By Neena Strichart
Many couples have little inside jokes that keep humor running through their relationships. With Steve and me, it is the “pig cheese” that makes us laugh. Over two decades ago, we went to a man’s home to interview him to be our wedding photographer. Steve had known the fellow for quite a while, as the man also worked as a photographer for the City of Long Beach and had taken many pictures at crime scenes when Steve was the officer on duty.
While showing us his portfolio, “Bill” the photographer started chatting with Steve about various things, and the two ended up talking about their pig collections. When I say pig collections, I don’t mean live pigs– I mean porcelain statuettes, plastic cups with pig likenesses emblazoned on them, glass bookends, and pretty much anything else with a pig on it. Steve was describing some of his prized pieces when Bill announced that he had the best piece of “pig paraphernalia” in the world.
Getting up from the living room, Bill walked over to his refrigerator, opened one of the inside drawers, picked up some sort of what I figured was an edible item and brought it for us to admire. It was a “pig cheese.” What is a pig cheese? In this case, it is what he described to be a 10-year-old vacuum-packed cheese that had been made to resemble a pig. He claimed someone had given it to him as a lark years ago. Frankly, I thought it looked like something out of a school science lab that was waiting to be dissected. After a few laughs between us, Bill held out the pig cheese and offered it to us as a wedding present. I’m still not sure why, but we graciously accepted his gift.
The cheese has been in a drawer in our refrigerator for 21 years now– making it a porcine-shaped hunk of milk solids that’s more than 30 years old.Talk about aged cheese…sheesh!
Over the years, we have had our share of laughs over the topic of the plastic-wrapped baby swine. When entertaining overnight guests or housing a house/pet sitter, we always make it clear, “eat anything you want, but stay away from the pig cheese!” Of course, we then walk over and proudly display our most certainly fermented cheesy pig and explain that it is however many years old at the time. Most people laugh politely at our little “joke,” but I’m sure they just think we are weird.
Bringing the joke to a more intimate level– last week we were really low on groceries and I was just too tired to shop. I mentioned to Steve that I was so hungry “the pig cheese was starting to look good!” Having a great sense of humor and a heart of gold, he said “Don’t worry, Honey. I’ll call Charo Chicken. They’ll deliver.” What a man!