The Cheese Grater

July 4, 2017
3 mins read

ANDREW JOHNSTONE explains why he keeps his cheese grater under the bed.


So it took me three years to get around to buying a cheese grater. Oh dear, it’s going to cost money. And where will I put it? I have no space for a cheese grater. Do I need a cheese grater, anyway? Then I think about all the cool things I’d grate, like beetroot.

Grate beetroot then cook it over a fast high heat with a little olive oil to moisten proceedings. Throw in some spice, a dash of sugar and some balsamic. Cook off the liquid, chill then eat. Goes well with crusty bread and a boiled egg.

A grater (also known as a shredder) is a kitchen utensil used to grate foods into fine pieces. Frenchman François Boullier invented the cheese grater in the 1540s to grate cheese, which is why we divide time into two epochs: Before Grated Cheese (BGC) and After Grated Cheese (AGC). Is it just me, or does cooked grated cheese taste better than cooked sliced cheese? I wonder if this is a thing. I am going to Google it. Back soon and PS: Microsoft Word, why are you urging me to capitalise Google?

Toasting cheese in a toaster can be trouble but being careful avoids that. The internet’s favourite toaster cheese sandwiches are made from sliced bread, but the goods are prone to run out the side and catch on the electricals, which is why I use pita.

A pita is a self-contained miracle of cooked bread dough that will hold a filling secure and stand up to a little heat. And you don’t have to tip the toaster sideways (to stop the filling running out of the bottom). “If toasters were meant to be used sideways they would be ‘sideways toasters’ and not ‘upright toasters’” – Wise Chinese Sage. (Pita has a sealed bottom, making it fine for upright toasting).

But first, why am I toasted cheese sandwiches in a toaster and not a toasted sandwich maker? Because I have a toaster and I don’t have much space and the toaster and toasted sandwich maker together would push me out the door. Besides, when you are frugal about money, a specialty machine for making toasted cheese sandwiches seems excessive.

Cheddar cheese (the most flavoursome of the cookable cheeses) is full of fat and leaks and burns and makes smoke and alarms go off. A low fat cheese like Edam avoids this. Likewise Mozzarella. NZ makes most of the Mozzarella used on Chinese pizza, which means this commodity is in demand, scarce and expensive. Hey, I’m not complaining. Those exports pay for what is mostly a wonderfully carefree and relaxed Socialist Democratic paradise, so the cheap flavourless Edam no one else wants will do just fine.

Grate cheese, mix in finely chopped onion, some diced olives, Kaitaia fire, pepper, herbs, smoked paprika, whatever you want. Slice pita in half, stuff halves with cheese mix and toast on low heat (Pita is delicate around high heat). And don’t over fill the pita. It’ll stick and burn and make a mess. On the matter of cooked grated cheese, Google/ says:

Finely grating the cheese creates more surface area, allowing heat to permeate quickly for even melting. Large or irregular chunks of cheese melt at different rates, can melt first on the outside and then overcook, or become clumpy or oily before the inside of the chunk starts to flow.

The first time I heard the word Google I thought it weird and unwieldy – clumsy and silly. When I realised what Google could do the word became more meaningful. I got to like it but I never got to like U2. First time I heard that name I thought ‘dumb word play’ and could never really take them seriously after that. This probably makes me a prat or a snob or some such. As for Google/google here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Search for information about (someone or something) on the internet using the search engine Google’.

It tells us that you can only google on Google. A Little ‘g’ is fine when using the word to describe a search on Google Corporation’s information gathering algorithm machine, but a big ‘G’ is in order for describing the auspicious company behind the brand. It is improper to say, “I will just google that” on any search engine other than Google’s, but you can ‘bing’ on Bing or ‘duckduckgo’ on Duckduckgo.

So anyways, I got the damned cheese grater. It cost $3 at The Warehouse. If I had have known it was going to be that cheap I might have bought one years ago. Otherwise, I have nowhere to put it except under the bed and that feels wrong.

“Do you have a cheese grater?” she asks. “Yeah. Right there, under the bed,” he says pointing. “Oh… really?” she says, raising an eyebrow.

‘Google it/on Bing/Fuck the Man/The thing is/I am a maverick/I keep my cheese grater under the bed/Bing/Bang/Boing/Take that bitch’!

“I’m a rapper,” he tells her, but she has already gone.





Andrew Johnstone is Witchdoctor's Film & TV Editor. He also writes and produces music (with creative partner, legendary Waikato music producer Zed Brookes), is an avid gardener, former dairy farmer and food industry sales person. When he isn't making up stories he writes about the stories he sees on television and at the cinema. He is also fascinated by politics (the social democratic sort) and describes The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as his religion.

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