the icons of that which was not Real Pizza.

198. Gone were the menus that featured goat cheese and artichokes.

199. Gone were the Four-For-Alls and Pan-Pans.

200. Gone were even the checkered tablecloths and shakers filled with dried cheese-flavored crumbles.

201. But all things, evil or good, must sometime pass from the earth, and so was it with the Officious Putz.

202. For he did choke to death on a crispy breadstick.

203. Then did the Council of Diet and those of the Old School regret their actions, and did bemoan the loss of the Great Recipes of Puck.

204. And they sought to relearn what was lost, to rebuild the ovens that were broken, and to make again pizzas of many and various types.

205. With thick crust and thin.

206. With red sauce and white.

207. And with all manner of toppings brought from the far corners of the world.

208. Then as before the Great Powers did look down upon the realm, and they did grin quite a lot.