Cheese Accounting 🧀

aka Dairy Diary

Jessamyn West
7 min readMay 23, 2019

I won a year’s supply of cheese in a contest in May of 2019.

This has been a weird year for me and food surpluses. I figured I’d let you know how this sort of thing works and/or how it worked for me.

For starters, a “year’s supply” is not really an exact measurement. For me, before this, that would have been maybe 75 string cheeses and a pound or two of cheddar. And some shakey Parmesan for my green beans. For Cabot, this is 100 pounds of cheese. Twenty-five pounds of cheese, delivered quarterly. OK then.

I was gone for a day and a half and arrived home to a box halfway up my stairs that said “Refrigerate Upon Arrival.” I lumped the twenty-five pound box up the rest of my stairs and opened it up. Wow.

[over fifty individual containers and packages of cheese, all from Cabot]

I emailed Cabot to make sure this was all still okay despite maybe having been on my porch for 26 hours. They said sure, “The temperatures have been cool and our cheese is very hardy.” Good news is, it all fits in my fridge.

Woke up the next morning having mostly forgotten about this cheese and then opened my fridge to a wall of it. First cheese eaten was two of their “cracker cuts” on a gardenburger.

[English muffin w/ hummus on one side and a gardenburger type patty on the other with melted cheese on it]

I’m not a huge fan of pre-sliced cheese, and any sort of orange cheese, but I knew who would be: the library. They have snacks out after school for kids who hang out there and anything decently healthy is a win. I asked Courtney if she’d like some, she said yes. Three(ish) pounds of cheese to the library!

[three types of Cabot cheese shown from the top: Pepper Jack, Vermont Seriously Sharp and Colby Jack]

I started assembling a list of my friends who really like cheese. My friend Fred is a longtime librarian pal of mine who lives in my general area. I knew he’d be at the premiere of One Town At a Time the movie about the 251 Club and one guy’s quest to see all the Vermont towns. I packed a pound of cheese into my backpack for Fred. “This is the good stuff!” he exclaimed when I handed over some of the Founders Collection cheddars. I assured him there was more where that came from.

The Randolph Area Food Shelf helps people in my community with food insecurity. The bags of shredded cheese I received were not necessarily my favorite thing but I knew someone would like them. I dropped the food shelf an email and they said they’d be happy to take them. Five pounds of cheese (ten bags) to a good cause.

[a grinning beardo type holding up an 8 oz package of Horseradish cheddar cheese]

Horseradish cheddar cheese? No thanks. But I knew someone who would looooove it. I sent Jim home with a pound of horseradish cheese, a half pound of habañero cheddar and a half pound of Vermont sharp cheddar.

Trivia is hungry work. I gave everyone on my trivia team a half pound of various cheddars. My friends were out of town for a funeral and I left a pound of good cheese in their fridge. It’s been a week and I am almost through eating a half pound of cracker cuts. I do not plow through this stuff very quickly. I left a half pound in my landlady’s fridge. “I’m not supposed to eat it” she says “But I love it, so maybe just a little…”

[nice plate of baked chicken broccoli and sweet potatoes]

My friends invited me over for a woods walk, dinner and homebrew. I brought cheese.

Fred sent me a thank you postcard!

[postcard addressed to me saying “thanks for the great cheese”]

I head south. I pack a small cooler full of cheese. I open one more container of cracker cuts at the house and bring another half pound along with a nice salad to a 4th of July party.

I promise everyone “a lot of cheese” at the MeFi20 party but as it turns out, there is a lot of every other food so we don’t have that much. I sent my sister home with a pound of the good “private stock” stuff. I open one more container of cracker cuts.

[a table totally loaded with food, only some of which is cheese]

Jim visits the next weekend and I realize that a lot of the cheese I am “saving” is basically cheese I am not eating. He has a hungry kid at home. We eat some of the Alpine reserve cheddar with an apple and it’s delicious. I send him home with some other cheddar and I am basically done with my first round of cheese. I have another party and friends bring a pound of Cabot’s Garlic & Herb cheddar and it’s super good but man…. I wind up bringing some of it back to Vermont with me.

When I get back to Vermont, I notify Cabot that I have returned and a week later a heavy box arrives. This time it’s at the top of the staircase and they let me know that it was coming. Is exactly the same stuff but no worries, that’s the stuff I like.

[three images, a box on a table, the cheese that was in the box nicely arrayed on a table, and my refrigerator overflowing with cheese]

My first order of business is to open the Cracker Cuts and toast an English muffin. My second is to put a post on Facebook basically asking “Who wants some?” My third is to package up all the pre-shredded cheese (5 lbs.) and walk it over to the local food shelf. They are happy to get it.

I make the requisite posts to Instagram and Twitter. Then I decide to go all nuts and post an AMA on Reddit as well. It was fun.

Fred is in early with his requests so I bring some cheese to him when we are both at the Chandler Music Hall volunteer appreciation dinner. I also bring some to the library so that they can give it to the after school kids. I show up to trivia with a small cooler and give a lot away to everyone on my trivia team and quite a few members of other teams. I tip the trivia host a half pound of the Tuscan cheddar and she seems to like it, though is also somewhat confused. After a week and a half I am almost through with one package of cracker cuts and then….

[box with CABOT lettering on the side, shown on my kitchen table/counter]

At first I think maybe I’ll ask about it and then I think “Well… what are the possible outcomes?” Either it’s a mistake in which case they’d probably tell me to keep it or (unlikely) send it back. Or it’s sort of on purpose and I’m getting too-much-cheese earlier than usual. Either way I figure I’ll just step up my cheese distribution.

  • Bring some to a cookout for cheeseburgers and snacking
  • Bring some to friends’ house where we eat with fresh-made flatbread in front of a raging woodstove fire
  • Send Jim home with all the horseradish cheese
  • Bring more cheese to trivia the next week (team members only this time)
  • donate a pound of the really good aged stuff to the 251 Club luncheon which is really bringing it full circle (I think they made $15 or so)
  • All the shreddies go to the food shelf

I’m still picking through my favorite cracker cuts. I bought some triscuits early on in this process and they do lend themselves towards pre-cut square cheese.

One of the neighborhood kids emails me asking for cheese. I think his friend put him up to it. I play along.

[screen shot of a very short email asking for cheese]

Trade a pound of cheese for a few candy bars. His mom comes to pick it up because he has robot club.

I bring some Everything Bagel cheese to Yom Kippur dinner and have it in the appropriate way.

[close up of a bagel with Everything Bagel cheese slices]

And then everything gets a little hazy. I got another box on December 18th, same drill (food shelf, friends, etc) and everyone got cheese for holidaytime.

My last delivery was in the first week of March 2020. The second week of March everything shut down. The food shelf was happy to get a large delivery. I was happy to have some fridge-stable food in my house to keep my supermarket visits down. And that month lasted…. nearly two years. I forgot to end this story. I wound up with some gall bladder troubles (unrelated, says my doc, I wasn’t eating THAT much cheese) and have been watching my fat intake ever since. Amusingly this now means I eat more of the shredded cheese because now I have a microwave and it’s delicious melted on things. I was a Cabot fan before this whole year of cheese, and I remain one.

I hope you are staying well, and fed, and happy.




Jessamyn West

Rural tech geek. Librarian resistance member. Collector of mosses. Enjoyer of postcards. ✉️ box 345 05060 ✉️ &