I always attributed the fact that my family liked cheese so much to my mother being Dutch. My friends in high school would always come over and love all of the hunks of cheese in our fridge. No, we didn’t have artisanal quarters of cheese, but the blocks that you buy at the grocery store, cheddar, monterey jack, my all time favorite monzerella and occasionally we would have a round of gouda or edam to honor our heritage.
Though the Dutch do love their dairy, and eat a lot of it, I’m not sure if I can link the two things. I think that we just ate a lot of cheese, and used a lot of cheese in the foods that we prepared. We are lucky that we were all built with a Dutch and a Swedish frame, tall and thin, or all that cheese may have done numbers on our girlish figures, yes my father’s girlish figure too.
I can’t remember the first time my mother made a cheese soufflé for us, but my sister and I didn’t play our usual nose turning game with her and crowned her with delight and appreciation of the ultimate dish. Along with artichokes it became a special occasion food and went from dinner food to brunch food as my sister and I got older. It still is a special occasion food. My husband had it for the first time this weekend and said that it reminded him of something that he had eaten in Northern Italy when he was living in Milan.
Cheese Soufflé from a very old New York Times cookbook
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups milk
- 2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
- salt and cayenne pepper
- 4 eggs, separated
Preheat oven to moderate, 375°F, for a moist soufflé, 325°F, for a drier one.
Melt the butter and blend in the flour. Meanwhile, bring the milk to a boil and add all at once to the butter-flour blend, stirring vigorously with a wire whisk. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened and smooth.
Remove the sauce from the heat and add the cheese, stirring until the cheese is melted. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Let cool.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold them gently into the cooled sauce. Turn into a two-quart casserole with straight sides and bake for about thirty minutes at 375°F, or for about fifty minutes at 325°F, until golden brown and firm.
Serve immediately with crusty bread.