Old Amsterdam

Ahh, Ams­ter­dam. Some­times I wish there was a Gen­er­al Foods Inter­na­tion­al Cof­fee fla­vor that would trans­port me back to those gauzy days on the banks of the Ams­tel — the cool fall breeze, the Night­watch, the hazy cof­feeshop after­noons. Actu­al­ly, to faith­ful­ly recre­ate those sim­pler times, a sin­gle cup of cof­fee would have to knock me on my ass and erase my mem­o­ry for a week. Fur­ther­more, it would have to make me feel like I'd been lobot­o­mized, and send my life into a ter­ri­ble, slow-motion tail­spin. It would also have to emp­ty my bank account, force me to live on nan bread from the Indi­an restau­rant next to my crap­py Lon­don apart­ment. (If not for the kind­ness and infi­nite­ly tol­er­ant under­stand­ing of Kar­la Betts, this era of my life would have been noth­ing more than a plat­ter of cheese cubes drift­ing silent­ly past me). While it can't faith­ful­ly recre­ate the Ams­ter­dam expe­ri­ence of my vague rec­ol­lec­tion, there is a cheese which has a way of tak­ing me back to a more ide­al place. It's called Old Ams­ter­dam. It's in the gou­da fam­i­ly, and it has got a nice salty bite bal­anced with the req­ui­site gou­da creami­ness. Does it lead me to spend 72 straight hours in the base­ment lounge of a hos­tel? No. But it tastes nice with crispy crack­ers, toma­toes, and olive oil, and it doesn't give me uncon­trol­lable crav­ings for falafel that I can't afford.