In an effort to be more educated about the food that I put in my mouth, I attended a "Perfect Pairings" class at the local Cheese School of San Francisco to learn all about what to serve your cheese with to really compliment the flavors (thanks to Em and Mark for the gift!!).
I spent TWO HOURS devouring a mere 8 pieces of cheese:
The top two things I learned in Cheese School are:
1) I actually don't know anything about cheese.
(In fact, I may have just educated myself just enough to know that I'm probably doing things wrong when I serve it.)
My head was spinning after two hours of my teacher name dropping fancy cheeses like I should have heard of them, while I'm the one raising my hand asking things like "should I eat the rind?"
Luckily the point of the class was to taste all sorts of different combinations of cheese and various accompaniments so that you know what tastes good to you. That I can do. I may not always remember which cheese knife to use for which cheese, but I do know that Roquefort and honey is the best thing that happened to my cheese plate.
2) Taking two hours to really savor a meal is awesome.
It was so helpful to have someone walk you through every bite you took - instructing you to "try the cream in the middle, then the firmer cheese on the outside, then try them all together" rather than my normal method of "put all the cheese in your mouth, chew twice (or once if you are really efficient), swallow, repeat as quickly as possible."
I wish that I always had someone helping me to eat more slowly, and really examine every bite's different flavors and textures:
"Now just nibble a corner of the sandwich - do you see how the crunch of the peanut butter compliments the sweetness of the jelly, and how the whole wheat bread crust really evens it all out?"
I obviously still have a long way to go in being any sort of graduate of Cheese School. Luckily, this is the kind of homework I can handle.