Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Who moved my cheese?!

Westernaire Drive In - Lewistown, Montana

Alot has changed in Lewistown since we bought our condo here six years ago.

Recently at our local Albertsons -
I purchased some imported Saint Andre' triple cream brie,
a wedge of hand crafted Artisan Bleu, and three pounds of Irish cultured butter!

Six years ago finding decent fromage locally was more than challenging.
When hosting our first dinner party in Lewistown
we needed some good cheese.

At that time the primary options at Albertsons
were Velveeta and other processed cheese "products".

So... I rode out to the edge of town to Kitch's Cheese Mart.There were three reasons to adore Kitch's.

First - location.
Kitch's was situated on the far edge of town in a converted mobile home
adjacent to the Westernaire Drive In Theater (now sadly gone).

Second - brand positioning.
Kitch's boasted that they "imported" cheese directly from WISCONSIN.

Third and finally - irony!
Upon pulling your vehicle
into their gravel lot - 
one was immediately
dazzled by a vast array of
cast concrete virgins,
gnomes, deer, bears,
"dutch babies", and more!
All ready to be taken home.
Kitch's sold kitsch!

I walked in to find a young lady behind a row of humming glass cases.
All were filled with vacuum packed dairy products.
Based on inventory - Beer Cheese seemed to be the hot item.
A large hanging sign reminded everyone "Don't forget your summer sausage"!

No globes of mellow Mimolette.
No squares of tangy Tallegio.
No wheels of rich Roquefort.
Just a mound of cheese curds.

I hesitantly asked... 
"Do you have any brie"?

She replied... 
"We can special order
brie for the holidays".
It was July.
I asked...
"What about Chevre"?

Her response...
"Drive a Dodge Ram myself".
The truth I swear!
Suddenly in the far corner
on the bottom shelf
I spied a luscious wheel
of creamy, ripe Maytag Blue.

I asked...
"How about that Blue Cheese"?

Confused she responded...
"Sure, but isn't it moldy"?

Sadly - Kitch's closed it doors for ever more soon after. 

I've dined on this story for many years (apologizes to all who've heard prior) - 
With pride I can tell you that "culture" (as in cheese) now thrives in Lewistown. 

Another life lesson learned - 
Things usually change for the better.
But like cheese and fine wine it takes time.

Fergus County Creamery - Lewistown MT - 1924 - Courtesy Montana Memory Project - Lewistown Library