Say cheese.

Over the weekend I was cycling in Belgium, doing the sportive version of the ludicrously hard Tour of Flanders. On the way back, still eating like a horse to make up for all those hours in the saddle, I popped into a Brussels’ train station supermarket, and found this. Now, I knew that Passendale was well known in Belgium for its cheese, but I’d somehow contrived not to see a packet before. So, not able to ignore the First World War for a moment, I had to buy some (evidence, incidentally, of how hard it is to calculate when an academic is, and is not, working). Does it make a point about the specificity of British remembrance of the war? After all, part of Passchendale’s place in ‘memory’ is its associative power – the rural imagery of dale mixed with the biblical imagery of the Passion. Perhaps, but perhaps not – after all, the French didn’t feel the need to rename Champagne, for all the fighting that went on there.

It tasted pretty good, by the way, particularly with a bit of bread.

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4 Responses to Say cheese.

  1. Bernard de Neumann says:

    Another cheese that went to war is “Laughing Cow” French cheese:

    U-boat U-69 carried the emblem of a “Laughing Cow” on her conning tower. This
    reflected her captain, Jost Metzler’s sense of humour: After Günther Prien’s audacious attack at Scapa Flow in October 1939, sinking the Royal Oak, he became known as “The Bull of Scapa”, and had a black charging bull painted on the conning tower of U-47. Metzler, whilst in Lorient, wanted a suitable emblem for U-69 and
    spotted a crate of La Vache qui Rit (The Laughing Cow). He had the symbol
    of French processed cheese painted on U-69’s conning tower, and henceforth
    she was known as Die Lachende Kuh (The Laughing Cow).

  2. trenchfever says:

    Nice story, and I think I see the start of a long-running thread here: cheese at war. Of course we mustn’t forget 617 squadron, the Edambusters…

  3. Dan says:

    And, indeed, the Glorious Double Glosters…

  4. Alice says:

    ..Least we forget the the blessed ‘Cheesemakers’ – Lloyd George, Clemenceau, Wilson and Orlando – at Versailles

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