Sometimes love is a laughing cow

I have a pretty complicated relationship with food, for a non-eating-disordered normal-weight female. I always used to joke that I was a fat girl trapped in a skinny body. Once I became post-menopausal at the ripe old age of 33, I had to stop saying that—my metabolism no longer allows for the wanton consumption it once did. (Alas.) But there’s no denying that I see food as way more than sustenance.

What do you see in this picture?

Here’s what I see:

I see the Holy Grail of kid snackdom. My children probably dream of a world that looks like the McDonald’s Play Place, but instead of balls in the ball pit, it’s filled with Babybel mini cheese wheels.

I put the last two of these into their lunches for snack, this morning, and there was ACTUAL CHEERING at the breakfast table when they saw me doing it.

Now, I hardly ever buy these. They’re insanely expensive… something like $3.50 for 6 little single-serving cheeses, when I could buy an entire BLOCK of cheese (three times as much) for $2. And you know me and the thrifty thing. But when they’re on special, I get them—even though they’re still too expensive—because the kids go positively NUTS when I do. And that’s reason enough for me. It makes them happy, and that makes me happy.

And while I’m thinking on it—very little makes me happier than when I cook something for my family and they love it. Food is love, man. Food is love. (I know, I totally invented that, right? Also: Water is wet. You’re welcome.)

I still have some unhealthy habits around food that I need to break, for sure. I eat too much. I eat out of boredom rather than out of hunger. Stuff like that. But the more I realize that food is love, the easier it is to keep striving for healthier options to feed us, while at the same time the easier it is to make peace with the occasional splurges like Babybels or Girl Scout cookies. (Stop looking at me like that. It’s a good cause!) (Thin mints are always a good cause. Mmmmm… thin mints.)

This Love Thursday, I wish you all a little bit of the kind of love you can tuck into a child’s lunch bag.

49 Responses to “Sometimes love is a laughing cow”

  1. 1
    Otto February 28, 2008 at 9:25 am #

    Damnit … now I want a Thin Mint …

    -otto

  2. 2
    Leandra February 28, 2008 at 9:29 am #

    This is the second post I’ve read today that mentions Girl Scout cookies. What are you people trying to DO to me?

    I sure do wish you had posted a picture of these cheese wheels because I have no idea what they are or what they look like.

  3. 3
    Kim February 28, 2008 at 9:34 am #

    I have not had those since i was a little kid!
    Now I want cheese…and Thin Mints..AND Girl Guide cookies!

  4. 4
    Flea February 28, 2008 at 9:36 am #

    Mmmm …. Babybels. I LOVE, squishy heart,

  5. 5
    Flea February 28, 2008 at 9:38 am #

    Dude! Where’s my comment! Anybody else see just part of one line there? I was just revering Mir for her choice of dairy love, but only one line came through! Alien life forms reading this blog? Dang it. I was JUST SAYING that Laughing Cow also makes these baby creamy Swiss wedges that are to DIE FOR.

  6. 6
    Megan February 28, 2008 at 9:49 am #

    I have passed on my love of cheese to my Children. Child 2 recently discovered a fabulous (and. Sigh. Expensive – hello, once a year treat!) sheep’s milk cheese. Unfortunately it smells like the Male Child’s dirty socks but it tastes fantastic. I overheard Child 2 on the phone with its friend and it said, “oooooh, and we just found this reeeeeeeelly amazing cheeeeeeese,” in a sort of creepy, dreamy voice. Is that too much cheese love?

  7. 7
    MomCat February 28, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    Sort of like how you can buy a rosebush to plant in the ground and have roses for years, for far less than a dozen roses, delivered. Yeah, it’s more, but the roses in the vase, brought by the delivery person, make such an impact!
    I buy those Babybel cheese wheels, too. My daughter loves pulling off the wax cover, I think, more than she loves the cheese.

  8. 8
    Amy-Go February 28, 2008 at 10:00 am #

    Zero is not normal-sized. AND you made me want some Babybels. Damn you!

  9. 9
    Dani February 28, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    Totally by coincidence, I sent my boys with a surprise in their snack bag today, too! I deviated from the norm (healthy stuff that they love like apples, grapes, raw veggies, etc.) and put CHIPS AHOY in their bags. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in the classroom when they open them. They are gonna’ do cartwheels.

    Did I do this because it is Love Thursday? No. I did it because I desperately need to go grocery shopping and I had a choice between the cookies and anchovies. They don’t need to know that, though. ;)

  10. 10
    transplanting me February 28, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    best babybels i ever had were the chaser to a lovely pain killer while in the er. they were heaven!!

  11. 11
    All Adither February 28, 2008 at 10:12 am #

    Babybels are almost always on sale at Fred Meyer here in Seattle. I have rotten spoiled kids because they actually HATE them because I buy them too often. Back to crappy American cheese for them.

  12. 12
    heidi February 28, 2008 at 10:13 am #

    I just bought a huge bag of those at BJ’s last night. For the kids. Really, the kids.

  13. 13
    Deb February 28, 2008 at 10:32 am #

    Wow…a little freaky that you posted this today. I just had this discussion with someone. I love food and when my family asks for more at dinner time I get tears in my eyes. Growing up in an italian household, sharing food is sharing love. Great post today! ok…now I want some babybels too lol.

  14. 14
    Jenny February 28, 2008 at 10:33 am #

    [was going to comment but is now on her way to Publix for Babybels and hoping there's a Girl Scout table by the door]

  15. 15
    Rachel May February 28, 2008 at 10:43 am #

    We have several types of cheese in the house, according to my three year old son:
    1. Square cheese (sliced, indivdually wrapped – for heaven’s sake, don’t buy the ones that aren’t individually wrapped – American cheese)
    2. Tri-nangle cheese (Laughing Cow Swiss wedges)
    3. Long cheese (mozzarella cheese sticks)
    4. Round cheese (babybel cheese)
    5. Cheese-for-chips-n-cheese (Velveeta that I use to make queso dip)
    6. Breadsticks-n-cheese (those little snack packs)
    7. All-torn-up cheese (shredded cheese)

    Wow… I’ve never really listed these like this before. My son could very well TURN INTO cheese if I’m not careful.

  16. 16
    Glo February 28, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    Oh, yes, food is love. I learned that in my high chair. And passed it on. My grown kids still get this kind of love. Sometimes the only thing I can think to give them is a good meal. We are blessed and don’t want for much. So, I too am pleased when I hear the ahhs and yums.

    I just wish I didn’t have such a sweet tooth. Ah, well, I am blessed with a husband who says, “Love of food is love of life”. Well, I love life alot!!

  17. 17
    heather February 28, 2008 at 11:05 am #

    I love the Laughing Cow. I think I’m going to the grocery store at lunch. And in the grand scheme of things, those are healthier than a bag of potato chips.

  18. 18
    jennielynn February 28, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    You know, too often, that food=love thing takes on a negative aspect. Thank you for discussing it in positive terms. You are right, providing healthy, delicious meals for your family is showing love. I love making dinner every night for my family and when Missy Hoohaw says, “This is the best dinner forever!” I just melt.

    I know exactly what you mean about the mini Babybells. My kids, 13-1 love, love, love them. Occasionally, when I’m in the soul-sucking dimension known as Sam’s Club, I will buy a bag and my children start pinballing off the walls. All hail the Babybells! Too bad you need to refinance your house to buy them…

  19. 19
    Jamie AZ February 28, 2008 at 11:20 am #

    I also fully subscribe to the food is love mantra. Too bad I don’t care for cheese. No, really, cheese is icky to me, except maybe a little mozzarella on pizza (because you can’t taste it with all the other stuff) and parmesan on caesar and Italian food. Makes sense to me. :)

    I STILL have not found a girl scout to buy cookies from yet this year…

  20. 20
    DanaB February 28, 2008 at 11:25 am #

    Amen, amen! So much love in feeding your family healthy, satisfying meals and snacks–yep including the cheese *bows*

    ~~

  21. 21
    dad February 28, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    Stop beating yourself up.
    Both Thin Mints and Bacon are their own separate food groups and even the Surgeon General agrees that a varied diet, including all food groups is essential.
    Besides, they are good for the soul.

    ps: Cows don’t actually laugh. The visual phenomenon is due to having gas.

  22. 22
    Wendy February 28, 2008 at 12:05 pm #

    Thanks for the reminder. I wanted to get these at the store, tomorrow, but not for the kids. Teehee!

  23. 23
    bonggamom February 28, 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    We heart Babybels too. My kids love unwrapping them, eating them, and playing with the red wax like it’s PlayDoh. Sometimes I find them at Costco for much cheaper than the smaller packs sold at grocery stores.

  24. 24
    mammafor2 February 28, 2008 at 12:22 pm #

    Thank you very much!!! NOT! Now I Have to go by the store and get some cheese! Thank goodness the kids are gone for the weekend. I will share the cheese with dh and uncork a bottle of wine! (Maybe I should be thanking you for the idea!)

  25. 25
    Caz February 28, 2008 at 12:31 pm #

    I used to go crazy for babybel cheese when I was a kid/teen too. But my Mom would never buy it b/c it was too expensive. I could either buy it myself (which I occasionally did), and I’d get one bag of it every year in my stocking at Christmas. I still love it, mostly because it’s a treat.

  26. 26
    Kailani February 28, 2008 at 1:51 pm #

    At our house Man Cub and Girl Child call it Baby Cheese. Besides being yumalicious, I think part of the appeal is the wax, which is really just another McFun toy! I never thought of putting it in their stockings, though. Note to self: Clue in the Easter Bunny…

  27. 27
    Tootsie Farklepants February 28, 2008 at 2:06 pm #

    I’m currently having inappropriate relations with Girl Scout Samoas.

  28. 28
    Allison February 28, 2008 at 2:11 pm #

    These have been a staple in my house for as long as I can REMEMBER. Thanks for the laugh!

  29. 29
    Rhea February 28, 2008 at 2:37 pm #

    Water is wet. LOL

  30. 30
    annie February 28, 2008 at 2:45 pm #

    I don’t suppose we could persuade the kiddies to save those little red wax skins and so we can just re-stuff them with the $2 cheese… ?

  31. 31
    becky February 28, 2008 at 2:57 pm #

    I haven’t tried the babybels, but the laughing cow spreadable swiss is yummy on bagels. and crackers. and toast.

    If I lived in Europe and had access to a lot of fancy cheeses at a reasonable price? I’d probably be big as a house. Okay, maybe only a condo.

  32. 32
    Katie in MA February 28, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    I was so hoping that your post would read: “Love is cheese. The end.” Because then I would know once and for all that you are me (but in Georgia).

  33. 33
    Little Bird February 28, 2008 at 4:39 pm #

    Cheese is a beautiful thing. There is a book, The Cheese Primer, which is my new bible. Also, sheep and goat cheese is lower in fat than cows milk cheese. All the more reason to shell out a little extra cash for it.
    And how do allof you have your girl scout cookies already? I ordered (only two boxes) a few weeks ago and they haven’t come in yet. Grrrrrrr. I want my tagalongs!!
    Oh, and Whole Foods is a fantastic place to get really good cheese, expensive yes, but oh the cheese!!!!

  34. 34
    Daisy February 28, 2008 at 5:32 pm #

    Mmmm…cheese….

  35. 35
    Wendy February 28, 2008 at 6:50 pm #

    My mom gets those at Sam’s and my kids ask for them first thing every time!!

  36. 36
    Tammy February 28, 2008 at 8:19 pm #

    Mir’s Dad, you are hysterical. I’m still giggling over the visual phenomenon comment.

    I’m (not so) patiently awaiting the arrival of the GS cookies I ordered. I wish I could be like Tootsie and already be having my way with some Thin Mints.

  37. 37
    Caryn February 28, 2008 at 8:51 pm #

    Yay for wonderful mothers like you! Yeah, so the cheese is expensive, but I bet your kids will remember them when they grow up, just as I remember the Andes mints my mom often slipped into my lunches when I was in elementary school. In the long run, they don’t cost so much after all.

  38. 38
    julie February 28, 2008 at 8:59 pm #

    I raised Lil Daughter on organic, healthy, whole, natural blah- -blah-blah. Mushed her baby food myself in a hand-cranked food mill. On a vacation when she was about 4 or 5, as a treat, I bought white bread and chocolate milk. Quite a stretch for an “earth-mother” type like myself, and neither of which she had ever had. She’s 21 now and still equates white bread and chocolate milk with vacation. So I understand the “ACTUAL CHEERING” at your house. Funny how food evokes such strong feelings throughout our lives.
    Hugs to you and yours. Julie

  39. 39
    fiona February 28, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    Arghh just looking at that string bag makes me want to go and raid the fridge for baby bels right now….

  40. 40
    Sue February 28, 2008 at 10:48 pm #

    This is so sweet – I love it! And you are so right ~ food is love. Which helps encourage me on the path of trying to go organic… but I am cheap and the prices are killing me. (The Laughing Cow is absolutely worth a splurge every now and then though!)

  41. 41
    Girl con Queso February 29, 2008 at 12:50 am #

    Dude, food is so love.

  42. 42
    mama speak February 29, 2008 at 1:30 am #

    You’re right, food is love. Because of that you convinced me a few weeks ago to start buying organic when ever I could. That doesn’t mean my kids aren’t having junk food on occasion or that there aren’t any thin mints in my freezer (there aren’t they’re next to me here on the couch.) It does mean that (while the price is killing me) I’m making sure my kids aren’t getting extra hormones in their milk and cheese.

    We are a cheese family too. I lurve cheese so much that I usually don’t pay that much attention to price, cause it’s not like it’s bad for you! Plus we have Trader Joe’s and they carry some very good cheeses (including Baby Bels) for very resonable prices. Currently in house: string, swiss, colby jack, american, munster, brie, blue, feta, smoked gouda, parmisan, asiago…there’s more in there, but you’re getting the idea. Both my girls (ages 4 & 22 months) will eat blue cheese strait. So awesome! (Except that it means I have to share all my cheese, but I can think of worse things.)

  43. 43
    Brigitte February 29, 2008 at 5:45 am #

    I always thought the laughing cow looked more like an evilly gloating bull . . . but that didn’t stop me from LOVING the itty-bitty foil-wrapped cubes when I was a kid. Sometimes the price is worth it if I can find something my 3-year-old will eat besides white toast with butter!

  44. 44
    Annie R February 29, 2008 at 8:22 am #

    I’m going thru a cheese love affair myself these days. My current faves are aged parm and gruyere. But,imagine how good the Laughing Cow would taste in one of these: http://www.notmartha.org/archives/2008/02/27/bacon-cups/

  45. 45
    bleeding espresso March 1, 2008 at 12:32 pm #

    I grew up with Italian-American grandmother and now I live in southern Italy with my Italian OH and I have to say…if food ain’t love, well I’m not sure what is ;)

  46. 46
    carson March 2, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    Heh. Girl scout cookies. I had 120 cases of them in the house for about 24 hours. (There are 12 boxes in a case.) I was good and didn’t eat any.

    The laughing cow cheese has never convinced me to buy. If I want to feel extra loving, I’ll cut the cheese in cubes. (heh heh, look beavis, she said cut the cheese.)

  47. 47
    Heather March 3, 2008 at 10:11 am #

    My son loves those,too. He does not get them often because of the $$, only when I break down at Sam’s warehouse and buy in bulk. Honestly, I think he just likes to peel the red wax off the outside!!

  48. 48
    LCM March 3, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    My then four year old absolutely loved them and called the Baby Belchies….like burps or something. I just wrote about the whole food/weight thing. They always say eat to live don’t live to eat. I say whatever! I totally live to eat!

  49. 49
    The Over-Thinker March 4, 2008 at 6:17 pm #

    I’m pretty sure Wheel of Cheese is quite possibly the most beautiful phrase ever said.

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